A parent called me today in the middle of class. I can count on my two hands how many times a parent has called me. Emailed? Hundreds. But called? Hardly ever.
I told him I was in class but that I would have a five-minute break during passing period at 9:20 so to call back then.
He did. He and I have a good relationship, I believe. He’s thanked me many times for keeping him informed of his child’s progress. When he insisted his child drop all AP classes at semester, he allowed the student to stay in calculus after some coaxing on my part. I believe in what calculus education can do for a child, and–as haughty as this sounds–I believe in what I can do for a child. 
This parent was calling to get my take on whether or not I believed his child could pass the AP Exam. I told him that his student passed the Mock, so while I never make guarantees, I was certainly optimistic about his child’s performance. He asked about some other things and we talked through them. He ended with, “Well, this is all really good news.”
It was the first time I had heard him proud of his child. I’ve had meetings and email exchanges and now a phone call with this parent. And this was the first time I heard a sense of relief flood this father’s tone.
Calculus did that, y’all. Gave a frustrated parent something to be proud of.
We’re doing it. This thing called teaching is so freaking hard (read my footnote below). It can be so discouraging and lacking in so much respect. We give and give and give and they take and take and take.
But then you hear this relief in this single parent’s voice. And you remember: yes, we give because we have a responsibility to give and because it fills our souls.
As I read today in She Reads Truth (Mourning and Dancing):
Because He has solidarity with us, we can offer solidarity to the hurting. Because He defends us, we can defend others. Because He is our ultimate Judge, we can fight for justice. Because He is our hope, we can hold on to hope for ourselves and extend it to others. Christ entered in to rescue us. And, the ripple effect of that rescue goes on and on.
 I was not-so-gently reminded today that not all kids like me, so I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses here. I just truly believe in what teachers can do for kids.