Teachers are amazing…

It’s almost the end of the first quarter of the school year so this goes out as a tribute to all of the AWESOME teachers out there.  You’re 25% through the school year already, whew!!!

Considering the level of education they need today, the never-ending amount of training, team building, common core standards “unpacking”  and in-service hours of professional development, plus the hours of work on and off the “clock”, teachers are about the hardest working (but most MISUNDERSTOOD} bunch of employed folks out there.  It’s TRUE!

I was a teacher, I AM a teacher… the job is HARD, people!

When I decided to earn my Masters Degree in Education so that I could teach first grade, I had visions of creating lesson plans about bears and bees, Johnny Appleseed, Oceans of the Earth,  outer space, and the beloved Indians and Pilgrims,…. themes that were full of FUN as well as opportunities for learning.  My college classes and internship promised amazing opportunities for cooperative learning groups, field trips,  and  reading “Big Books” to teach concepts of print… using clay to form the letters of the alphabet to initiate good handwriting skills, making things like apple sauce, gummy dirt, planet mobiles and paper mache’ globes… fun things, things that gave kids lots of hands-on experiences.  Things to which they could make solid learning connections.

Well, I was one of the lucky ones because outside of the fact that I was working in a Title One school in Riviera Beach, FL, (100% free and reduced lunch) one that was completely surrounded by projects where kids barely slept at night for the gunshots, roaches, fights, police sirens and their own rumbling, hungry tummies, I was able to implement some of what I had dreamed of teaching to kids.  Thinking back on those days almost 20 years ago makes me want to cry, it practically killed me but I LOVED it!

If you’ve never taught in the classroom I don’t expect you to know how challenging it can be but I  promise that your perception is most likely inaccurate.  And although she posted this at the beginning of the year, in August, I found Jennie Scott’s post (below) to be one of the most accurate descriptions to help put it all in to proper perspective:

Why Teaching Is So Doggone Hard–  by Jennie Scott

It’s almost here, fellow teachers. 

Like it or not, we will wake up Monday morning much earlier than our summer sleep schedules are accustomed to, and we will walk back into the buildings we simultaneously love and fear. The newly waxed floors will look foreign without any tossed away papers and all used-up pencils, and the bare bulletin boards will mock us as we remember the cute ideas we saw on Pinterest.

We will make multiple trips from the car to our rooms, carrying bags filled with the magic we are convinced will make this year the best. We will stand surveying our rooms, hands on hips, as we envision a space that inspires and welcomes.

The plans will have to wait, though, as we sit through multiple meetings where we team-build and common-core learn and technology policy question… And don’t forget lunch-plans make, as this is the week – the only week – where we are allowed to leave for the sacred lunch.

Our non-teacher friends will roll eyes as we mention ‘heading back to work,’ and they will make snide comments about us having the whole summer off. We will roll eyes back as we mutter, “You just don’t get it.” And, bless their hearts, they don’t.

They don’t get that being a teacher – a good teacher – is like being a performer onstage for eight hours a day, five days a week who has also had to write the script, create the scenery, memorize each role, and research the backstory. 

It means dealing with hecklers in the crowd whom security cannot remove and then being responsible for said hecklers mastering the nuances of the play she is performing. It means changing the script in the middle of the performance because audience members are nodding off, and doing so with zero funds because she spent her allocation stocking up on Kleenex and hand sanitizer.

It means not being able to go to the bathroom when she needs to, but racing to beat the other teachers before the tardy bell rings. 

It means having her performance observed and critiqued by those who only see just a part, and receiving blame if the audience doesn’t rush to join her onstage.

It means so much more than any non-teacher can understand.

It means feeling like you have more children than you actually delivered, crying at their troubles and celebrating their victories. It means noticing the child who has no brand new supplies and no way of getting what the list requires. 

It means sinking into your chair as the final bell rings, asking yourself if you can make it another day. It means arriving earlier the next morning to ensure that you can.

Being a teacher is hard. But it’s good.

Do me a favor, ok? If you’re not a teacher and you see one in the next few days wearing a look of panic – tell her thank you. Tell her thanks for cramming 365 days worth of knowledge into 180 (fewer if you count the interruptions and standardized tests). Say thank you for her being “on” every day when she steps in front of your child, leaving her own exhaustion, troubles, and worries at home. Let her know you appreciate the fact that she cannot just leave her work at work, but brings it (and thoughts of your child) home with her.

I guarantee she doesn’t hear ‘thanks’ nearly enough. You might even make her cry. 

Thank you Jennie…

And thank you to all the AMAZING teachers who are (and who have) making a difference for kids in the world….  <3

If you have a special teacher you’d like to acknowledge tell them “thank you” as soon as possible!

Kelly xo