Dear everyone who’s not a teacher,
I am a teacher. When I meet someone and they ask me what I do, their reaction invariably falls into one of 2 categories. This first is “Wow! That’s awesome! I don’t think I could do that.” The second is “Must be nice. I should be a teacher, then I’d have summers off too.” To all you people in the first group, thank you. Everybody else, please read carefully.
I love, love, love my job. I could list all the wonderful reasons that keep me going and, to be honest, that list would be longer than a top 10.
And yes, I have summers off.
Would you believe there comes a point where I just can’t be a teacher anymore? It’s like I have a battery and by June, it’s dead. Here’s why.
1. I can’t pee in peace. They knock on the door and wait for me in packs. Sometimes they talk through the door.
2.I am a nurse. Paper cuts, skinned knees and bloody noses are the most common injuries. Every now and then, there’s a fainter.
3. Vomit. Enough said.
4. I am a hairdresser. Ponytails, braids, you name it, I do it. It’s super fun when there’s lice at school.
5. Criers. There’s one every year and she always seems to be in my class.
6. That kid who bullies? The one who gets bullied? The kid with the learning disability? Thinking about them keeps me awake at night.
7. When I have a headache, or a sore stomach, or I’m tired, or anything else that can happen to anyone on a regular basis, I don’t get to “take a minute”. I’m “on” all the time.
8. I grade papers like nobody’s business, usually on weeknights and weekends. Woohoo, party!
9. Kids can be mean to each other. I stand in the middle. Like a human buffer between meanness.
10. Parents. They’re more demanding than the kids. Yes, your child is pure delight, all the time. You need 30 minutes to discuss why your kid’s grade went from a 96 to a 92? No problem, I don’t have anything else to do! You want an immediate response to your e-mail because you are sitting at your desk and you imagine I am too? What do you think I do? If I’m writing e-mails, who’s teaching your kid that Paris is a city, not a country? I don’t even have a desk.
Now, if you’re thinking “Parents do most of this every day and they don’t get summers off.” I agree, you’re right.
However, between the vomit, the lice, the meanness and the band-aids, I teach kids to read, write, spell, add, subtract, multiply, divide, count, and tell the difference between a vertebrate and an invertabrate. I tell stories to get them interested in grammar and geometry. I try to convince each and every one of those kids that they are special. I teach them how to respect each other, respect themselves and respect the planet. I teach them how to be kind, how to be fair and how to stand up for themselves. I teach them to tell time, tell the truth and tell stories.
Are you tired yet?
The teacher who’s teaching tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers and inventors how to read.
I’m curious and maybe one of you can help me out… my blog stats tell me that a large number of people are finding this post through facebook. I would love to know what page shared it, so I can check it out! Enjoy your summer vacation, you’ve earned it! (I figure most of you reading this are teachers like me!)