|digitalphotolinds via Pixabay|
Here are a few things I know about these wonderful people, as both a mom and an educator.
1. It's not about the paycheck. Some teachers are paid very well, but many are not. And yet, they turn up for work every day to deal with everyone from stellar students to children going through personal troubles to drunk parents to parents who are packing to PTO moms who bring them delicious treats. Nope. Did not make a single one of those up. All real -- and just from my own experience.
2. It's not about summers "off." Granted, freedom from teaching in June and July is nice, but that doesn't mean teachers just kick back and do nothing. With the school year starting in mid-August, teachers are in the classrooms setting up by August 1. In June and July, they're often taking courses they need to stay certified and making plans for what they want to do in the fall. It's a nice break -- but not much longer than most similarly credentialed professionals get (think MBAs, as most experienced teachers have master's degrees or beyond). Teachers just get their break all at once, whether they want it that way or not.
3. It's not a nine to five job. Teachers are required to arrive at a minimum half an hour before the start of the school day and stay, again, at a minimum, fifteen minutes after dismissal begins. Most teachers either begin their day earlier than that or end their day later; some do both. And, in addition....
4. It's not the kind of job that lets you leave work at work. As a school counselor, I often brought my kids' worries home with me, but teachers do that every night, along with papers to grade. (See also #3). They don't get paid by the paper or paid extra at all; it's just part of the job -- a part that cannot get done during the school day because there simply isn't enough time.
5. It's more than a career choice. Most teachers accept all of the above, along with recess duty when it's 30 degrees (or 85 degrees), meetings that start before the school day and/or end after the school day ends, professional development that can't possibly be confused with planning time or personal development as a professional. Why?? Because they can't imagine doing anything else. They love their kids, they bond with their colleagues and they make school a place kids want to come because most of them want to come to school, too. Sure, there are rotten apples in the bunch, but that's true of any profession. Good teachers will reach out to help anyone who needs it -- their students, their colleagues, the school custodian, the grandma who volunteers to help in their classroom, sharing their time, talent, and treasure freely.
Their reward? A place in the hearts of the children they teach...who become young adults and turn up in their college classes, or greet them when they're at a restaurant.
So, if you haven't already reached out to thank a teacher today -- whether your child's teacher or one who holds a special place in your heart -- today might be a great day to do that. You just might make their week.
|stevepb via Pixabay|