Sometimes I chuckle when I hear students and parents talk about teachers, particularly when they speculate about the personal lives of those who educate them. I find it so amusing when a teacher meets a student on the street, in a non-school setting. The child’s eyes get very wide…. they cannot understand how their teacher can be out on the street… the teacher LIVES at school – right?
So what do teachers/ educators do in private? Are we symbols of innocence and up-righteous behavior? Do we wear halos and have hidden wings within our clothing? Hahaha…. if only they knew…. if only the parents knew what we educators are really like……. yes, the sad, absolutely horrific reality, is that we are……. HUMAN. Sometimes, perhaps too human for our own good.
When I worked in a small town in the USA we had a staff get-together at a local Mexican cantina about once a month. Needless to say, we arrived at happy hour and there were lots of Margeritas to go around. There were morning announcements over the intercom in this school and the staff had to come up with a way to remind everyone that we were meeting for drinks, but without alerting the students….. They came up with a great solution – during morning announcements they would say, “This is a reminder to staff that POETS is meeting after school today.” - POETS = “Piss On Everything, Tomorrow’s Saturday. Yes, GOT to love those teachers – I do!
We laugh, we love, we cry, we get frustrated – we tear our hair out as we prepare to go back to school. We scream in frustration when we see that a parent who deeply loves their child is making choices that are hurting the child and their educational process…. the parent means well, and we are sad. We would love to spend our weekends salsa-ing or dancing until the Blues bars close, but more often than not we arrive home on a Friday night so utterly exhausted from giving everything within us to our students that we crash on the couch, only to wake up hours later and realize that we need to eat dinner, then head back to bed.
We try to push out the memories of screaming parents, who accuse us of not caring, not putting in enough time, not preparing extra sheets (in our spare time) for their child, who they perceive is gifted. We try to replace these with memories of all the hugs and smiles our students provide us with.
Weekends are often spent on sleep, planning, and grading. When shopping we think about treats for our students…. education permeates our life, there is no escape. We learn early on that our career path is not a career, it is a vocation – it follows us all the time, at all hours of the day and night, we are on call, there is no time off…. yet, the rewards are endless.
When we see a child learn a new concept, we celebrate with them – our face lights up as much as theirs does. We LOVE to see children excited about learning. We love to see them accomplish their goals – we love to praise them and let them know they are special and they are capable. What a joy it is to be able to walk alongside a child on their learning journey.
There are teachers who party and use drugs and do all sorts of things, but most of us pour so much of our hearts and souls into our work that we are lucky if we have the energy to get out of our pajamas on the weekends.
Today, 195, days ’til 40, I am thankful for being an educator, even if that means society misunderstands me. I LOVE my job (most of the time).