Today I was cruising Facebook on my lunch break (35 minutes, count’em!) and I came across a post by a friend whose son’s Kindergarden teacher had called her to come get him because he was coughing a lot. When she got there he smiled a huge smile, happy to go home with her. The initial reaction was, “We’ve been had!” I smiled at that, because little kids sometimes will do that. No big deal, really. The next sentence said, “Schools these days!” Followed by “I think the teacher just didn’t want to deal with him. She made the call, not him.” Hm. It seems appropriate to me that the teacher would make the call rather than the five-year old. But never mind. A discussion ensued in which this comment was made, “Teachers these days are too much.”
I will say that I felt personally offended by this discussion. I don’t teach Kindergarden, I teach middle school, which on some levels is not far from Kindergarden! Uncontrollable laughter, refusal to listen to a lesson, only to complain that they are clueless about what they are supposed to do five minutes later when you turn them loose to do the work on their own. On many levels teaching is a rewarding job, and it certainly isn’t one I’d trade for any other work. I love it more than I can ever explain. But it is not an easy job. We have all read the inspiring articles about all the hours (and money) teachers invest in our jobs, nights and weekends and vacations too. They are all true. We don’t do this job for the vacations or because it’s easy. We do it because we truly care about kids.
Teaching is also an exhausting job, one that gives us cause to exercise our abilities to keep calm and begin again, every day. Sometimes every few minutes. On the whole, we are all doing our absolute best, every day, every hour, for the children in our care. We want them to enjoy being in our classrooms, to learn from us, and to love school so that they will want to stay in and one day have a rich and satisfying life. We believe in educating children for today and for the future. We recognize the trust that has been placed in our hands, and we honor it, every way we can. Do we get tired and exasperated? Of course we do. Being a saint is not part of the job description. But do we come back day after day and year after year because we care about your children and we believe in what we do? Absolutely. Do we constantly strive to do our job in new and better, and ever more creative and effective ways? Yes, that too.
So when I hear, “Teachers these days!” or “Schools these days!” I say, Thank your lucky stars we are here and we care about your child. He will be better off because of us, not in spite of us. If a child is not doing school one day because he is coughing too hard, don’t blame us or depreciate us for calling you to take care of him. We are using our best judgement at the moment. We have a whole bunch of other kids who need us as well, and we’re making the calls as we see them. Try, “Thanks for calling. I guess he just needed me today. He’ll be back tomorrow.” And then love your child a little more that day and be glad he has you and a teacher who cares for him.
Thank you for letting me rant. Bless you.