Okay, I’ve recently realized that many of my close friends are, or have been at one time, a teacher. I meet a mom at the park, we chat, I tell a dumb joke, she laughs, and eventually we both find out that we’ve been teachers before, or are currently teachers.
I may be a little biased since I was a teacher for five years, but they really are the best type of people. Here’s why:
They are freakin’ HILARIOUS
Okay, to be a schoolteacher, you gotta have a sense of humor! With the constant stress and challenges that are tossed your way, being able to laugh about those challenges will ease the load. Plus, it helps engage the students if they’re laughing and having fun! My teacher friends are some the wittiest, most intelligent, most passionate, most interesting people I have ever met. Teachers read a lot, they have to stay current, they have to make 50 times more decisions than a brain surgeon on a daily basis…those synapses are crackin’! I pity the fool that tries to match wits with a sharp teacher (see, dumb jokes)!
They have hearts of GOLD!
I have seen teachers stay up at the school past midnight setting up their rooms, or grading papers, or preparing a lab, or decorating for a thematic unit just to engage the students and ensure the best educational experience possible. I have seen teachers arrive at school early every day, and/or stay after school to tutor students for no charge. I have seen teachers provide food, money for food, school supplies, Heck! Even clothing to children who need it, all out of THEIR own pocket. Coaches and teachers work on the weekends, over the summer, at home at the end of super long, tiring and stressful days. And you know what, this motivates them to do MORE! They don’t have any sort of incentive, except to touch another life, to help their students grow, and to make the future better through educating youth.
They are CREATIVE and RESOURCEFUL
My fourth grade teacher created works of art on the chalkboard almost every day. She had an air-conditioned plastic “bubble” in her room that students could sit in while reading, she arranged an entire luau when we studied the ocean for a science unit. These are just a few examples of the love she poured into teaching every single day; she made me love school and love learning! (Thank you, Mrs. Bowling!) When I was a teacher, our reading specialist supported us with NUMEROUS lesson plans, strategies, handouts, opportunities for writing grants, opportunities for presenting our work at conferences, conferences and trainings to attend, and moral support. If you need something done, take it to a teacher! They.will.find.a.way.
They are RESILIENT
Sometimes, teachers take some hard blows. Parents are upset and shoot a hostile email, or you find out your student is being abused at home, or you find out your hard work arranging a guest speaker or event or field trip gets pushed aside and hours of work on your own personal time gets flushed down the toilet. Teaching is one of the only professions…emphasize…PROFESSION…yes, these people go through rigorous schooling and training, wherein the PROFESSIONALS get questioned, ridiculed even, by the laymen. They often don’t get respect! But you know what, they handle it with grace and patience (and humor), the same way they handle every situation.
I am proud to say that I got to teach for several years, and while health issues changed my heart from wanting to continue teaching, I still look back and miss so many things about it. The literature, the students, football games, and especially my fellow teachers. Thank you for everything you do!