I've had the privilege of volunteering in my childrens' classrooms once a week since they started school and I've gotten to know many of the teachers and staff at their schools. I've also gotten to know other parents at the schools as well as other children. In doing so, I've been able to see some things that go on in the "background" - not only from teachers, but from parents. I have my own reasons of why I like public school (and don't like it), why some of my own teachers were wonderful (or terrible...or terrifying) and my own personal style of teaching that I prefer. I've gotten to see other styles...some I wouldn't (or couldn't) do because it doesn't fit my personality and some that I've learned from and try to mimic. I've also gotten to see other parents' reactions to different styles. From all these different experiences, I can say with all my heart -
I love teachers.
Why? Here's a basic rundown...and remember, this is just my humble opinion - from the eyes of a parent and educator. Obviously, there are some crummy teachers out there...I'm not saying they're all fantastic by any means...but from my experience as a student, teacher and now a parent, teachers are, as a whole, awesome.
1. No matter how mad and irrational a parent is (and I've seen some doozies), I've never seen a teacher "match" their anger. I have heard outrageous claims, silly issues and needy adults...and I've seen them responded to with patience and understanding. One of the reasons I quit teaching in public schools was because of the parents. I have always said I have endless patience with kids...but not with adults that act like kids ;) Thank you for your patience.
2. Working around arbitrary rules. The amount of testing my kids have had to go through in just their short time in school (K - 2nd grade) is well...for the lack of a better word...stupid. It takes away teaching time, it's frustrating to the children and it's time consuming for the teachers. Half of the tests are useless to the teachers not to mention the parents. Half of them change year to year and they have to learn how to give another one; but yet they still continue to teach...despite demands put on them from people who aren't in the classrooms and who are asking them to sacrifice what it is they are there to do. Thank you.
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
James 3:1-2 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
4. Parent contact. Back in the day, there was no email and you couldn't call a teacher directly. So basically, unless a parent made an effort to write a note to a child's teacher, call the office and leave a message or make an appointment at the school - teachers were free from the harassment of parents :) Ahhh, the good old days ;) Now, we can get the teachers attention almost immediately with email, some parents befriend their child's teacher on facebook and of course there are notes home everyday. With all the new apps out, we can get the attention of our child's teacher immediately. We all know how badly the internet is misused and how freely some people feel to express themselves via the internet...and email. Now, the instant a parent gets mad, they can email the teacher...I can only imagine some of the terrible emails some teachers have received. I shudder. Thanks for responding to your hundreds of emails from concerned parents :)
5. Grades. I'm not talking about the students' grades. I'm talking about the schools' grades. Anyone can look up any school and see what "grade" they have. This is good...but also terrible. The school my children first attended had an A for almost 15 years. It's not that way anymore...but I was there enough that I can say with conviction that I feel that school is an A school. Not because of the administration, not because of testing, not because of afterschool extracurricular events, but because of the teachers. Because I got emails from them at 6:30 in the morning and 4 in the evening, because I saw the creativity they put into helping my children learn, because I saw the concern on their faces when things didn't work out for a child and because I heard the admiration in my own children's voices when they talked about them. Thank you for the love and time you put in to each of our children.
Matthew 5:19 “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
6. Money. Or, I guess I should say...the "lack of" money :-/ People go in to teaching for one of two reasons - they genuinely love children and want to educate them, or, they feel like it is an "easy" profession where they can get two months off (these are the ones that last only a few years ;) I wish they could get paid more so they could actually GET to take those two months off...most teachers I have known had some kind of part time gig during the summer to help supplement their income (and many had another job while they were teacher). That is dedication. Thanks for sacrificing many "Extras" in life to teach our children.
7. Danger and extra responsibility. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we have to worry constantly about the safety of our children...in school. Fire drills and tornado drills were a piece of cake compared to all the different drills they have now. And lock downs aren't just a drill...they happen...and the teachers take care of the children as their own. Thank you for keeping our children safe.
As Teacher Appreciation Week approaches us, take the time to write a little note, send a little gift and say a little prayer for all the teachers in your life. Make sure they know how much you appreciate all they do for your children and you!