- Staying Within Law: Special Education Teachers and IDEA - September 1, 2020
- Teaching With Minecraft EDU - April 3, 2019
- Self-Care Is Priority One for This Teacher - February 13, 2019
- Preparing Students For Teacher Absences - February 12, 2019
- Respect in the Classroom: Earned, Not Expected - February 11, 2019
- Dissing the Family Crazies: A Christmas Story - January 6, 2019
- Band-Aiding The Mental Health of Our Children - November 23, 2018
- We Must Love Them - November 5, 2018
- Take One For the Team: The Need for Self-Care - August 19, 2018
- The New Teacher Smell - August 19, 2018
Well, it’s that time of year again. The end of the first semester. And I am tired. Like, exhausted. Mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s been a long 83 days. And that doesn’t even include the days of school from last January to May or all the time I spent on ‘summer break’ preparing for all the little Johnnies and Sallies I now have in my classroom. Not to mention all the money I spent, and am still spending, out of pocket with no sight of reimbursement, other than the PTA sending me cookies and a candy cane for all of my ‘hard work’. They have no idea.
You see, Santa, please don’t confuse my venting for complaining. I really do love what I do, but I get so weary with parents not reading notes thoroughly, homework not being returned, tests not being studied for, reading not being done at night and little people not following directions that by the time 83 days have passed, I just want to find a corner, collapse and rock and drool. I understand that families are busy. I understand that financial ends are stretched. I even understand that some parents just need a total break from their kids and I can actually hear Eye of the Tiger playing during drop off as I see parents shoving their kiddos into my care only to twirl down the hill like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. I get that. I had kids this age once too. But I really wish I could show these parents just a glimpse of their future, when those little people grow into bigger people and seemingly don’t need them anymore. When those little hands get bigger and no more handprint turkeys or footprint reindeer come home. I’d love to show them a glimpse of when their child, their BABY, is approached by another child who has illegal substances to offer, hoping that everything I’m trying to teach is somehow rolling around in that child’s head to say ‘NO’ and run like heck in the other direction. I’d love to show them a glimpse of some of the loneliness that lurks around the corner when their kiddo is excluded from an activity or clique, and the child doesn’t tell his or her parents because they are too ‘busy’.
These are my little people too. I take them home with me, along with each and every hurt and triumph they experience. I pray over them. I think about them when I see or hear something I know they would like. I cry over them when I know divorces, sicknesses and deaths are happening in their little lives. I spend more time with them during the day than they spend with their families. It breaks my heart to see papers thrown in the trash on the way out of school or handmade art projects that the child has anxiously awaited to show off stuffed into backpacks without any acknowledgement to the child. I hate that parents are missing out; totally missing out on their child who is growing up right before their eyes. I hate that the value of time is not being taught as an important concept, other than parents working like crazy to pay the mortgage, bills, food and then turning around and relieving their guilt by buying ‘stuff’ for the kids. I hate that they are missing out on the best gift they could give kids: the gift of their presence.
So Santa, as you are heading out of the North Pole, if you think about it, could you please sprinkle some kind of peace and goodwill fairy dust on parents throughout the world and help them remember to slow down and enjoy their kids, and to take pride in the progress that their little ones are achieving?
And while you are at it, could you possibly do something about the state departments of education too? They are far beyond any help we teachers can provide.