I good sign that I am well into the school year is when I can't find my cell phone...I've lost it twice already. I’m pretty crazy (is that Carlee under the pizza box?).
Being in the teaching field, I have a lot of friends that are educators, principals, specialist, etc....and all of them seem even more tired and overwhelmed this year. I’ve read on Facebook and Internet blogs about educators feeling frustrated, being worn down, and feeling very unappreciated, and who can blame them? Just look (not that I necessarily agree with this plan of action) at the situation in Chicago. Schools across the nation are really taking some hits...less teachers' assistance, less office staff, less custodians, less assistant principals, less supply budget, less salary (with the inflation of prices all around us), less everything EXCEPT FOR more standards with a new national core curriculum (that has me wondering how I’m going to get my students up to par), more meetings, more assessing, more students in a classroom, more expectations. It’s a war zone out there and only the strong survive. I have sworn I am going to cut down and do less.... but I can’t do it because it just isn’t the way I operate. My own husband sees the amount of work I take home and tells me to use my skills toward something that will pay. “You are a hard worker, you have personality, you are creative....do something that pays the bills already!" I tell him that my job is paying but just not in the way that helps us fix the dryer that blew up. Then I tell him not to worry about a thing because when I retire I will write a book called “How to Raise Children, Teach School, Be a Wife, and Run a Household on a Budget Without Ending Up in a Straight Jacket and Licking the Walls!” and that will make us millions. (I just have to make sure I don’t end up in straight jacket or the book idea will totally flop.)
There are two types of people out there in life-
-The Positives- the people that get out of bed regardless of challenges and try to meet them head on, they get creative, they take personal responsibility, and only judge themselves by their own high standards, and regardless of the impossible find some joys and pleasures around them.
-The Negatives- the people that can’t wait to make you feel like they do- like crap, they prefer to ignore what is happening and push blame on someone else, they like to push people down to raise themselves up, they gossip, they judge others, and prefer to dwell on the impossible instead of the possible.
Although sometimes I fail, I am trying to stay in the positive group and avoid the negatives like land mines. Still, like land mines you don’t realize you’ve stepped on one until its too late and before you know it ‘Negative Land’ has exploded all over you.
Being the parent of a child who could really dislike school, (especially if he ran into a Negative), has helped me understand more. He isn’t a kid who loves school, rules, and academic challenges. (You know some children get upset if they can’t go to school!?! and if you have a kid like that I just want to say “shut up, you lucky dirty dog”). My child is a boy who would rather be dropped in the middle of the outdoors with a big stick where his imagination could run as wild as the pythons. This week I got his progress report and immediately Mr. Anxiety knocked on my door-
what if he can’t catch up? what if he can’t get a job? what if he gets a job and is ruled by greed? what if he doesn’t have friends? what if he has too many friends? what if he doesn’t believe in God? what if he joins one of those churches that protest funerals? what if he isn’t kind? what if he is lazy? what if he doesn’t like high school? what if he gets his feelings hurt and has low self esteem? what if he is overly confident? what if he can’t handle challenges? what if he never leaves home? what if he leaves home too soon? he is eligible for his driver’s license in nine SHORT years. oh my gosh I can’t even think about that... do you know what boys do with cars!?!
(I’m telling you raising children is no easy task. I don’t know why more people don’t take it more seriously.)
Thankfully I was calmed and confirmed by his teachers (The Positives) the next day. (Oh my GOSH, I just realized I’m one of those mothers. I’m not even going to let Mr. Anxiety get me on this one.)
Deep down, I know I have to trust in the plan (that I don’t know about), trust that differences are a good thing, trust in God.....
trust in teachers. My own child’s teachers are not allowing all The Negatives (the people and the world) stop them from giving him their very best. That is a such a good feeling, a feeling I want to give my parents/students. Some parents may not appreciate me, but they all have to put a lot of trust in me. Children spend a lot of time at school, and we have to give them the best of what we have regardless of what society says. It is such a relief to me to know that my snake hunting, dirt rolling, WWE star is learning, understanding rules, and understanding his strengths and challenges (and sometimes having fun doing it). All I can say is thank God for The Positives out there- you are giving us so, so, so much.
I Didn’t Know
I didn't know that years of school and a college degree would be of little consolation when facing a room full of bright little eyes on the first day of school. I thought I was ready...
I didn't know that five minutes can seem like five hours when there is idle time and an eight hour school day far too short for a
well-planned day of teaching.
I didn't know that teaching children was only a fraction of my job.
No one tells you about the conferences and phone calls, faculty meetings, committees, paperwork and paperwork...
I didn't know that it took so long to cut out letters, draw and color pictures, laminate-all for those bulletin boards that were always "just there"...
I didn't know that I would become such a scavenger, and that teaching materials would feel like pure gold in my hands...
I didn't know that an administration and co-workers that support
and help you could make such a difference... (so true)
I didn't know that there would be children that I loved and cared for and stayed up late worrying about, who, one day,
would simply not show up.
And that I would never see them again... (this one is the hardest, sigh*)
I didn't know that I can't always dry little tears and mend broken hearts, I thought I could always make a difference...
I didn't know that the sound of children's laughter could drown
out the sound of all the world's sadness...
I didn't know that children could feel so profoundly.
A broken heart knows no age.
I didn't know that a single "yes ma'am" from a disrespectful child
or a note in my desk that says "You're the best!" could make me feel like I'm on top of a mountain and forget the valleys I forged to get there... (it can make you feel on top of the world)
I never knew that after years of teaching I would feel so much
wiser, more tired, sadder and happier, all at once.
And that I would no longer call teaching my job,
but my privilege.