the glorious life of a teacher.

It is another lovely, lazy Saturday, and I am soooo grateful.  You see, the work of an educator is truly exhausting and I need my weekends to recover.  I know that may sound a little crazy to some of you who think that teaching is this energizing, fun experience where we simply spend days hanging out with children doing sweet crafts and simple reading, writing and ‘rithmetic….maybe a little extra recess time…snack breaks…

The reality is much, much different. I have been in the business of education for over twenty years, so you would think that it would become easier the longer I am at it…however, with every year, there are more and more demands on staff…and the complexity of kiddos becomes more and more challenging.

I spent my first few years teaching first and second grade in southern California, with 32 students, minimal curriculum, bilingual students, and no experience working in a  diverse community of learners.  It was a sink or swim adventure! My years of training gave me a foundation to start from, but the real learning began once I had my own classroom.  I spent HOURS and HOURS beyond the normal workday planning and creating and dreaming up fun and creative experiences for my students…including a full Cinco de Mayo festival, complete with a class-made pinata!

Those years seem eons ago, as I traveled from there to North Dakota, and eventually on to the wonderful world of inner city education in Minnesota, working with a wide variety of students over the years…

And now, I work with teachers…teaching and supporting them in their glorious lives…filled with expectations that revolve around standardized test scores and reaching adequate yearly progress…managing issues of equity and differentiation…supporting health and wellness polices…providing tiered levels of support to ALL students…insuring that issues of mental health are cared for…offering free and reduced meal programs and snacks…working within Professional Learning Communities…attending professional development sessions…and soooo much more.

My day may end at 4 when the buses pull away from the school…but my mind does not stop.  I respond to email, review special education paperwork, research strategies for instruction and behavior management, dream up creative solutions to solve the day to day issues.  Just this week, I needed to google the comorbidity of ASD and OCD, create social stories around developing appropriate behavior for a limited language DCD student who is choosing to kick, hit and bite rather than use words to express himself, and design differentiated math lessons for a class that has skills levels that range 4+ years.  I often lie awake at night, thinking and planning and hoping to find a solution for a difficult situation.

There are moments when my day at work feels like a scene from a Saturday Night Live sketch, and I just know that my friends would never believe me if I shared the stories….and there are moments when I feel completely overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next…and then…

there are the moments when the stars are perfectly aligned…and students are learning and behaving and showing so much promise!

So I continue, to persevere, to believe that my work as an educator is valuable and that I can inspire…and I feel blessed to be living the glorious life of a teacher.

3 thoughts on “the glorious life of a teacher.

  1. Well said! Now if only I could learn to plan enough during the week so that I didn’t have to be so stressed on the weekends too… I feel like the only chance I have to recover is when we have 3-day weekends. Maybe when I’m a 20-year veteran like you, I’ll figure out how to do it!

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