How they do it, day in and day out? In the face of budget cuts, dwindling resources, cranky kids and parents? It's truly beyond me. Just the thought of spending an entire day surrounded by elementary, middle or even high school kids fills me with panic and dread. But enough about my own kids!
How Do Teachers Do It?!
When do they sleep? How do they not collapse from hunger? They go for hours without taking an actual break. And don’t get me started on the IEPs and 504 plans. How do they keep track of it all? Which kid needs what accommodation and what behavioral challenge they’re charting? And who’s parents have asked for a new Vanderbilt ADHD assessment form to be filled out? I can’t even keep track of which days the school is open or closed. How teachers know what’s going on with each student in their class is beyond me.
Why Do They Do It?!
From the outside looking in, it seems like being a teacher can really stink. Not only are they terribly underpaid, but even when they're sick, they don’t really get to be off. They still have to fill out lesson plans for the sub, grade all that homework, and then make up all the recess or morning carpool safety patrol duties that were missed. Of course, they get summers off – sort of. But each year the summer gets shorter, and they're always catching up on Continuing ED, or going to workshops on new policies & procedures, and then there’s summer school….
Teachers get blamed a lot, too. They get vilified in the media, parents talk a lot about whether their kid got the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ teacher this year, and there are no bonuses or promotions for the teachers who over-achieve.
So Seriously, Why Do They Do It?
Because 99% of the educators I meet still love their jobs. They still want to make a difference. They still want to be the difference. They are human. They have bad days. Sure, they forget things, and they occasionally lose their tempers.
But teachers are without a doubt one of the most critical parts of a child’s learning experience. Study after study after study shows that just one compassionate adult – one teacher – makes all the difference to a developing child.
Good teachers can literally save a child’s life.
Sometimes, they are the one person to encourage a child to follow their own path, to believe in themselves, to know they can do it.
That’s a hero. That’s a teacher. Teachers save lives.