“It must be nice to have your summers off.” “It’s glorified babysitting!” “Those who cannot do – teach.” These are just a few of the comments that I hear on a regular basis from friends and random individuals. All I can say is try spending just one day in my shoes, and then we’ll talk. You’ll see that the best part of my job has nothing to do with having the summers off.
In my job, work begins the second you wake up in the morning. As you’re getting ready with clothes and makeup, your mind is undoubtedly running a practice race through the next several hours. Once you arrive at school, your day does not begin with a bell, or punch of the time clock, but rather when the first child walks through that door (no doubt dropped off fifteen minutes before the bell). You can put on that smile, and give one hundred percent to the twenty-five children that are watching closely to everything you do and say.
My job as a teacher, on a daily basis, is to make sure everyone is happy. If they come into the classroom hungry because they did not eat breakfast, it is my job to feed them. If they come to class sad about something that happened at home or on the way to school, it is my job to listen and then attempt to solve the problem Class cannot continue until everyone is happy.
Within my seven-hour day, I have fifty minutes of time allotted to lunch and recess. I have forty-five minutes devoted to a special, such as gym, music, Spanish, and art. I have thirty minutes of intervention time, a time that allows for some to work on enrichment activities, while I work with the select few who are struggling. And then there is the time I need to check folders for notes, lunch money, popcorn money, spring/fall pictures that parents can turn back, book orders, SCRIP money, field trip forms, etc. And let’s not forget the daily interruptions that you always know are coming, you just don’t know when. For example, the fire drills, the assemblies, the school counselor, the parents, phone calls, and all the endless possibilities.
Let’s not forget what I am paid to do – teach. When everyone is happy, all outside details are taken care of, and I actually get to have all twenty-five of my students at once, I get to teach.
My point to this rambling is that I do all of this every day because that is what I chose to do. I chose to become a teacher, because this “job” is more than just going to work every day. It’s so much more. And because of all the “small stuff” I experience on a daily basis, my reward of teaching and interacting with children every day has no comparison. The only easy part of my job is that it is easy to love it!
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