This is a blog that I’ve thought about for some time. But I’m not always good at “political correctness”, so I’ve put this off. Now, I think I’m ready.
This one is for teachers who teach children in a classroom setting. Maybe this is a newer thing, or maybe I’ve only experienced this since being a parent of children in school. But there seems to be two stereotypes that I want to address. There seems to be people who are either rallying behind or completely against teachers.
I have seen different teachers feel the need to justify their jobs. I know you hear comments about summers and snow days. I know you come in early and stay late. I know your hours are not just the hours that kids are in school. I wouldn’t do well in a classroom with 20+ children every day . . I don’t have much of a filter. I would be fired or sued, I’m sure. I see what your job entails. If you are met with negativity about your job, I would assure you that those people do not represent the majority of the public.
I admire the comradery in your profession. I have two licenses with the State of Michigan. One of these licenses has very little interaction with others in our profession. The second license has more interaction, and some support; but not like what I’ve seen with teachers. You guys have a great network, or so it seems from the outside. And I wonder if that is why the second stereotype is present.
I don’t rally. It’s not you. It’s me. I don’t pay close attention to negotiations with the state or county or whomever. I don’t provide snacks for conference nights. I think I may have brought a pre-packaged food item one year. But, if it makes any difference; on conference nights, my kids are usually eating cereal at my house. Cereal is my husband’s dinner of choice when I am not there. So, if I am sitting awkwardly across your table – it is likely because I am awkward in most social situations. I didn’t bring a dessert for you. And I’m wondering if there is milk in my fridge for the cereal dinner at my house. I can bring you in a box of Cheerios . . but I don’t think that would go over well.
Honestly, I don’t know when teacher-appreciation week or day is. But, you’ll hear my appreciation when we talk one on one. Sometimes I write a sentence in an email when we are talking – I mean that when I write it. I hope you read it that way. And when I say thank you when we talk in person, I mean it then also.
I guess I feel the need to write this because I’ve seen some of you frustrated and increasingly defensive. I know parents can be difficult. I know children can be difficult. Sometimes teachers can be difficult too. For the record – if you are rolling your eyes right now, I am merely stating the fact that we are all human. I can be difficult at my job also. I make mistakes. I get upset sometimes. I’ve had to apologize.
If I make a comment about your summers, I’m happy for you. Like, truly happy. (But really I don’t think I’ve ever made such a comment because I kind of don’t really care what you do with your personal time. I mean, of course I care that you are happy, but details . . . well those are yours). In my job, I don’t get summers off. But, I get to move my schedule around to accommodate field trips, doctor’s appointments, etc. with no loss of work. That is something I chose, and I don’t always feel like discussing that with people either. Other people get benefits, vacation time, and company paid trips – and those are things that they chose. Each profession carries its positives and negatives.
So here’s what I propose, I won’t view you with a stereotype. And please don’t view me with one. I know that your job can be hard. And I know that you may not see me as your ally. But we have a main goal here, the kids. I want to hear if there is an issue . . I am equally as concerned about the outcome as you are. Ok, that’s a lie . . I am more than “equally” as concerned. The media seems to have painted parents as the enemy who want to blame the school system when their children are less than perfect. But, that is not all parents. I know my children are . . well, children. They are going to mess up and they are going to need help. From you and from me. We could make a terrific team if we walk in with no preconceived ideas.
So teachers, I love you. I don’t think that you are evil. I also don’t think you belong on a pedestal. I think you are human. I think you chose a profession where you can impact people’s lives because you truly care.
Teachers, I’m a parent. You don’t have to love me. Please know that I am not evil. I also am not perfect. I am human. I chose a profession where I can provide an income for my family and also be present for my family, because I truly care.
We have a lot in common. Do you see it?
Tonight I am thankful for teachers. I pray you ignore the critics and keep your passion for helping that led you to this career in the first place.
P.S. Let me know if you need more tissues because I buy them in bulk from Sam’s Club. I just don’t always remember to send some in with my child.