Oct 21, 2013
Well, the first six weeks of school are safely behind me. The halls are all a flutter with five to ten year-olds discussing what they’re going to be for Halloween. Most of the costume ideas I have simply never heard of- “Despicable Me” and “Monsters U” characters, to name a few.
During this busy time of year I have got to thinking two things:
- Why am I a teacher again?
- What am I going to be for Halloween? There is a parade, after all.
Bear with me here as I try and make a coherent connection between these two thoughts.
The first six weeks of school are some of the best, and some of the worst. Just ask Harry Wong, author of the new teacher’s bible—The First Days of School. This Yale power point presentation does a nice job summing up what we teachers spend these critical weeks doing. Now throw in meetings, tutoring, an application for a Teaching Fulbright, a two week visit from our partner school in China, converting my Certificate I into a Certificate II (what does this even mean, really?) two field trips, online courses, and a partridge in a pear tree. THIS, my readers, is why I’ve had moments of yearning for the 9-5 office job. Anything other than teaching.
The US News and World Report just published its 2013 list of 100 Best Jobs. I will leave you guessing as to where “Elementary Teacher” falls on that list, but let’s just say I’ve contemplated several of the options (both as second career choices, and as Halloween Costumes—just one day!) from 1-44. In its more detailed description of Elementary Teachers, the article talks about how “there is never a dull moment… kids are constantly on the go. We [teachers] challenge them… we overcome their weaknesses.” So, I guess that means I could also choose some of these options for careers/Halloween costumes:
- Police officer
- Mad scientist
But then it happened. (Happens.)
- A parent pulled me aside and asserted “Thanks for being awesome. My son thinks you’re the only teacher that really gets him.”
- A student told me “My favorite special is Science. Even better than PE.”
- A mother shouts, “You’re fabulous—my daughter comes home singing the “Pupil” song every day!” (I’m not making this up. Teachers, you get it, right? Also, do I owe her an apology?)
- A student asks me to learn about “Ancient Creek” (Greece, clearly.)
- I get an apology note that reads “I SRY FR WAT I HAV DAN” (I’m sorry for what I have done.)
- A close teacher friend observes me and tells me that my management is great, and she’s stealing some of my strategies.
So what am I going to be in my second career? For my Halloween costume? I am going to be me. I am going to be me, because even though I wear so many hats, and do so many things, for so many people each day, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And when I forget, and want to choose numbers 1-44, or 46-100, I’ll remind myself of the above. Of the many students, parents, and colleagues of which I have made a difference in their lives. More importantly, how they continually make a difference in mine. This. Is. Why. Teachers. Teach.
And in case you need a preview of what else you might expect to see this Oct. 31st.