Teacher Appreciation Week always makes me miss college more than normal.
Not because I think about all of my former professors who rocked my socks off.
Not because I wish that I were out drinking more often.
Not because I AM out drinking more often.
Because of all the free stuff we get. Namely, all the free food we get.
For reals, you guys. On Monday, we got Sonic drinks and breakfast burritos. Tuesday we got BBQ for lunch. Wednesday was ice cream AND mini bunt cakes, followed by Thursday’s pasta with a chair massage. And today, the PTA brought in a salad bar plus a dessert bar.
And that’s only at school! I also picked up a free dinner-size salad at Papa Murphy’s and could have indulged in free Chick Fil A or Chipotle if I had an hour plus to wait in line. I didn’t, but I liked having the option, you know?
I swear, if they start passing out free t-shirts, it really will be just like college.
Of course, not all teachers were appreciated as well this week. Recently, a Dallas suburb made national headlines when one of the students schooled a teacher in how to teach without packets and it went viral on YouTube. Recently as in earlier this week, actually. I’m sure you’ve heard of this. And before you give me (or your computer screen) your opinion, let me just come out and say that I see both sides.
Do I think that kid has a right to stand up for his education? Oh yes.
Do I feel that sometimes that’s exactly what needs ton be said to some teachers? Undoubtedly.
Do I think his points are totally valid? Heeeeellllls to the yes.
If that kid is telling the truth about the packets -and let’s be honest,we’ve all had teachers that did that same thing- then he was right to stand up for himself. As I mentioned when I re-posted it on Facebook, I spend a number of hours tutoring my mentor children and there are times that I sit down with them to help them work on a paper that’s “too hard” only to have them master the skill in 2 minutes flat.
So I know that there are teachers out there failing their students, for whatever reason. It’s not hard for me to believe that this kid’s allegations could be true. I mean, the kids didn’t even have anything on their desks, so what was going on?
I’m still a teacher. And as a good friend who called me after watching the video on my wall reminded me, there are times when I have handled a kid acting like that (about a completely different topic, mind you, like their inability to keep their shirt tucked in or their mouth closed) in a similar fashion. They know because I’ve told them that. Because I’ve related my teaching style to that guy from 10 Things I Hate About You. Minus the cussing and rapping.
Sometimes I handle things like that. I boot them out of the room for 3 minutes until we’ve both had time to calm down, or, in rare cases shoot them straight to the office for being TOTALLY inappropriate. And yeah, that kid didn’t handle it in the perfect manner. He shouldn’t have been so confrontational, but hey, he’s a kid. So we can forgive him that, while also noting his error.
I also understand that there are some days, guys, sometimes some weeks or some months when you are, as a teacher, totally disillusioned with your job, your students, and public education in general. And yeah, on those days, the packets come out. Packets also come out on sick days and days when they just need a skill drilled over and over and over into their heads until they can do it in their sleep…just in case they’re tired on the STAAR test.
Teachers have it rough. Luckily, I was trained at the Mizzou J-school and therefore taught to expect no social life, free time, or normal hours. This is good preparation for teaching, but not really anyone’s ideal life style. And so we occasionally have to do things just to get by.
We have to have long, extended happy hours where we bitch and bitch.
Occasionally we must be able to wear jeans to work to give us a small joy.
Finding the humor in our students’ ridiculousness is a must for me, and I feel for many others as well.
And yes, sometimes, we have to mentally (even physically, too, if we have the days) check out for a little bit. It’s all a part of getting by in this high-stakes career. Because we know that it’s the future we’re working with here. We get it. We know. That’s why each time someone rubs my shoulders, they’re like “Damn. You need a massage, like, now.”
Tell me about it.
So, yeah. We deserve our little week. And maybe, just maybe, that teacher deserves it more than the rest of us. Or maybe she deserves it less, I don’t know. But we can always hope that if she is one of those packet-only teachers, this will be the catalyst for reminding her of why she got into education in the first place, and give her a second chance to be that awesome teacher for those kids. (I kinda stole that idea from someone more generous to her, btw. Give credit where credit is due and all that…)
In closing, it’s always nice to be appreciated, especially when we’re trying desperately to make it to the end of the year in one piece. We need the super-corny “you’re a star teacher” card with a star-shaped eraser attached. It’s the little things that help us get by.
That and liquor.
I should probably also note that not only have five kids wished me a ‘happy mother’s day ‘today, despite my having zero actual progeny, but I also received a really cute Mother’s Day card, in Spanish, that said “Feliz dia de la madre mexicana a mi mama blanco.”
Oh, baby children. They slay me.