Friday, December 2, 2011

Thoughts on Tired Teachers

Today I came back to school after being sick yesterday and checked for the notes from the substitute teacher. Upon arriving to my classroom this morning, I was puzzled to find desks rearranged and facing away from the whiteboard. Students I had deliberately moved away from each other had merged their desks together. Furthermore, all the teacher edition books were moved to a remote place of the classroom, and there was a chair in the front of the class (which I later discovered he had posted most of the day). I finally found his notes scribbled on my lesson plan saying that my class was "interesting and fun." End note. Really? Certainly they are an interesting group who likes to have fun, but they need definite structure and routine or they become wild. Throughout the day, I had to catch up everything from yesterday since apparently nothing had been done; the test was not given, the homework was not assigned, the classwork was not finished. Yet, I had a lot of drawings presented to me today. What on Earth did this guy do all day? To top that off, I had to deal with a group of unruly children who had grown quite accustomed to drawing all day and earning candy bars from the substitute, who had brought full-sized Butterfingers and other candy to give them. By the end of the day, I was worn out and exhausted. I started to feel despairing, but then remembered the importance of people who care enough to truly teach and parent.

Later, I went to find out who this guy was, and discovered that he had been teaching in the district for quite some time prior to his retirement, and that he now substitutes for teachers. I was horrified. If a teacher is tired and jaded, then they should not be teaching anymore. I think few people understand all that teachers must do. We are not babysitters. We teach the curriculum, deal with different personalities/disorders/attitudes/parents/etc., we constantly assess and report our assessments to the students, school, parents, school district, and state.  We have to be psychologists, therapists, social behaviorists, parents, teachers, friends, providers, and anything else that children need. We hear our names so often that we get tired of them. We hear so many complaints that we have created generic remarks to them. We rarely get to sit or have a decent amount of silence. We are so completely drained of energy at the end of the day that it is hard to live our own lives, let alone guide the lives of others.

Don't get me wrong. I love teaching and I know all my coworkers do as well. It is the most amazing and centering job that a person can have. I just worry about those people who have the wrong idea and who have become so worn down or jaded that they don't care anymore. The point is that we have to care! We have to spend the time, give of ourselves, and work hard to ensure the future generations are allowed to grow into the people that will carry the world forward. If you want an easy job, then don't teach. Education is what our world needs more than ever, and babysitters are great for keeping kids busy when parents or teachers are not around to further their development. The teachers and the parents are the ones who truly hold the torch to a better future as long as they are aware of the importance of their roles. Children need good role models, knowledge and understanding, and skills that will serve them throughout their lives. They don't need to be bribed for their acceptance. They don't need inconsistent or low expectations. They need structure, values, wisdom, and work ethic. Here is a shout out to all the teachers, parents, and any other people who understand the importance of raising responsible, respectful, and safe children. You are under-appreciated, under-paid, and exhausted, but you are the guardians of mankind's future. You are rare gems; a priceless gift to the world. Thank you.

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