I am one day away from surviving the first three weeks of school. You might think that isn’t a big deal, but there are several reasons why I actually deserve an award, night out on the town, and full body massage.
First of all, as a teacher, it is important that we show all our students how much we love them and want them to be at school. Different teachers do this in different ways. My preferred way was to shake each student’s hand every morning and give them a personal “good morning” as they come in the door. That sounds all well and good until I realized the trail of contamination I was creating. Sure, I would sanitize MY hands after I greeted everyone, but…..do the math there. Yeah. Now I just SAY good morning to each one and keep my hands to myself.
The second qualifying category is the physical and mental fatigue that inevitably comes with the 8 hour days spent juggling the very personal needs of 31 one pre-pubescent kiddoes in one small room. Teaching isn’t one of those “show up and do your thing” kind of jobs. I eat, sleep, and breathe teaching. Those kids are on my mind almost as much as my own kids, and more so during the day. Keeping them engaged, happy, safe, and entertained with a one man(woman) pony show is no small feat. Let up for one moment and you have a full on mutiny on your hands. Yeah, I’m tired.
Let’s just mention quickly the fact that the first day of school was on a full moon, and just this last Monday we had a solar eclipse. If you don’t think the moon has any effect on kids….you must be living on the dark side of the said moon. Seriously. I’m pretty sure the legend of the werewolf originated with a teacher noticing the craziness of his/her students during a full moon. I can totally see half my class turning into wolves and running wild and free through the midnight wilderness.
Maybe the toughest part of the teaching world is dealing with the ‘dear parents’. Some are amazing, enabling, and supportive of me and their own children. Some look for any opportunity to complain, and some are the distant sound of crickets as their children maneuver this world alone. After a stressful-annoying-maddening-frustrating episode with some parents this week, I felt inspired to write a short poem. Enjoy:
An ode to parents, one and all
With children big, or children small.
A teacher is your friend, not foe
WE work to see your children grow.
We know your child is number one
but we are dealing with thirty-one!
Your child may struggle but don’t be afraid
learning is about much more than a grade.
To help a child you must set them free
to learn to be who they can be.
Remember this one very simple rule
the learner should be the one in school.
Yeah, I know I’m not a poet, but Siri and I thought this was pretty good work for a drive home from the doctor today.
I guess my team summed it up the best today when we were talking about a story in ELA. A girl riding a horse was told to remember, “the horse thinks you are the bigger animal.” I mentioned that I NEVER felt that way on a horse. My team mate, who is a horse wrangler in her super hero life, told me it was all about attitude. Like a “Chihuahua humping a great Dane’s leg”. The imagery was not lost on me, I admit. Our team decided that this analogy could apply to teaching as well. Therefore, our new team mission statement is, “Be the Chihuahua.”
No, this doesn’t mean we are going to start running around like tiny dogs with ADHD, it means we are going to make sure we know what we are doing, we are in charge, and we don’t let those awesome H parents plow us into the ground.
Be the Chihuahua. Words to live by. Cause I said so.