You Appreciate Teachers Most When Your Kids Are Home On Break
Today is the first day of winter break for my kids. It comes on the heels of a snow day last Friday and a sick day last Thursday. Needless to say, I am already starting to come apart at the seams. I’ve only been working from home since last October, so I am not totally used to juggling my writing with the kids underfoot. These vacations are a wrinkle in my daily routine, no question, and doing my work amid their constant interruption can be very difficult. That said, when my kids are home on break, I appreciate the job their teachers do more than ever. Whatever they are being paid, it is most certainly not enough.
I often marvel at how my two children somehow manage to sound like a group of 20. They ask so many questions and request so many things. In between the questions, they are often singing, yelping and jumping around. I feel like my ears and brain never get a break. I try to be patient, but school-age kids can be a special brand of relentless. I get tired of the endless inquiries and more often than not, end up snapping at them before the day is done. Whenever I do so, I try to imagine how a teacher handles not just two inquiring minds, but a whole classroom’s worth. All without losing their temper. It can’t be easy.
Whenever I hear anyone whine about how much time off teachers get, I am very quick to remind them that a teacher is not like an employee sitting in a cubicle dealing chiefly with other adults and getting to pee whenever they want. My teacher friends and family members tell me about having to wait five or six hours to go to the bathroom because they can’t leave their class alone and sometimes, they don’t even get a lunch break. They tell me about having to take a deep breath and count to 10 so they don’t lose their cool with a difficult child. They are under a microscope and constantly have to keep their emotions in check. They are “on” for hours at a time trying to keep the whole class engaged and hopefully, learning. I honestly have no idea how they do it.
If school breaks weren’t enough to convince me of how amazing teachers are, the time I have spent volunteering in my kids’ classroom would have. I leave after a few hours of helping out with my ears ringing and an urgent need to lay down for a little while. At the elementary level, it is physically exhausting to be a teacher. Ushering little bodies to their chairs, picking things up off the floor, dancing, singing, reading out loud and trying to keep everyone interested is unquestionably one of the hardest jobs around. I think of teachers when my kids are home on break and hope from the bottom of my heart that they are getting the rest they so deeply need and deserve. And that hopefully, they will be ready to deal with my monkeys again come Monday morning along with all the others. Teachers, you are heroes to us all. Thank you for everything you do.