Teaching- I’m All In

I have not had to do recess duty in many, many years, but whenever the winter coats come out, I can immediately spot the ones that would stand up to recess duty by the soccer field on a cold, windy day in February.  That is my personal marker for the warmest coat possible.  It goes down from there to the lightest jacket- the one you could wear on bright, sunny days when you had blacktop duty in October.  Pretty much everything in my life has some relationship to school. Names are another example.  I cannot hear some names without cringing.  I had a hard time choosing names for my own children because so many names were just off the table.  Teaching isn’t just your job.  It becomes who you are as a person.  It winds itself around every fiber of your being.  I don’t know if there is anything else quite like it.  If you are new to teaching and wonder how far in you have gotten, look for these warning signs:

  1. Teachers have a whole section of their closet reserved for school shirts.  Every year, this section grows larger.  They say that they will NOT buy any more shirts, but they always do.  They have sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, polos, button-down shirts, etc.  They also have play day shirts, fundraiser shirts, 5K shirts, somebody’s 30/40/50th birthday party shirts, and various other shirts that they can’t quite get rid of.  They are still perfectly good shirts!  Aside from this section of shirts, a good percentage of the other clothes in their closet are clothes in the school colors.  Go team!
  2. Teachers have enough beverage vessels to keep a small city hydrated for a week.  Many of these mugs and water cups have their names on them.  And apples.  They were gifts.  The teachers can tell you exactly which students gave them the cups.  The teachers have these cups, mugs, and glasses everywhere.  Some are holding pencils and pens.  Some have plants in them.  Some are in the sink in the teacher’s workroom waiting for a nonexistent school mommy to come and wash them.  And then there are the ones the teachers carry into school everyday.  Teachers carry in lots of drinks.  I carry in three and I don’t even have students anymore.  Teaching is so dehydrating.
  3. Teachers spend 90% of their time online judging people for their inappropriate use of your/your’re, there/their, to/too, and sale/sell.  I’m sorry, but we do.  We taught you these words in elementary school.  If you type something and post it on the internet for the entire world to see, you should make sure you have your homophones correct.  You are making your teachers look like we did not do our jobs and you know good and well we taught you better.  That is just nonsense.  I think Apple should make a feature where the whole phone just shuts off for ten hours if someone types “your” when it should have been “you’re.”  
  4. Teachers always walk on the right side of the hallway, close to the wall.  This helps with the flow of traffic in a building.  We do not walk in the middle.  We do not walk on the left.  This would interfere with other people who are trying to go down the hall in the opposite direction.  If everyone would follow this simple walking plan, we would not have people bumping into each other and having traffic jams in the halls.  It’s always the people darting through the middle and zig zagging around that cause problems.
  5. Teachers love pens and markers.  I am particularly fond of scented markers. They now have scented crayons, colored pencils, and skinny markers.  I have all of them.  I have almost no need for most of them, but I still bought them.  I have an entire drawer full of markers of all sizes and shapes.  Just opening the drawer makes me happy.  If I’m feeling all happy, I will write my notes with a pretty pink marker.  
  6. Teachers have a hard time dealing with unsupervised children in outside-of-school settings.  We try our best to ignore it, or to move away.  But all we can think is that they are going to try to act like that at school on Monday.  I like to try to give them the “teacher look” when the parents aren’t looking, but it is rarely effective when they are in a herd.  I like it best when I can observe it with another teacher and we can quietly list all of the ways the parents are making our jobs that much harder.    
  7. Finally, but by far the most important, teachers’ eyes light up and they smile whenever they see a child.  I have been in rooms full of teachers and the minute a child walks in, a smile will break across every single face.  It doesn’t matter who the child is, or if they even know the child.  They see the gift that the child is.  No matter what the job has done to us or makes us do, those children are our focus. 

Do any of these seven resonate with you?  If so, you just might be hooked.  Welcome!  Teaching is the greatest profession imaginable for those of us who are all in.  The workload is huge, the rewards are rarely immediate, and the pay is not just.  We stay because it is who we are.  


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