Remember that interview I went on? Well, I got the job as a substitute. I wish that it was full-time, however I am enjoying being back in the education environment. I am so happy I have found what I love to do. If I had forced myself to continue being a journalist I don't think I would have been satisfied. On my bad days I still love teaching. On my bad days as a journalist I questioned my worth.
Teaching gives me hope for the future. Yes, there are days that I'm not sure if we should release these 12 graders out in the real world and I wonder how these 9th grades made it this far. However, there is that magical moment when I'm teaching something and the whole class is learning, truly learning. It is amazing every time.
Teaching is hard. I don't think people understand everything that it takes to teach. I love that it challenges me in every way. It takes bravery to stand in front of 20-35 teenagers. I have to take my knowledge and what the world/textbook/administrators/parents/government want them to know and make it interesting, everyday. I have to manage the classroom; meaning making sure the students get along and stop talking long enough to learn. There is an unholy amount of paperwork. Some days I'm a social worker, mother, counselor, listening ear, enforcer, student and teacher to these students. Yet it is completely fulfilling.
There is a lot of pressure to make sure our students reach certain levels on standardized tests. People want to hold teachers accountable (and they should be) but everyone (especially parents) should be accountable as well. Parent involvement is crucial. There is a reason why "helicopter parents" children do better in school- they are overly involved. I just want parents to think about that when they are sitting at parent-teacher conferences mad at me because their child is failing. Most teachers I know are working their asses off for the student and the parent.
I don't know when students (or parents) stopped giving gifts for teachers but it needs to make a comeback. I'm not saying this because I want gifts but a simple thank you note would be appreciated. I have notes from my students that I've saved because it reminds me of why I teach. I'm making a difference in this world.
Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 6, 2014.