Saturday, September 20, 2008

In the trenches

As I reflect at the end of the week about what has happened in just a few short days, I am amazed by the little and enormous happenings of the week. Our days are spent moving from one challenge to the next with barely a breath in between. As teachers we take on many roles as the job requires. We think quickly on our feet making decisions that hopefully have the best interests of our students in mind at all times. It is a balancing act. There is outrage and threats of being sued by a parent because their child got off at the wrong bus stop. Another parent that has moved her child out of our school district claiming that her gifted child is not getting his needs met in the multi-age classroom she selected for him. This classroom teacher is in multi-age for just this reason - differentiation of instruction. Students with lice, intestinal troubles, life threatening allergies and diabetes are every day issues that teachers deal with. Autistic, oppositional defiant, and ADHD children mainstreamed into our classrooms present many challenges for us. We rise to the occassion because we are dedicated to educating all of our students. It is not always easy.

Fortunately there are students, parents and colleagues that make up for the difficult situations that are a part of every job. We are fortunate to have parents that care and show it with their actions. There are co-workers that share freely their ideas so that others can benefit. Life in the teaching world is a unique and rewarding experience and one that I would not want to trade.

As most of my fellow teachers know, being a teacher involves a fraction of our time doing actual teaching. Meetings(and more meetings), lesson planning(revisions to revisions), communication with students families & colleagues(phone calls, emails and notes), making, setting up and taking down learning activities, formal and informal assessment, grading assignments(quizzes,tests and papers)-the list goes on of things other than "teaching" that must be done.

I would love for someone critical of education and teachers in particular to come and trade places with me or one of the other hard working dedicated individuals in our school. I think at the end of the day, certainly by the end of the week, most would think that you could not pay them enough money ever to do what we do.

And so this week and for the rest of the school year, I will look forward to bringing a smile to a child's face. Hopefully I will make a colleague feel like they are making a difference in their students lives. I will have kind words for all of the people that are in the buildings that I teach in. Without all of us, there would not be great places for our students to learn to become the leaders of tomorrow. What we do makes a difference to the world.


  1. Well said. Teaching is not a cookie cutter profession. And obviously our students do not fit in a particular mold. Keep your head up and continue on your journey to make a difference!

  2. I spend 3 hours and ten minutes each day teaching. Somehow I need 6 hours and fifty minutes more each day to make that 3+ hours be worthwhile, and to deal with all of the administrative stuff.