Do you walk into work being greeted by a Security Guard? Do you pass a metal detector? Do you have a digital tag that allows you into your office building? There are many in today’s society encountering this every morning as they enter work. No they are not correctional officers or work in the courts! They are today’s superheroes… They are teachers!
Education today is a battlefield of sorts with Superheroes and Villains! Teachers are taking criticism from lawmakers, parents, and administrators. They worry about being safe at work! I really don’t think half of America realizes what teachers endure daily. Let’s take a walk in these shoes for a moment…
Let’s look at an easy day of an urban, inner city schoolteacher. He or she wakes before the sun rises, gets ready, and gathers the book bag that was taken home to complete work. Arriving at school before the students, the teacher prepares the room for the students to enter and monitors the halls. The school bell rings at 8:00 a.m. Students begin to trickle into the classroom with a sack containing their breakfast. The teacher supervises while they eat their school breakfast. They hold their interest and educate the children until it’s time to feed them again at lunch, which is hours later. The teacher, if she or he is lucky, gets a 30 minute lunch, which as we know is not really 30 minutes after you walked the class to lunch and made it to the teachers’ lounge and back to pick them up! Oh wait, did I mention eat in those 30 minutes? Forget the option of taking a washroom break during your 30-minute lunch!
The teacher gets these lovely souls back for the afternoon to actively engage them in purposeful learning for yet another four hours or so. Let’s say during the four-hour afternoon, there were three students that did not complete homework assignments, and two small interventions groups you balanced while the other students worked in class, and then there was a hamster in a wheel as the class pet to manage and keep from dying and risk traumatizing the class! Are you tired yet?
The students and teacher are lucky if there is a “special” class like Music, Gym, or Art scheduled for them that day. Many districts across the country don’t choose to offer those classes any longer. You know it’s called budget cuts! If the students get that “special”, there is a break for the teacher and students. If not, the teacher many times has to teach the Gym, Music, or Art to the students!
Now it’s the end of the day and time for dismissal. Many students go home to less than desirable home situations. Many schools even send home “healthy snacks” in backpacks for the weekend because they know many families don’t have enough food to get the children through the weekend without being hungry! But against the tsunami of disadvantage and challenges, there are shining stars called teachers that care more than you can imagine. They spend their OWN money on shoes, backpacks and school supplies for the students in their class. They feel privileged to be entering those guarded school doors everyday to make a difference and impact our country’s future. They wake up in the morning hoping all is well with their students, and that they have 100% attendance to make the school goal! These educators lay their heads on the pillow at night thinking about how to make things better tomorrow. They do this with looming budget cuts, school closings, and the lack of job security dancing around in the their heads.
With all the budget cuts and tightening of the educational belts, teachers still manage to overcome the odds of succeeding in inner city, higher poverty schools. There never seems to be enough time to help Susie and Jose, but they find the time to help the students raise those scores! It is becoming all about the scores with ISAT, ISTEP, and iREAD! The next test should be iScream!
All the while smiling, because as teachers, they take an unspoken oath of sorts... to teach, to be a nurse when the students don’t feel well, a friend to listen to all of their stories, a surrogate parent, a dentist when they lose their first tooth, but most of all to love and take care of their precious souls.
Teachers are given the opportunity to help mold them for a year of their life that they have them in their class. They receive them every morning with a smile and return them to you safely and a bit smarter everyday.
My hat goes off to ALL the teachers who fight a GOOD fight everyday in and out. You ARE the unsung superheroes our country needs!
So raise your hand, if you think teachers need MORE pay, more RESPECT, and more APPRECIATION for what they do daily and for making all of you who you are today!
Thank a teacher today!