When I was in college I started working as a teaching assistant at a local preschool, figuring it would be something easy to do and the hours weaved perfectly between softball practice and my class schedule. I loved going to work because it felt more like fun than an actual job. I felt like a kid again, we did science experiments, played outside and art was a part of the everyday curriculum. What could be better than being a kid every day?
I didn’t go to school to be a teacher, but something that I thought was just a “cake job” to get me through college kept pulling me back. After bouncing from different positions in the Journalism/Marketing world I always ended up back at teaching. Once I became a lead teacher and was finally the one in charge, creating lesson plans and completely responsible for the little people in my presence, I realized that though every day was filled with fun, there was so much more to it. So many things that parents don’t truly recognize.
Though I have once again changed my roll from teacher back to a Marketing position I often remember what it was like to spend my days with young children in hopes of making some sort of an impact in their lives. I miss it terribly, but when it came down to it, it was just too hard.
A teacher’s salary is less than desirable – you don’t become a teacher because of the pay, that’s for sure! Teaching is a gift, it’s something that not many have the love and patience to do but it’s never about the pay. It’s also one of the most stressful jobs you can imagine; not to be confused with the stresses of a firefighter, or nurse, but of a different nature. There were MANY days that I came home crying, thinking there is no way I can go back again tomorrow. As a teacher you have to deal with many different personalities while keeping your composure and trying to instill rules and lessons. When you spend every day with 24 little people under the age of five, everyone in the room feels the emotions each child brings to the day. Some days are great, everyone laughs and gets along, other days are quite the opposite. I never believed anyone when they said “oh it must be a full moon tonight, the kids are acting crazy” until I started teaching, and believe me, it’s true!
Teachers are more than just someone who reads books at circle time and quiets scuffles on the playground. As a teacher I’ve been called “mom” more times than I can count – by accident of course, but that just shows the role teachers play during the absence of parents. I’m sure parents appreciate having someone trusting to look after their children every day. But sometimes, I don’t think parents truly understand what all teachers go through on a day to day basis. For the children that are in school every day, all year long, they spend more time with their teacher and class mates than their family.
When your child gets a scraped knee, their teacher is there with a band aid (which makes EVERYTHING better) and a hug. When they are sick, their teacher’s lap is where they crawl up to for comfort and care. Often times the teacher is the first person to experience so many firsts; first time they spell their name on their own, tie their own shoe, conquer a fear or many other things. And, teachers have those proud moments right along with them.
Teachers spend endless amounts of time preparing lesson plans, filling out daily reports and doing their best to make each and every child feel special. Teaching is often a thankless job, I remember so many times when parents would just drop their kid off and look at us as nothing more than a babysitter. Teachers are so much more than that, so much more.
If not every day, I hope at least today parents take the time to say “Thank You” to the teachers of their children, or even their past teachers. Would you be where you are today if not for the love of a teacher? Probably not.
I have had many different children pass through my classes over the years, and I remember each one because every one of them has left a lasting impression on my heart.
- Many national chains are recognizing National Teacher Appreciation Day with FREE offers! Check it out here.
- Join the #ThankATeacher campaign and share your photos of your kids and their teacher.
What are you doing today to thank a teacher? Please share in the comments below.