Let me start off by saying that this is not one of those really cute and somewhat sappy posts. This post is full of real-life feelings and thoughts that I am somewhat nervous to share with others. Please know that even though this post is not full of positive and upbeat thoughts, I am grateful for every opportunity I have been given in life because I have learned from each experience.
Where does the time go?
I can hardly believe it. How has another summer come and gone? Teachers are reporting back to their respective buildings in just a little over a week?! What the heck? Two months have gone by already?! June is always the month that seems to drag for me. The days seem so long. Maybe it is that the Oklahoma heat continues to climb, or I am finding myself without a schedule for the first time in a while. Before I know it, the fourth has arrived. Lets just say that after the fireworks, time flies. Holy moly, July has come and gone with the blink of an eye. August is here and back to school sales are in full swing at the local Walmart.
How am I feeling about everything back to school? Keep reading to find out.
I am ready to get back into a routine, but I am not sure that I am ready to go back to my building and start teaching. I always thought teaching was my calling. I felt my whole life that this is the one thing that God called me to do. Well, now starting my fourth year I have started to wonder. I wonder if there is a job out there that I might like better, that is less stressful, that pays more, that has strict hours (for instance 9 to 5 then you’re done). I will not lie to you, I have wondered that a lot lately. As budget cuts loom and teacher morale continues to decline, I wonder what my call in life really is. Is it to work tirelessly day after day and not even be able to pay my bills? What is with that? Is it to educate a child that could be the future president of the United States or a doctor that could cure a deadly disease and feel like people do not value the work that you do? As the November election draws closer, here is one thing that I wish I would hear from a presidential candidate: “Teachers need to be valued. Education needs to be valued. Teacher pay should not vary from state to state. It is ridiculous that two states that border have a $25,000 pay gap. That is wrong. We have teachers fleeing to multiple other careers because of the conditions in which they work, because of how under-appreciated they feel, yet we do nothing. We have done and continue to do nothing. Well, that is about to change.” Yeah, have you heard that? I haven’t. I think that even if I did hear someone say that I wouldn’t believe them. People, I’m screaming from the inside just waiting for someone to listen.
What I thought I knew about education
Yes, I chose this career path knowing the pay wasn’t great. I am not asking to get paid millions. I am not asking to get paid six figures. I am simply asking to get paid enough to live in my own home, be able to pay my bills, feed my dog, have basic cable (to watch a college football game in the fall), and pay off my school loans. I cannot even afford to do that and I’ve been teaching for four years. How is that possible? When I tell people what I get paid to do what I do they are astonished. I hear ya, it shocks me every day how under appreciated teachers are.
I know what you see on the news, but there is good out there
You know those crummy teachers you see on the news? Yeah, I see them to too. Just like you I am disgusted by some of the things they chose to do. Just because there are a few teachers who choose to make awful decisions, does not mean that all teachers are like that. Take a doctor that is in the legal battle of his life for malpractice. Does that mean that all doctors are bad? No! There are doctors that save lives each and every day. Do not let the few bad apples ruin it for the bunch. You can find good and bad in every profession. There are wonderful, caring, selfless, kind and giving teachers out there. They are not hard to find, and their voices are not being heard.
The voice of a tired and underappreciated third grade teacher that has lost her passion
I am urging you, begging you, please start listening to them. Here is what I have to say to future law makers and government leaders: “Please change your views on education. Please change how you feel about teachers. Please value us and what we do for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors and friends. Please know that you are losing us. You are losing us to careers that we do not find as joyful or rewarding as teaching because of the way you value us. I know growing up you had at least one teacher you adored. One that made you feel valued. One that dried your tears when someone hurt your feelings or tagged you during a game at recess. I know you had a teacher that believed in you so much that you finally started to believe in yourself. I know you had a teacher that cried happy tears when you made incredible growth in just one school year. I know you had a teacher that never gave up on you. I know you had a teacher that prayed every night that you would know how much you were loved by others. There are teachers out there that cry at the end of the school year because no matter how trying his of her year has been, he or she will miss their class dearly. There are teachers that care for their students as if they were there own. I know that you had a teacher you loved. Do you want to know how I know all of this? I am that teacher. I care for my students as if they were my own children. We grow tremendously together throughout the year and no matter how naughty some have been that year, it is heart wrenching to see them go. Throughout those nine months of school they become a part of you. They become yours. You understand that their parents have entrusted you with God’s greatest gift to them, their child, and that is not something you take lightly. Please value me. Please value the other teachers like me. You are losing me. You are losing me to the career I always wanted. You are losing me to something that I feel called to do. You are losing a wonderful teacher. Change how you view us. Change how you value us. Show us that you see the difference we are making in the lives of children every day.”
Trying to find the positive, even when it seems like there is none
As I gear up for this upcoming school year, I am going into it knowing that it could be my last. I am hopeful that I will find the positively that I once did, because boy-oh-boy, I sure do love those kiddos. More importantly, I love teaching. I am hoping that this year brings a new joy in teaching that I have somewhat lost. I hope that I will find clarity in a career that will either continue or end after this year. I need to search for the passion that I once had for the career I could not wait to start. I know it is in there somewhere, I just need to find it again. Until I find the answer I am searching for, I will leave you with this quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
Until next time,