Somehow, all my college roommates were in school to become teachers. Some tried to convert me and my degree. Some practiced their lessons on me. Some just kept to their own until the time of student teaching rolled around, and then they freaked out on me with the stress of it all.
No matter what though, they all had one thing in common. A passion for the “Aha!” moment. A love for the process of creative explanations. Some lacked the art of discipline and some failed to appreciate “older” teaching methods. No matter what though, I could see why they were getting into this profession. They loved teaching the art of learning. They loved helping a struggler and then watching him or her have a lightbulb moment.
It wasn’t until after graduation that I saw past the fun songs, learning activities, and holiday themed lessons. Instead, I noticed the challenges they faced. I saw a teacher cry for her students and the obstacles ahead, both personally and academically. I witnessed a teacher start to lose the fire and stick to the same old lesson plan. I watched a teacher get beat by the school’s administration, deal with difficult news about students, face national tragedies, and struggle to make ends meet financially.
There were students who didn’t have enough money for supplies and instructors paying out of pocket to help. Also, students getting pregnant or having to cope with parents going to jail. It was the first time in my life that I saw “behind the teacher’s desk” and into the hardship. The first time I saw that a teacher’s day does not end after the bus line and they don’t actually get a lunch break.
It made me appreciate all the teachers I had in the past and all the teachers we now have. It made me sad for the teacher’s family that doesn’t get to see him or her at the neighborhood bus stop, because he or she is tutoring after school for the much needed extra money. But mostly, it made me thankful that we have teachers like this.
To these teachers: the ones dedicated, exhausted, and compassionate…To the teachers who are bold, challenging and don’t put up with a kid’s nonsense…To all teachers, I raise a glass (because you probably need one!) and offer a gift of gratitude in the only way I know how… Let me give you a free photo session. You know you have earned it. Have your friends and family nominate you. It’s as easy as a click of a button.
Not a teacher but know of a great one? You can nominate him or her here.
Thanks to all the teachers for all the long hours, uncomfortable shoes, expo marker on your sleeve and lifetime of Aha! moments. Those crazy kids couldn’t do it without you.