I had NO idea. Seriously.
All the times I stared with my kids at math problems I probably forgot how to do longer ago than you were born, I cursed you.
Those nights when I wanted to pound my head into a wall because at 9 PM, I was still arguing over writing vocabulary sentences, all the while thinking you closed up shop at 3 PM and were enjoying an evening with a bowl of popcorn and the Real Housewives, I cursed you.
Remember those dioramas? The ones I spent $90 on, so you didn’t make snide remarks behind my back about what a crappy mother I was for sending my kid in with a shoe box full of glue stick and construction paper people? Oh, how I cursed you.
I take it all back. Every muttering under my breath at the Back To School Nights. Every nasty thought I was too embarrassed to even bring up in confession. Every OMG, WTF, and YGTBKM (You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me) that ever came out of my mouth. I take it all back.
As a student teacher, I have seen and done stuff I never would have thought a teacher did. I’ve nursed wounds, referreed arguments, washed faces, and counseled children. My day begins 30 minutes before children arrive in my classroom, goes through their hour long lunch break, and ends two hours after the last child has gone home.
My time at home is not my own. I am lesson planning. I am researching methods of dealing with each child’s individual issues. I am falling asleep at my keyboard.
For all the extra time you put in that I didn’t recognize, I am grateful. If my kids are anything like “my kids”, I know you are hearing family secrets, not passing judgement, and nurturing my girls as if they were your own.
I have learned so much about teachers as I strive to become one. Never was the description “Chief cook and bottle washer” more appropriate. The teachers I work with never stop – they never sit, they never eat (I’ve lost 20 pounds this semester!). And I know My girls’ teachers did the same thing.
So thank you. Thank you to my kids’ teachers, my friends who are teachers, my sister, who works tirelessly with challenging kids every day. I not only have a new appreciation for the job you do, but for the character it takes to do it.
You are the real American heroes.