Archive for June 18th, 2019

I am not a teacher.

I work in a high school. I work with the same students as teachers. Though I do work alongside of teachers, working to assist students in the learning process, I will never refer to myself as a teacher, for I do not bear the weight of responsibility that a teacher does for the teaching and learning that goes on in their classroom … and it is a great weight.

I am not a teacher …

but here is what I see of high school teachers at the end of the school year (because, unless you work alongside of them, you simply do not know what goes on).

As the school year turns toward the end, teachers begin to feel the fatigue of the school year. It is like the muscle fatigue caused by holding your arms up in the air for a long period of time. Yet, the year, their task, is not completed, so they take a deep breath, move past that bone-tired fatigue and assess their student’s marks, to confirm what they already know … there are one or two students who are at risk of not being ready for the next grade level, or who are at risk of not graduating.

It is the struggle of this small number who will burden a teacher, often night and day, until the final day of school. He or she will connect with home, speak to the student(s), offering opportunities to bolster their slumping grades from handing in uncompleted work, to assignments removed, to time at lunch or after school for the teacher to assist the student(s).

Teachers see our children in a different light than we parents do. There are the students who are more respectful, more amiable, more hardworking in the classroom than at home. There are also those who are not so amiable, or who struggle with the environment of school. I have seen teachers alter and adjust their classroom, their teaching, their person … like a contortionist … to help students who struggle to fit into a classroom.

On top of that enormous burden are the many end of year events that are part of school from sports days, to field trips, to awards nights, to band concerts, to graduation activities and more. Then there are the final projects, tests, exams … marking, marking, marking … followed by report cards.

Then the regular demands of grade-level, department, professional development (cause they don’t always happen when your kids are at home), planning and staff meetings.

When the bell rings, at the school where I work, I (who work an hourly job) walk out, alongside the students. The teachers are still there … often for hours yet … planning, marking, organizing and attending all those meetings.

I do not know a teacher who does not work a full day along with work time in the evenings, as well as weekends.

They are heros without capes, who keep thinking of and even praying for their students.

They keep tweaking their curriculum, trying to make it better, trying to ensure that every student has opportunity to learn successfully in their classroom (band room, woodworking shop, library, gymnasium, kitchen). All the while, government agencies make changes to curriculum that require changes in the what and how they teach and assess learning.

The tasks of a teacher are doable, if we are talking about teaching one student, but they have twenty to over seventy-five on their plate at any one time.

I am not a teacher, but I get to work with them and they are a most amazing, hard-working group of humans … who just want to do their job of teaching this generation well.

So, please, write them a note of thanks … or, even better, get your child to write them a note of thanks, for these are the fuel to return next year and do it all again!

*a gift card or bottle of wine aren’t a bad addition to the note 😉


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