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Monday, May 6, 2013

Teaching: A Different Kind of Rich

Well, Teacher Appreciation Day has rolled around again.  I feel like sometimes it can be a bit of a disappointment…sort of like the hype for New Year’s Eve.   But we understand that teaching often feels like a thankless job.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do it. Loving your job is a great perk. 

I am not Pollyanna though; there have been many times when I have felt used and abused.  It is very frustrating to put so much into your work and have people make you feel that it isn't enough.

Parents want more.  “Why didn't you tell me he failed a quiz?/was rude to others?/missed a homework assignment?”  Sometimes you have to first develop a relationship with the child.  I can remember being the president of the PTA in my child’s school; the other members were extremely disappointed that the teachers were not more active.  Why couldn't they give more…more time, more donations, just more?  I had to remind them that many of us did not work in the districts that we lived in and we did give more time, more donations and just more to the PTA…sometimes we just have to be the P.

Kids want more.  Can we have more action, more entertainment, more free time?  Lesson planning takes a lot of work.  Not every lesson is going to hit it out of the park for every child…but we keep trying, striving to orchestrate- to wave our baton and let the magic happen.  It is not every day that we hear “can we do that again?” but we know that kids look forward to learning and enjoy school…they just don’t always admit it!

Admins want more.  They need more of our time, higher scores, less ripples.  Without tooting your own horn, many teachers don’t get more than an “effective” checked in a box for feedback.   Administrators often have the as many staff members as we have students to care for, too often the squeaky wheel gets most of the oil.

We don't do this to get rich
Although true, it just feels so corny to write "we don’t do this to get rich."  We do it for the riches.  There is no job that requires more people skills than teaching.  You literally come in contact, more than contact, with hundreds of people a day.  And you know their names!  And it is your JOB to talk to them, make them comfortable, teach them something, support them, etc.  That is what makes your life rich- being a rock star to a kid in the dairy aisle of Shop Rite, the opportunity to know so many diverse human beings, to share your enthusiasm for learning with kids and colleagues.

A different kind of rich
Perhaps the most rewarding thing about teaching is being part of a community of people who by nature, care for each other.  A community that you can see and hear and feel in the flesh!  Life doesn't get any better (or richer) than that ….no need to thank me, for that I am thankful.


  1. LOVE this, my friend! You hit this out of the park for me today! Will I see you at ISTE in San Antonio? I sure hope so!

  2. Thanks Diane! I will certainly see you at ISTE!