I remember the huge auditorium I sat in, on a fall afternoon at UW Madison. It was the introduction to student teaching. The professor stood in front of the room full of college kids eager to have our “first classroom.” He said, “If you aren’t asleep by 8 pm each night because the day of teaching has exhausted you, you are doing something wrong.”
I distinctly remember shaking my head and laughing to myself saying, “there’s no way…”
I made it through seven years of teaching elementary students before I became a mom. I taught in what would be considered for many reasons, a non-challenging district. During those teaching years, I made it to 7 pm on good nights before falling asleep exhausted.
Fast forward to now. I’m no longer in the classroom. But some of my most favorite people are-my daughter, sister-in-law, and friends teach young ones in the classroom. I hear some of the stories-the above and beyond that teachers must do these days to help these young kids learn, immersed in a whole new set of pressures, stress, and expectations. Worries that seep into the schools-bullying, shootings, pandemics, political agendas…the list goes on and on. What has been added to teachers’ plates to think about, contend with, and work around and through to provide a safe and nurturing environment for young learners can’t really be described. It’s creativity and compassion-days made up of moment by moment decisions and strategies, discipline and gentleness that teachers must offer uniquely to each student in addition to the curriculum.
Teachers these days are not just givers of information-they also often play the role of parent, guardian, advocate, wise counsel, and, yes…hero.
I think about the enormity of what it take to be a teacher today, what these teachers do for our future generation. I have wondered if I would have what it takes to do what these amazing teachers are doing? And I say to myself, “There’s no way…”
It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week. I’m so grateful for any opportunity to appreciate one of our nation’s most precious resources.
Live Your Light