This is the time of year that is truely depressing. Unlike my sister, I am not an “outdoorsie” person. I’m more of a sit on the couch with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa kind of person. To God’s credit, He does make the weather sunny this time of year, which in many ways is the only way I can get through it… that and Prozac! Let me explain.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a teacher. I have been a teacher all my life, but professionally, I am finishing my 6th year this spring. As a child, I used my dad’s old textbooks, and set my stuffed animals in a seating chart. Yes, God has called me to be a teacher. While I am proud of my job and cannot imagine doing anything else, this is the time of year when I get discouraged and question God’s plan for my life.
It’s spring, I should be excited about the coming summer vacation and the warmer weather. However, spring is also when teacher contracts are given, signed, and put into place for the next year.
Let me stop here and say that I am VERY THANKFUL for my job. In today’s day, a job of any kind is one to be thankful for.
Back to why this time of year is depressing… Have you ever calculated your salary by the ACTUAL time you work?!?!? If you’re a teacher… I’m warning you right now… don’t do it!!! It’s depressing.
On a typical week during the school year, I leave my house at 7am each morning. I spend the next 45 minutes driving to school, and by God’s grace and love, I have the opportunity to listen to the Bible as I drive. What a GREAT way to start my day! What a blessing!! After arriving at school, my students begin trickling in at 8am. (If you’re counting, that’s 15 minutes to pee, get my mail, say hi to my friends, and check my e-mail). My entire class is not all in the classroom until about 8:20am. And there starts the marathon that is my daily life. At 9:05, I run around like a chicken with my head cut off for the next 45 minutes… copying what needs to copied for the day… meeting with other teachers to discuss everything from kids to breakfast coffe runs… checking and responding to e-mail… planning lessons… grading whatever papers I can get done in 30 seconds. And then it’s back to the grind until noon when I do the same thing again, only this time I’m trying to eat some kind of lunch in there as well. At 12:45, we’re in the home stretch. By 3:45 when the walk-talkie is off, the floor is somewhat picked up, and the classroom is quiet, it’s time to finish up the day. You know all those lessons I taught between 8:20 and 3:30… well there’s usually some kind of assessment to make sure that I’ve gotten through to those little brains. I used to pile up those papers in a big pink bag and drag them home every night. Sometimes they’d get brought in from the car. Somethimes they’d even get set by the couch ready and waiting. Occasionally, I’d have the energy and motivation to pull the papers out of the bag and grade a stack or two. Not any more.
You see I have this distraction at home now… her name is Mercedes. In the five months she’s been such a huge distraction, I have learned to leave the mountain of papers at school. Of course that means I don’t leave school until later each day, but it’s better than the back ache of lugging them to and from the car.
So now you see why I should NEVER have divided my salary by the number of hours I actually work. Granted… I only “work” 36 weeks out of the year right?!?!?! And I have Christmas break off right?!!??! And a week for Spring Break and Thanksgiving?!?!?! WOW!!! Hummm…. I’m usually taking at least one class during the summer months… that I pay for out of my own pocket. I’m doing report cards or grading or planning during ANY break I have. Oh yeah and I’ve moved classrooms EVERY year I’ve taught except last year. So I spend at least a week after school is out packing it all up… and two weeks before school starts getting it all back together.
So now, do you see why this time of year is sooooooo depressing. I have been blessed with a wonderful, smart, husband. He has brought home the “bread” per say since the day we got marrie. I think it was my third year of teaching before Jim was making only twice as much as I did. Otherwise he was bringing in over 75% of our income. The year I decided to divide out my salary by the number of hours I actually work, was the same year that Jim started making just twice as much as me. His going “chargeable” rate was something like $200 a hour. And to think, without his first grade teacher… Miss Wilson… he wouldn’t have been able to read or do math as well as he can now. Without his accounting teacher at Poudre, he wouldn’t have found the career that has so blessed our family.
Seriously…. take a minute to think about all the things you do in a day that you can link back to a teacher.
Are you organized???? Which of your teachers taught you how to set up a desk, turn project in on time, or plan your week to get your job done???
Are you a great writer???? Which of your teachers helped to light the fire inside you that became words??? Which of your teachers taught you how to put words together to make sentences and then expand them to make more sense or help your reader understand the message you’re trying to share???
Are you good with money or numbers??? Is there a teacher that had a love for math and gave you that passion???? Did you have a teacher who helped you learn how to put together a budget, a plan, and a job????
This teacher could be a parent too. I got an invitation in the mail yesterday. It was for a reception of a teacher who is retiring. This teacher has always been an inspiration to me! She in many ways molded me into the teacher I am today. Take some time… especially at this time of the year, to THANK A TEACHER!!! Send a note, that’s all it takes. We’re not paid enough to do a job that gives so much to so many. It’s worth more than money to get a note from a former student… just to say thanks!
THANK A TEACHER!! They in many ways helped mold you into the person you are today.
Thanks for listening. It’s time now to do what I have been called to do… TEACH!!