Since maybe the beginning of humanity, teachers have certainly had their hands full and have been held to ever-increasing standards. The past couple of years have been especially rough for us. Teaching on Zoom was no fun. School shootings are a frightening reality no one ever wants to face, and my heart breaks again and again at the tragic madness of such violence.
This Friday, I’m going to wrap up another year as a teacher. Through the past seventeen years, three grade levels, and three different schools, I’ve had plenty of rough days, angry parents, and challenging students. Countless times I have taken students’ papers home to be graded, have felt incompetent, or have cried tears of discouragement or frustration, all while trying to balance my personal and family life, and maintain my own identity, sanity, and joy.
Despite all of the negativity, recent hardships, and dangers those of us in the teaching profession have been experiencing, it truly is a rewarding, noble, and courageous career.
Sure, it’s awesome having summers off and doing arts/crafts with 9-year-olds, but there’s so much more to it than that. For example, being there for a student’s “Aha!” moment is really fantastic! Seeing them use their curiosity to expand their understanding of a topic is so gratifying. Working with children has helped me to stay young at heart. Receiving their hand-made drawings and notes that say sweet (and misspelled) things such as, “Your the best teacher in the hole world” is both amusing and heart-warming.
All of those aspects of being a teacher are great in their own way. You know me, though; I like to find the more unique aspects of things to appreciate. So here are a few fun things about my job that I think are pretty dang awesome:
- My students love being sent on errands to the office or to other classrooms. (This meme pretty much sums it up.) I remember this was a coveted privilege when I was an elementary student, so it’s good to see that things haven’t changed too much.
- Showing them movies (educational or not) on my SMART Board makes me “the coolest teacher ever.”
- I love stickers. Stickers make everything more awesome. Scratch and sniff ones are the best, without a doubt. According to my students this year, the bubble gum ones are pretty realistic in terms of scent. The bacon-scented ones have received rave reviews, as well.
- If you happened to read my previous post, then you know how much I love reading and books. So in my bookworm opinion, one of the coolest things about being a teacher is doing Scholastic book orders. The word nerd in me gets excited when students order books; it usually means that my impressive classroom library will be getting a couple of free books from the Scholastic company as a result. I also get bonus points when they purchase books and guess what I use them toward? More books and yes, more stickers!
- If the weather is nice, sometimes I’ll take my students outside to do a lesson. The change of scenery energizes them and makes them feel like they’ve earned some special privilege. Just the other day, we sat outside at our picnic tables and did a geography lesson on Africa and Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Once in a while, on a Friday when the dress code is a bit more relaxed and I can wear athletic shoes, I will play soccer with my class during their Fun Friday PE time. They don’t quite know what to make of it. They want to see if I’m any good, but they’re also protective of me.
- Maybe once or twice a year, I allow my students take off their shoes in the classroom. Such a simple thing, but it works. I’m not sure if there’s any science behind it, but they seem to relax and concentrate better without shoes. If it also makes me “the best teacher ever,” then so be it.
So, although there are plenty of ups and downs, I don’t plan on changing my career anytime soon. There’s just too much fun to be had, learning to be done, and cool stickers to be given out. Adventure awaits.
As always, thanks for stopping by. ❤