Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just a Teacher

I was at a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and I was talking to a gentleman that was a banker. He was from the old neighborhood, Maryvale. He said he was thinking about changing his career. He wanted to help others!

Wow! He wants to go back to the old neighborhood, work with the community, become a math teacher!

Then he said,"Yea, I want to help others. I am going to become an investment banker."

Investment banking helps others?

And then "the question" came. The question I really don't like to answer. "What do you do?"

I put a broad smile on my face and I answered with enthusiasm, "Me? I am a teacher!" And it felt like the entire room went silent and everyone looked at me as if I had just said, "Me? . . . . . I transport nuclear waste. . . . . I was in your neighborhood . . . . and I lost something from my truck."

And the gentleman looked at me along with everyone else in the room and said, "Oh, you're just a teacher."

I hate answering "that question". It is not because I am ashamed of what I do. I am very proud of what I do. Many times too proud. But, whenever I answer, "I am a teacher," I have to listen to every bad teacher story there is in the room. Whenever someone tells me, "I am a banker, CEO, or tow truck driver," I don't tell them about the bad bankers, CEOs, or tow truck drivers I have come across, and I have come across many.

I know there are bad teachers, really I do know, but there are many more good teachers than there are bad teachers. I truly don't believe that bad teachers go into teaching thinking, "I am just going to do what I need to do to get by because I don't care about children. I am only here because I get summers off"

I once had someone say to me, "Why would you be stressed? You're just a teacher. You only work 8 to 3, 175 days a year." Man, you're lucky I am crippled because if I wasn't, I would stand up right now and knock you out. "You're right. Why should I be stressed?" In thirty one years of teaching I have only worked 8 to 3 on the weekends or during my summer jobs. During the school year I work at least 10 hours a day, and that doesn't include all the work I do in the evening at home.

Just a teacher . . . Teachers:

  • leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark
  • work at home grading, planning, etc. (this does not include their mom or dad duties)
  • work for free doing parent-teacher conferences, meet the teacher nights, math nights, literacy nights, read-to-me nights, school carnivals, community clean-ups, science fairs, curriculum nights, book parades, and pep rallies just to name a few
  • can collect field trip money, t-shirt money, homework, make-up work, notes from home, and have it counted, checked off, organized and put away in the first five minutes of the day
  • can eat a seven course meal in seven minutes
  • take a thirty minute lunch everyday (if that much)
  • never get to go to lunch
  • eat their lunch with children
  • eat their breakfast with children
  • spend thousands of dollars every year for their class and can only deduct $250 a year
  • deserve Oscars for keeping the attention of children 7 hours a day
  • never sit down
  • are always exposed to germs
  • are substitute mothers
  • know more about some students than they want
  • wish they could take many of their students home
  • have to prove that they are highly qualified every year
  • know their jobs are the first to be cut in a budget crisis
  • are expected to have ALL students at grade level
  • teach before school, during school, and after school
  • are accountants
  • are janitors
  • are counselors
  • are plumbers
  • are organizers
  • are behavior management specialists
  • are mechanics
  • have to wait forever to go to the bathroom
I AM just a teacher. I wouldn't be anything else. Go ahead, tell me your bad teacher stories, but just be ready for me to respond.

Paco's Perspective

I AM just a chihuahua. If you ever need anyone to lick the inside of your ears, just give me a call.

The Flip Side

I AM just a . . . . . . . what am I? A mutt?!


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