It was recently Teachers’ Day, and it allowed me to reflect on this incredible profession. (Sure, we can all talk about that one teacher who maybe picked the wrong career, but they are few and far between). I have had a lot of different perspectives on teachers. As a long-term student; after finishing high school, I went on and did three degrees – primarily because of the love of learning that teachers instilled in me (OK, admittedly also the student lifestyle) As a mom of six kids, I have encountered countless inspiring teachers. I’ve learned so many ins and outs of working with them to ensure a positive experience for my kids.
Most importantly, I was raised by two teachers. My Dad was a high school teacher in a rough end of town, and my mom specialized in teaching kids living with disabilities and were also often medically fragile. It was an interesting experience being raised as the child of teachers – I got an inside peek of how hard they worked.
All this experience gave me a well-rounded understanding of the profession. One thing is for sure, the physical, mental, and emotional struggles teachers deal with are often far beyond what people often imagine.
People always talk about how teachers have good hours, lavish pensions, and wonderful summer holidays. As a kid, we often enjoyed having family dinner together, but they also did a lot of coaching and teaching of summer school. My parents were marking papers and doing report cards late into the night. They also carried the emotional load of their students – who had disabilities or less than perfect home lives. These worries kept them up at night. The stresses of their students and their families weighed heavily on my parents. Teaching is NOT a glamourous career, and if you are not passionate and committed to students, it’s a career that can put you over the edge. Teaching is not a “backup” career if something “better” does not turn up for you. If you don’t love teaching, it will kill you.
Over the last two years, teachers have carried another load – trying to wrangle kids doing online learning, often while wrangling their own kids doing online learning. And even being back in the class, teachers are often teaching in a blended learning model where they teach online and in-person simultaneously. It’s a lot to handle, and if there is one thing I know about teachers, it is that they strive to have all kids succeed and really beat themselves up if anyone falls behind. With new learning models and constant changes being thrown at them, it’s quite the burden to carry.
I have written before about how parents can best be partners in education with their children’s teachers. This is so important because we’re all working towards a common goal for our kids. It’s important to read. Partnering with teachers, supporting them, and working as a team is the best thing we can do for our children. Make sure you are on the same team. Try to be empathetic and understand that they are dealing with more than you will ever know.
So, this Teachers’ Day, I want to thank all the teachers out there who are doing the work with my children that I am not qualified to do. I don’t know what I’d do without you.