Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 13, 2006

Teachers are some of the most underappreciated people on the planet. I say this in particular gratitude for the extra effort put forth yesterday on my behalf by two separate teachers.

Mark had a soccer game yesterday that started at 5:30. It finished at approximately 6:45. There was an open house at school from 6-7. The soccer game was "away" (next town over, but still away). By the time we finished the game and got headed home, we had about five minutes to get to the open house before it closed. I was of a mind to skip it, since I already know both teachers and on Thursday I'm going to Kira's classroom for our Brownie meeting. But Kira put on the waterworks that she wanted to go *tonight* because they put out all this extra work and she was afraid (despite my repeated assurances) that she wouldn't be allowed to show it to me on Thursday, etc etc. So I decided to make a Herculean effort to go.

We got there at a couple minutes after 7. There were still some parents there, but they were heading out. I ran into Mark's teacher (who also had a son at the soccer game) and asked if she would be around for a couple more minutes. She was completely calm and told me to take my time, she'd wait. So we hurried down to Kira's class, where Kira proceeded to show me every letter she has practiced in the last two weeks.....s-l-o-w-l-y. I rather rushed her, but it was still almost quarter past by the time we got out of her class. Her teacher was incredibly patient, and also told Kira that she could show me her journal on Thursday (which Kira remembered just as we were leaving, and was getting ready to go back in the room).

So then we zipped over to the sixth grade classroom (which, by the way, is literally at the other end of the building. The first and sixth grade classes are the absolute farthest away from each other of any two rooms in the school. Of course.). Bless her heart, the teacher was still there. (we were, by the way, at that point the last family in the building. And all the other classrooms were dark, the teachers had escaped.) She was very, VERY patient while Mark geeked out and started showing me a billion things that I was very capable of observing on my own ("These are our books" as he points at *gasp* a bookcase full of textbooks, followed by "this is the 'Boredom Not Allowed' sign" as he points to a sign that reads exactly that.) I did actually get to talk to the teacher for a couple of minutes, clear up a question I had from the class website. Then I herded the kids out the door, after making sure that Mark thanked his teacher for staying late for us.

We got back to the car, it was 7:30, the school was dark, the parking lot was empty except for our car, the custodian's car, and the teacher's truck. I explained to the kids exactly what kind of extra effort that required from the teachers. That the teachers had already spent all day here. Had possibly not gone home after school to make sure their classrooms were ready for the open house. That in the sixth grade teacher's case, she also had a kid who had just played a soccer game, and was waiting for his mom to get home so he could tell her about it. That she probably hadn't had dinner, and likely sat in her room for an hour so that two or three parents could show up. (open house is really not a big deal for kids when they get to that level) And along come mk, Mark & Kira, and ask them to stay even longer.

Teachers spend a lot of hours at the school, more hours at home doing prep work for lessons, correcting papers, compiling grades (I remember my dad having to do quarterly grades when I was little and he was still teaching, before he became a principal. He *hated* doing grades.). A lot of their classroom extras come out of their own pockets. Yes, they do get an incredible amount of vacation time. But when they're working, they are WORKING. They have to deal with cranky parents, often recalcitrant kids, sometimes restricting state-directed curriculum (sometimes STUPID state-directed curriculum), etc etc. And yet they do it. With enthusiasm, smiles, and encouragement for their students.

I know that *I* would not make a good teacher. I haven't the patience for it. I feel very blessed that my children are in a school filled with GREAT teachers.

Yay teachers. I think you people are incredible.

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