"and the best thing you've ever done for me

"The best thing you've ever done for me, is to help me take my life less seriously - It's only life after all"

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Teachers are part-time people

Anyone out there read the Sunday comics? I don't always, but I caught them last Sunday. In "Baby Blues," the youngest child is hiding from his teacher - who he has spied in the mall. His mom and sister try to explain to him that teachers actually leave their houses and go places when school isn't in --- the ending punch line has the boy saying, "So teachers are part-time people?"

(I wish I could scan in a pic of the comic, but I am not that tech savvy on this blog yet.)

Wow. What truth in that comic. I do love my job, but here are some things I have experienced over the last 16 years: going to a restaurant and having the server sit down with me at the table to talk to me for a minimum of 20 mins(even though my family was right there having a meal), having a student find and call your home phone number, having students email me questions about papers at all hours, having to have a kid I teach ring up personal items at the store (pregnancy tests, tampons, etc,) - and the list could go on. There is no anonymity in this job - and I am sure that teaching HIGH SCHOOL makes that even truer. I do love my job, though.

And even on bed rest I am still facing the role of being a "part time person." I guess I should not read or respond to these, but I am still getting emails from my students. And not emails where they say, "hope you are doing ok." More like, "where are my papers you were supposed to grade?" "how do I do this assignment?" "when will you be back at school?" And I am still doing lesson plans and grading papers. Again, I still love my job.

The thing about teaching as a career is that it isn't just a career. It is a life, an identity, a force sometimes so big you can't figure it all out. And it would be nice if there were a real vacation from it, but I am not sure such an animal exists. Sure, we get those summer breaks and the winter breaks and etc. that everyone always writes about (and begrudges us), but we are never "not a teacher." In the heart of your summer break, there will always be a kid or parent to run into, and there might even be a phone call from the school about your schedule. It is the job and life I love, but sometimes I wish I could be a full-time person.

1 comment:

Aleta said...

I always tease my Mom (she teaches 5th grade) that we can't take her anywhere without her being recognized by a former/current student/parent. She made the mistake - once - of not dressing up, make up, etc and she saw 3 former students that day. Since then, she always makes sure to leave the house looking nice. Lol. Teachers are akin to movie stars in that sense.

I don't see it as being part-time, but I understand it. I think of all the lives Mom has taught - I think it's pretty amazing.