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A New Appreciation

A New Appreciation– a teacher’s perspective on the job, the mission, and the love

By Sarah Myers

 

Today marks the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week across America. Here at Trinity, the mutual admiration we share as a faculty and the love we’ve received from our students and parents is palpable. It’s been a challenging year for so many reasons, for all of us.

I received this anonymous reflection — you know the kind, the ones that pop up in your email and news feed just when you need them the most– and it moved me to share it with my colleagues.   We are now down to a mere four weeks left of the school year at Trinity, and whether we’re going out with a bang or a whimper, we are all committed to preparing and caring for our students until the very end.  These perspectives are powerful! I wish I knew the author, but in a way, I feel like we all do:

 

The hallway is quiet. The teacher unlocks her classroom door and thinks to herself…

7 more weeks. I can do this. I can! There is so much left to get to. I’m going to have to make every minute count. No days “off”. I’m going to have to use every second to make sure those kids are ready for the next grade. I don’t want them going on with holes in their understanding. Wow…I’ve got so much to do in only seven weeks, and some of that will be interrupted by meetings, PD, testing, and a mountain of end-of-year paperwork. Can I really do this, and do it right? I can do this. Okay. 7 more weeks…

 

Down the hall, another teacher sits at her desk and gazes around her classroom. She thinks to herself…

7 more weeks. 25 years of being an educator, and now it all comes down to 7 more weeks. This room has held my career within its walls. It’s seen the tears, the frustration, the laughter, the wonder, and the joy. It’s been a stage for miracles. That one boy—wow–I thought he’d never start reading, and then, boom! One day, the light came on and he was reading everything he could get his hands on! And then, I taught his son years later, and Jenny’s boy, too. I wonder if those kids remember me? I wonder if they know how much I loved teaching them? How they helped me, REALLY helped me,  through that year when my life was upside down? I’m tired. I’m ready for retirement, but goodness–I will miss this room. These kids. I will miss standing at my door and getting hugs and good morning smiles each day. I’ve done it for 25 years, and now I have just 7 more weeks…

 

Next door, another teacher turns on her computers and sighs to herself…

7 more weeks. If I can just get through the next 7 weeks, I will be free of this place, at least for the summer. Free of the pressure. Free of the frustration of giving, giving, giving and seeing nothing gained. I wonder if that one had her medicine before she got on the bus this morning? Because there is no way I can fight through 7 more weeks of her all day long. I need some help. I’m so burnt-out. Let’s see…I’ve covered all of my standards, so I’m going to coast through these next weeks and make them go as fast as I can… ugh, 7 more weeks.

 

Across the hall, a teacher thinks to herself as she posts the day’s assignment…

 

7 more weeks. I’m going to miss these kiddos. All of them. Yes…all of them! I hope I’ve done what they need every day. I hope I’ve shown them how much I love them! I hope that this one ate dinner last night, or he’s going to be starving this morning. I’ll need to make sure he eats breakfast either way. I hope that this one got some shoes that didn’t have a hole on the top. Shoot! I should have gotten her some while we were on break…why didn’t I remember that? Well, I still have 7 weeks to help these kids. I can do a lot in 7 weeks…

 

And on the bus, a child solemnly stares out the window and thinks…

7 more weeks. That’s all I get. Only 7 more weeks to call that teacher mine. I only get 7 more weeks to see her smiling at me, to tell her about my days at home, to smell her lotion. I only get 7 more weeks to get some good food for lunch and breakfast, for her to give me a snack. I’m glad she doesn’t get mad at me for not having a snack. I only get 7 more weeks to listen to her read stories. I like her voice. It’s never too loud or too mean. I only get to listen to her for 7 more weeks. I wish we could come to school every day, even on the weekends. Even in the summer. And I wish she could be my teacher all the time. But that’s not how it works. I get 7 more weeks. That’s not very long…

 

There are a lot of ways for us to look at our last four weeks. I know we’ll all make it count.

Sarah Myers is a faculty and family member at Trinity Lutheran School. A mom of three, she teaches Spanish and World Geography and also serves as the 8th grade class moderator.

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