The year is almost over. There is an air of terrified anticipation. On the one hand, both you and your child’s teacher are excited about summer. You are delighted by a slight loosening of the rigors of a daily schedule. On the other hand, the days span out ahead of you and you can’t help but feel a bit like a cross between a cruise director and a prison guard.
But for today, there are still a few more days of school. And there are even more days left for your child’s teacher.
So here are just a few things I want you to think about as you complain at pick up about the fact that your second grader had a double feature movie day today.
- Everyone is OVER this year. If you live anywhere where there was snow this past winter, chances are your school year got extended. In the Northeast our school year got extended by a FULL WEEK! I can tell you from personal experience that your children are beginning to act like rabid monkeys by the afternoon. I just wrapped up a five session Junior Achievement class. By session 5, I could hardly get the kids to look at me much less follow along on a lyric sheet and sing a song that required repeating a chorus five times. THEY ARE DONE, AND SO IS THE TEACHER.
- There is a good chance that the teacher is also a mom. As done as you are with this school year, as exhausted as you are with lunches and backpacks and all the year-end parties and concerts and the ABC countdown racket, she is overwhelmed times at least TWO.
- The teacher is a HUMAN BEING. She is not perfect, nor is she a robot. The school is hot. The kids are wild. She knows that she has a scant ZERO days off until her summer gig as a camp counselor starts because she needs the extra income. Be a little gracious. Try to remember that she is tired and overworked and has a headache from all the sweaty children shrieking across the room.
- She is a strange mixture of happy/sad right now. There are probably some kids that she cannot wait to never have in the classroom again. But there are some that she has become extremely close to. So as excited as she is to have it all be ending, she has some very strong emotions that are hard to deal with. So, have a heart.
- There might be a lot of uncertainty for her future. Demands of growing or contracting populations and funding issues may make it so that she does not know what grade she will be teaching next year, or even if she will have a job next year. Have you ever felt that way? Imagine if every year your boss told you that you were going to have to learn a whole new way of doing your job and that you would be judged as if you have been doing it for the last ten years with a set of metrics that you have very little control over. You would not like that one bit. And yet she still shows up day after day, week after week. And, come August, when she finds out that she must move classrooms again, learn a new curriculum, and get to understand the idiosyncrasies of a whole new age range, she will do it because she is here to make your child’s life better in more ways that you will ever fully appreciate.
I can’t find enough ways to express to my kids’ teachers how much I appreciate what they do not just for my kids, but for our communities and our well-being as a society. I hope you can find a way to see that and act accordingly.
Kelly is a mom, friend, wife, daughter, sister, neighbor, writer, movie freak and a reader. She fancies herself a parental outlier in that she is an anti-helicopter, free range, hold-on- loosely kind of mom. She promises to be honest. And make you laugh. And think. And learn. And find more ways to revel in this journey of motherhood and personhood.