You know you’re a teacher when…

I sat down to write this on my couch, with a much needed alcoholic beverage in hand, and it occurred to me- You know you’re a teacher when at 9 on a Friday, you are writing about teaching and getting ready for bed.

I said it in my last post- it has been an incredibly difficult week. One of the hardest of my professional career. I love my class, but there are a lot of needs and challenges. My colleagues tell me I have one of the most difficult classes they’ve ever seen.

I started this blog to write the funny stuff. The hilarity. But to be completely honest, my job is not always laughter. This week i sat in my car and cried for a good ten minutes after my ten or more hour day ended.

I am drained. I am exhausted.

I love these tiny people. I love them more than it is probably safe or healthy to love 24 small humans who are not your own children. I can’t help it.

You know you are a teacher when you love too much. When you stretch yourself so thin that you cut out your own sleep, and meals, and relaxation to help them out. Whether to make them smile when their lives are falling apart, or to help them do a task they think is impossible, or to see them in a game or play they are so nervous of.

You know you are a teacher when you come home and immediately need to cry on your spouse or partners shoulder. (And you know you have found a keeper when that person listens to you, rubs your back, and tells you that you’re amazing.)

When you have to lie down at 7:30 after getting home at 6. When you are asleep by 8:30. When you sneak naps on the beanbags while the kids are at art.

You know you’re a teacher when you want to yell “If you can hear my voice, clap once!” in chaotic, noisy situations.

When you sing the alphabet, and your times tables. When you know everything there is to know about dinosaurs, and planets, and the revolutionary war, and birds of prey, and pilgrims.

When you stay late every Friday to play video games with a kid as a reward for good behavior, and because you know he needs someone to talk to. When you give up your lunch to talk about friendship problems. When you give up your prep time to console a crying child. When you sit bolt upright at 3 a.m. thinking “Aha!” about a lesson, a problem, a child you couldn’t puzzle out.

When you have to remind yourself to take time to eat during the day, even if during your non-work life you are the type of person to waste money on fancy deli meats, or go out of your way to find the perfect burrito, or eat a sandwich between meals as a filler.

You know you are a teacher when you overhear kids in grocery stores or restaurants or the subway talking in that weird code of inside jokes and pop culture, and you not only understand it all, but laugh out loud, and the other adults nearby think you’re crazy.

You know you are a teacher when you sit on your couch, much needed second (third? fourth?) alcoholic beverage in hand, writing these things down, wondering how you became a person that cared this much.

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6 responses to “You know you’re a teacher when…

  1. I agree and miss it so much when I read your posts. I can tell you are very passionate about teaching, keep up the good work and remember to take some time out so you can keep giving.

  2. You also know you are a teacher when you go through a tragedy, a death in the family, or like my recent miscarriage and those little children you love so dearly all year, invest in, cry over, and occasionally scream at, get to turn around and love you back. It all seems worth it to me when the hard times hit my personal life and I am surrounded by little people who give me constant hugs, tell me they love me, and make me cards and signs.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad your students were there for you. One of the worst times in my life, my students were the only bright spot, and really helped me through a dark time without even realizing it.

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