I love teaching. I really do. With the nature of my job, I end up putting in so much time, energy and money into my classroom that it gets exhausting. I laugh when people give me a hard time about having summers off. If they only realized how many hours I put into the school year, and what my salary is compared to those hours, they would never mock me again. However, I do love it.
I love teaching the middle school. It is fun and it only requires one prep…. as all three middle school classes are on the same schedule. However, I get exhausted when I think about teaching my elementary grades: 5 grades, 3 classes each, an average of 26 kids per class. Having a different prep for each grade is hard and taxing and really takes my energy.
This summer I was contimplating my job and the pros and cons of it. The elementary wears me out. So often I wish that I was teaching a middle school only schedule. Then, there comes the fact that what I do, really goes without notice. I put blood, sweat and tears into teaching these kiddos fun activities, but students don’t remember, parents don’t really care and assignments and projects that we do get thrown away. It gets discouraging.
Then, on Thursday, I had an experience that makes it a little bit easier.
I was at the office at Meet the Teacher night and one of the little ones walked up to me and was asking me questions about the uniforms. He is from Indian decent and has a thick accent. I think it took his mom by surprise as her son obviously knew who I was, but she didn’t. He told her that I was his Spanish teacher.
The mom’s eyes popped with surprise and she went on to tell me how excited that she was that he was learning Spanish. She told me that she speaks 6 Indian dialects and that her son speaks Hindi and English. She was thrilled that he was learning a world language.
She went on to tell me that she had no idea that he was taking Spanish in school and that it was one of his classes. Over the summer though, they were having some remodeling done on their home and he went to go watch the construction crew work. As one of them was leaving he asked the mom who in the house was teaching the boy Spanish. She was shocked and he went on to explain that he was talking to them, fairly decently in Spanish and they were impressed.
She thanks me and told me that if I ever needed any help in the classroom…. as long as it didn’t require her needing to know Spanish, that she was happy to come it.
It made my day. It helped me realize that although not everyone appreciates, understands or is remotely concerned with what I do, there are some, to whom it does matter and who see it valuable. I felt feeling very uplifted and validated. It made a huge difference in my motivation to start this upcoming school year.