It’s the student who doesn’t get it, but should.
From Kid Snippets.
It’s the student who doesn’t get it, but should.
From Kid Snippets.
Teaching is hard work.
People who haven’t taught probably don’t believe me, but it’s true.
It’s just a different kind of tired.
Not like being a coal miner tired. Or dentist tired (actually, being a dentist is just creepy… sticking your hands in people’s mouths all day… the horror). Or even road construction stop sign holder in 127 degree weather tired.
But it’s hard work.
This is especially true during the beginning of school.
It’s because they’re not in teaching shape.
Their voices are gone, their legs are tired, and they have blisters from grading papers.
It is harder than it looks to stand up in front of crazy-eyed jumpy children and teach Chapter 1.
You can’t take 3 months off in the summer and expect to be on top of your game the very first week.
But in time it comes back.
The teacher voice returns.
Their legs get stronger.
The blisters heal.
Then they are ready for the year ahead.
While the first week can be exhausting, it’s worth it.
And it certainly beats working for a living.
How I got there is a little more complicated.
This spring, the 2009 crop of high school seniors will graduate (barring any last minute mistakes on their part… and I am watching). As educators we want these students to have a plan.
An exact detailed step by step plan of what they are going to do with their lives from this point forward.
From my experience most 18 year olds don’t think any farther ahead than approximately 4 minutes into the future (of course 4 minutes is an average, boys would be less… much much less… and as someone who has a daughter, this is a bit frightening).
Teachers (as do I) are always asking students what they are going to do with their lives once they graduate.
College, military, or get a job. 3 choices.
As educators, we seem to prefer they pick college. I assume that’s because college is the path we took (I am also aware of what happens when you assume).
We want them to choose from these 3 choices and stick with it. For the next 50 years.
I am not sure of the logic behind this because most of us had no idea what we wanted to do when we were 18 (17 in my case… which was way too young to be making any decisions not involving cheeseburgers, sports, or a Def Leppard concert).
I often wonder if we have unrealistic expectations for graduating seniors. After all, most will change their minds in the first 6 months after they leave high school.
Sometimes, I think they just give us the answer we want to hear regarding their future plans.
As I stumble through life I think about this as I meet people.
Did the guy at the gas station always have the dream to sell me PowerAde and donuts?
Is the lady at the dry cleaners living out her lifelong goal of ironing shirts for 9 hours a day?
How long has the UPS driver who delivers to my house wanted to drive a truck and wear an ugly brown uniform (although wearing shorts to work in the summer is a pretty nice benefit)?
I point out these examples not to take anything away from them. All of these people seem both happy and nice (goals that we should all have).
They are everyday people who do every day jobs. Obviously, by our way of thinking they must not have had a specific plan when they were seniors in high school.
And that’s okay.
They are good people who have jobs. More importantly they are good citizens who are making society better, not worse.
We all interact with people who probably aren’t pursuing their high school dream job.
In fact, I am one of them.
My plan wasn’t to be a school administrator who writes semi-coherent blogs.
Yes, I know you are shocked. Please take a moment a compose yourself.
My plan when I was a high school senior was… actually, I didn’t have a plan. But I told the people who asked that I did.
My goal, up to that point, was to play major league baseball. It turned out I wasn’t good enough. Who knew (other than the college and professional scouts)?
That is how I ended up going to college and getting a business degree. Why college and a business degree? I have no idea.
Like most teenagers I just picked something so adults would stop asking me.
Plus, it was the mid 80’s and Michael Douglas seemed really cool in the movie Wall Street.
The good news…I graduated. The bad news…after 4 years of college I was again getting asked what I wanted to do with my life.
I remember thinking that I just went through this whole “pick a career” thing a few years earlier. What a vicious circle.
So I took jobs that in which I didn’t really have any interest (when I could find them). Then I woke up when I was 26 and got really lucky.
I knew how to throw a curveball (evidently, just not a good one).
Actually, I had known how to throw a curveball since I was 12, but it took awhile for this skill to become useful.
My curveball wasn’t good enough to get me into the majors, but it did get me a job as an assistant junior high baseball coach.
One of my old coaches needed help and I knew how to throw a curveball.
After a few practices, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I liked kids, school, sports, coaches, and summers off.
If you count 26 years as not long.
So I went back to college with an actual plan. And when I told people what I wanted to do with my life I actually meant it.
And that’s how I became a teacher.
Which has led to everything else.
I wish I could have told my high school teachers this story when I was a senior. My life plan is going to be based on the skills I learned in Little League.
And that will eventually lead to me writing a blog about education.
From now on, I may just tell high school seniors that life has a funny way of just working out.
**Note from wife…I got pretty lucky too. You see he was graduating college with that business degree when I was in 8th grade. Obviously that would have been an awkward romantic relationship. When PrincipalsPage decided to return to college I was a sophomore who just so happened to be in the same history class. The rest really is history!
Why are the graves always shallow? Why don’t people put a little extra effort into the job and do it right the first time?
But, I digress and possibly frighten. I need to quickly change the subject before someone calls the authorities.
There is one thing that always strikes me as odd when people leave comments on the supposed humor in this blog. The fact of the matter is that I am probably the least funny person at my own dinner table.
My daughter has a very good sense of humor. In particular, the continued state of disaster of her room is a riot (if I don’t laugh, I would cry). We still can’t find her bed.
It was somewhere toward the middle of her room the last time we saw it.
We used to have a dog. I think he is somewhere near her bed, but I am not sure. I assume he will come out when he gets hungry (he might be better off crawling out the window and coming in through the front door- I don’t think he has the strength to climb over all the clothes and stuffed animals). At this point, he may have simply given up.
The funniest person in the family is my wife. I am hesitant to admit this because I have spent 14 years trying not to acknowledge this fact. I don’t want her head to swell.
I have done this because when she tells a funny story, she cracks herself up. I mean she really cracks herself up. Before she can even get to the punch line, she is rolling on the floor. It is funny and a little tragic. Mostly funny. Sometimes I fear she may have an accident (if you have been pregnant you probably know where I am going with this).
She is presently a 4th grade teacher and that can be a big job. And sometimes a funny one.
Last week she came home and said there was a new student in her class. His name is Jesus (hey’zues).
He was getting along just fine with his new classmates and studies, but he had forgotten to write on the SmartBoard if he was eating school lunch or not.
That was quickly rectified when another student announced in their loudest voice that Jesus (gee’sus) was not eating today.
I wish Gee’Sus went to my school. That would look very impressive on the school website.
One of her funniest stories about school involves her sexuality.
She came home after school one day and stated that there was a possibility that her students now knew our marriage was a shame.
I mentioned that I thought we had agreed to keep this a secret.
She stated that I was an idiot. But back to the story.
At the time she was teaching 6th grade in a much larger school district.
On that day she was having some difficulty with a young man. She had to get on him several times during the morning and she could tell that he wasn’t happy with the situation.
She thought that he would get over it in short order, especially since they were about to take a break and head to PE class. Sometimes young men just need a break from the women in their life (for the record, marriage is nothing like that).
When it was time to dismiss the kids so they could get to PE, she realized that she had forgotten to run off some papers so she needed to head down the hall to the office.
The kids were going down this same hallway and she ended up following them. The young man in question did not realize this.
As they were all going down the hallway, he turned to his buddy and said, “She is a mean lesbian.”
Since my wife overheard this, she had no choice but to respond. So she tapped him on the shoulder.
She said “I can assure you that I am not mean.”
The young man stood in total silence as he attempted to comprehend the fact that his teacher may have just acknowledged she is gay (not that there is anything wrong with that).
This is why she is the funny one.
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