Teachers have it easy. Isn't that all we hear on the news these days?
Here's one example of how teachers don't have it easy. The picture above shows how my classroom looked when I came back from vacation. The custodians "cleaned" the room, which apparently including "shampooing" the carpet, and couldn't be bothered putting the desks and chairs back where they were. It's not a very welcoming way of getting back into the swing of things, but this is the way my classroom looks at the start of every year.
How many people working in office buildings and banks have to move furniture before they can do their jobs? I am guessing very few.
Even with my classroom being at sixes and sevens, the start of a new school year is an exciting (and exhausting) time. I already have 31 cherubs assigned to me, with the promise of more to come.
Glancing at my class roster, I see that I have my work cut out for me again this year. Four of my students don't speak English. Three are on IEPs and have special needs. Three are behavior problems and come with warning notes from their last teacher. There is also a note about a mom I'll be dealing with who is less than polite. There is a child switched into my room because his mom doesn't get along with a mom of a kid in another 4th grade classroom (no joke). There are three kiddos who are dealing with their parents getting divorced.
I decide to worry about all of that when I see their faces and get to know all of them in person and start to piece my classroom together.
I put up a new writing bulletin board and wonder if the kids will be able to write at all when I get them. Of course, they are supposed to come to me able to write a perfect paragraph, so that I can teach them to write multi-paragraph essays. More often than not, they come to me needing help writing a decent sentence. "They'll come along", I tell myself. They always do. I feel better for a moment before realizing that 15 days into the school year, I am forced to give them a HUGE writing assessment that tests their ability to respond to a prompt by writing a multi-paragraph essay. It won't be pretty. "They'll come along", I tell myself again, this time out loud.
I put up another new bulletin board where I will let the kiddos select and display work they are proud of. I look forward to celebrating with them and seeing the growth they make. But, that takes time. And, sometimes, blood, sweat, and tears, from me and from them. And from their parents, if they are lucky enough to have parents who value their education. Many don't.
I start to get stressed, but then I remember what I heard on the news recently: teachers have it easy.
To read about the end of my school year, click here: