Sitting at the table droning over math problems on mini whiteboards my mind wandered in a million directions. Have I completed the intervention forms necessary for my students? How can I help Sly improve his behavior when he just experienced the death of a parent? Don’t forget to check out chapter books for higher readers. Email Worrier’s parent about attendance. Check in with Lyla’s mom about her testing request. Turn in the lunch count from the field trip that should have already been taken care of. Clean. Organize. Document behavior about our New Friend. Prepare new center activities. Don’t forget to study for yet another praxis I have to take. Start inputing student behavior data each day after school. Watch for students meeting their own individual goals so I can mark them at the end of the day. Track down someone in the social workers office to discuss concerns about a student’s home life.
And the list goes on. In the midst of this two of my students are arguing at the computers. Another student is distracting others at his independent center. I turn to my side and one of them is patiently waiting for me to check off a center for completion. I look across the room and see two of my students showing me the letter “t” in sign language and waving it back and forth accompanied by the potty dance. All the while I have 5 eager learners in front of me waiting for their next math problem. I want to be able to just focus on teaching, but some days it is nearly impossible. It is almost like I teach in a drone-like state, as my mind paces back and forth, racing over all of the ins and outs of my job that I have yet to complete. It is easy to feel burnt out.
Then I read an article the other day about teachers and that we don’t deserve to be paid better because we are basically paid to babysit all day. This lit a fire underneath me. The author indicated we should be considered glorified babysitters. Are you kidding me? If I was a glorified babysitter your child might learn to cut and color in the lines, then we would take a break and watch a movie or color with chalk outside. As a glorified babysitter I would not feel nearly as responsible for their learning as I do carrying the title of “teacher” each day. My students in first grade have started reading chapter books, are learning how to apologize and shake hands to make up, can work independently, are setting and working towards their own goals, can summarize the text they read, and are able to create win-win situations with their peers. Just to name a few.
Not to mention all the italicized thoughts mentioned at the beginning of this post, are just a few of those tasks us “babysitters” have to worry about. Whether you are a teacher or not remember a teacher that meant so much to you. Sure, not every teacher is like him or her. Not every educator is perfect. There are some that shouldn’t even be in the profession. But there are SO many that should. There are so many amazing educators that work late into the night and come in early in the mornings to be prepped for school days. They spend hours at home and on the weekend grading, preparing, and worrying over their “glorified babysitting job”. They spend hundreds of their own money buying supplies for their classroom. I was raised by one of them, and I am surrounded by so many each day as I walk through the halls.
If you are reading this, thank a teacher. Not because of my rant, but because you are able to read it in the first place.