First Day of School: An Ode to Teachers

First day of school. Granted, it's only for the new students in a classroom (which for us means anyone who transferred into the school as well as anyone who moved up a level--ie. 1st graders and 4th graders). That was about half our class, though. The day is meant to help introduce those students to the classroom and how it works.

The teacher I work with got stuck in California, however. She was there for a family funeral and was to be back last night. But a flight delay led to her not being back today. We were busy last week with workshops and getting the classroom ready that we didn't have much time to talk about what today was going to look like. It's a new classroom for me, and a new level (E1 as compared to E2 in Montessori-speak). It's all new. And I knew very little.

Thankfully the Assistant Director filled in for the teacher. It was good because she knows some of the challenges we'll be facing this year. There are a lot of great children in the class and I'm looking forward to seeing them grow this coming year. But there will be some challenges.

Did I mention yet that it was almost 100 degrees and the building does not have air conditioning? And because Minneapolis Public Schools declared that their children were not to go outside today, that meant we couldn't walk over to the nearby city park for recess. The one with the wading pool.

After supper I went for a swim. No one else wanted to go (the boys had already played in the yard with the slip-n-slide with some neighbor kids), and normally I wouldn't go by myself, but I needed to cool off and get some exercise. I ran into a friend's mom, so we treaded water (okay, spell check is telling me "treaded" isn't a word--do I go with "trod" or simply "tread"? Oh, the things that get to an English major) and chatted for a while. It was refreshing. So was the cold shower to rinse off the lake smell when I got home.

Tomorrow will be interesting. First day with all students. Hopefully the teacher is back, but I'm afraid we didn't get today's students prepared very well. And it'll be nearly 100 again.

The children seemed to have a good day today, at least. Not that it was bad. Just a little challenging at times.

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My mother was a teacher when I was little (she still is!). My first teacher, in fact. When she started, she wasn't full time. She devoted time to raising a family, but also to the children she taught. We spent a lot of time after school while mom was putting in extra time for her class.

She wasn't alone. Many teachers were there well after they were contractually obligated to be. The usually came in before they were supposed to start school at the end of summer (though maybe didn't stay past the last contractual day at the beginning of summer! Everyone needs a break at that point).

If you're friends with any teachers on facebook you've probably seen those post that talk about if a teacher was paid at the same rate as a babysitter (it would actually be a lucrative profession!) or about how many hours they put into each day.

For entrusting our children (and the future) with education with books as well as life, teachers don't receive what they deserve (neither do parents, of course, but that's a different blog post). For eight hours a day, nine months of the year they pour their time, talent, and often their own personal money into our children. They often put up with a lot of crap that they shouldn't have to--often from parents. This of course is not just the licensed teachers, but assistants, paraprofessionals, administrators, office staff, kitchen staff, janitorial staff, etc. I'm not just saying this because I work at a school. Well, I guess I am. But not because I want recognition.

We, as a society, need to give less recognition to politicians, athletes, and rock stars, and give more respect to those with whom we entrust our children's lives. So hang in there, teachers--even on these super hot days--and know that what you do is worth it.

Hopefully, you'll be told that more and more.

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