Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Shout Out to the TEACHERS!!

WARNING:: I am feeling quite fiesty passionate today. 

So many of my blogger friends (and real life friends....yes, I DO have some of those too!) are teachers.  I LOVE to teach, and I have for as long as I can remember.  I played school on a weekly basis for the majority of my childhood....and boy did I have a nice classroom, with name tags on each desk, and pre-made worksheets (with an answer key and red pen for me), snack time, etc. 
I have to be honest though. I am SO sick and tired of teachers getting a bad rap. In the media. In society. In general.  If one more person says to me" You get paid summers off....what do you have to complain about?" I really might karate chop them in the throat.

Teaching is a calling. A gift. And a blessing. So many of our little lovelies do not get the lovin' and attention they need at home, so no doubt we have an awesome opportunity to share God's love and witness to them.  Teachers are role models, mentors, encouragers, nurses, counselors, coaches, etc. That list can certainly go on. Sometimes, we are the only Jesus those kids see; we are the only adult who "cares"...So, you see, we have a HUGE responsibility.  I teach approximately 150 students every nine weeks.  I learn all of their names the first day of the nine weeks, and call them by their name to let them know I respect them. I begin class with a "life lesson" at least once or twice a week. You'd be amazed at how attentive they are when I share those insights....they pay attention during my "life lessons" than when I show them how to create a career brochure in Publisher or how to save their work to the Z drive.
{My yearbook picture from last year...}
I guess everyone knows by now about the pay cuts and furlough days.  I know some people already think teachers are overpaid, but I think that's bullcrap. Teachers help RAISE our children. They give them the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in life, all while nurturing them and inspiring them.  Teachers motivate the unmotivated, encourage the discouraged, and love the unloved.  Don't get me wrong- I know there are some sorry, lazy teachers in this world. But for the most part, people join this profession for the right reasons- because they love the kids and want to shape their future and change lives.  It isn't exactly a glorified or respected position, and even with my 3 college degrees I am still making less than $50,000 a year.  Teachers TEACH all the doctors, lawyers, surgeons, architects, and professional athletes that really do make the big bucks. The people that our society deems as a respectable profession. Our whole society FUNCTIONS because of education- and education thrives because of teachers.

We do what we're told, and make the best of it.  And ya know what, friends? Teaching is a LOT tougher than the rest of the public knows.  It's not just showing up and giving out worksheets.
Want a brief overview of what we do? I'm more than obliged to tell ya....
We decorate our rooms in the summer. We plan units, and try to make them fun and interesting for the students, yet still align them to the standards. Yep, more NEW standards coming soon, and we'll align our assessments to those as well.  We create teacher pages. We search for new resources and fun activities. We plan lessons- write them out. We redo them to fit the needs of individual students (that's called differentiation). We adjust them.  We create common assessments.  We prepare students for standardized testing.  We grade student work. We write grades down in the grade book so we have a hard copy. Then we enter assignments into the online grade book. We stuff progress report and report card envelopes. We remind students a dozen times to bring them back to school signed by their parent.  We lend an understanding ear wen they can't do that because no one is home with them at night. We keep track of attendance, tardies, discipline. We assign homework. We attend meetings- faculty, professional learning, RTI meetings, etc. We go to workshops. We break up fights and deal with bullies.  We remind them to wash their hands after leaving the restroom and cover their mouth and nose when they are sick. We plan career fairs and field trips. We talk to parents- who are sometimes not very nice or supportive. We return e-mails and phone calls. We attend IEP meetings and parent conferences. We remind students to turn in their work. We learn every nine weeks, and remember them for the rest of the year so we can say "HEY ....." when we see them in the hallway. We celebrate their victories. Attend their sporting events, theater productions, and band performances. We chaperon school dances. We sponsor their clubs. We give them a hug when their dog dies. We create more assessments. We monitor their progress. We stay after school to grade papers and wipe down the desks with Clorox wipes. We spend our own money on supplies. We come to school when we are tired. Or sick. Or both. We dress up every day and greet our students at the door with a smile. We listen to the "drama" and remind them "this too shall pass." We comfort them when they get cut from a team. We document everything. We discipline when necessary. We do car rider duty and bus duty.  We teacher our kids more than just the standards- like character education, treating people with respect, the importance of first impressions, and self confidence. We let the kids know when we mess up. We attend more meetings, and do more paperwork. We read IEP's. We love on the kids some more. We smile and put on a happy face and positive attitude, even when we are wore SLAP out. Yea, we have lives out of school too....But we know our kiddos NEED us in our best form, every day, so we try to make that a reality for them. And we continue to do this....despite the pay cuts, furlough days, lack of community or parent support, and lack of respect from the rest of society. (P.S. I know this list could be longer....teachers, feel free to comment and let me know what ELSE you do!)
I would like for people to understand that teachers NEED summer to recoup, rest, and rejuvenate so they can be the best version of themselves the next school year. We spend all school year giving, giving, giving, and we have to make ourselves "whole" again.  We need a little time away from the kiddos to renew our love for them....and need time to spend with their own families as well!  And no, we DON'T get paid for summers. Yes, we receive a paycheck throughout the summer, but that is only because they divide our 9 month, 180 day (172 now with furloughs) salary by 12 months.  Which reminds me, by the way, to let you know that we only receive a paycheck once a month...so we also have to be brilliant budgeters.

Honestly, I am really, REALLY not open to any nasty comments about this blog post. This is mostly for my fellow teachers...to let them know I feel ya, appreciate ya, and keep on keepin' on because YOU are making a difference!!!!  If you have something ugly to say, perhaps you should click that little X and head on out....keepin' it to yourself is probably the best option right about now.  I am in a karate choppin' kinda mood today! (I woke up at 5 am to run 5 miles with the cross country team before school, so I'm blaming it on the 3 cups of coffee I've had since then!) :)

I really do love teaching. And I love my students.  And I just thought my fellow teachers deserved a SHOUT OUT today.

BY THE WAY....Could you read this blog entry just now? THANK A TEACHER. (Just sayin'.)
One Hundred Years from Now
(excerpt from "Within My Power" by Forest Witcraft)
One Hundred Years from now
It will not matter
what kind of car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
how much money was in my bank account
nor what my clothes looked like.
But the world may be a better place because
I was important in the life of a child.


Hebrew Proverb
"A child is not a vessel to be filled, but a lamp to be lit".

Anyway
By Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

13 comments:

Kae* said...

AMEN!!! Seriously I have a teaching degree in P.E. and wasn't able to find a job so I am adding to my degree right now. I grew up with my parents as educators, and I appreciate what they do beyond compare! I am very upset with the budget cuts, and the wages, I would like those people who down on teachers to know who taught the doctor to be a doctor or a lawyer to be a lawyer?! Thank you for this post it was amazing and I agree with you so much!

Emily said...

girl you're on a ROLL lately ;) i kinda like it! and i LOVE the Anyway poem by Mother Theresa...one of my favs :)

Lindsay said...

I am currently at KSU pursuing a degree in ECE. I cannot wait to graduate and start teaching! just like you, I always played teacher growing up. Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered that I wanted to be a teacher. I have never given another answer. Reading your post, I can see the truth about teaching, which isn't always what we hear in school. Thanks for posting this!

Dana + Ryan said...

AMEN!!! Thank you Mrs. Butler for letting all of our critics know just how much we LOVE it and all we do for the precious future. I love the video that I posted a month or so ago that gives almost as much passion as you did! YOU GO GIRL! This just got me fired up to make it through the month! Check out that video HERE - http://vandoss.blogspot.com/2011/08/school-times.html

~Momma to Twin Girls~ said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I am not a teacher but I have twin daughters who are in the 1st grade and I just admire both of their teacher so much! I loved everything about the kindergarten teachers as well. I think you hit the nail right on the head with it takes a special person and you all have a gift because not just anyone can be a teacher.

You rock!!!!

I believe I am delurking too :) I LOVE your blog!

A-Vry said...

Amen.

Miranda said...

I am not a teacher, but I completely agree with you. I knew I couldn't teach, I don't have the patience. I admire the people that do. The list of all the things you wrote of what you do all year probably isn't half of everything teachers do. Teachers don't just show up and hand out worksheets. As a social worker, we look to teachers to be our eyes and ears in the classroom, lunchroom, and outside at recess, car rider duty, etc. Teachers often spend more time with children than their parents do anyway. I work in Child Protective Services and every case I get, I call the teacher and see what they have to say. Most of them are like you, they know the child's name and a little about them. It irritates me when teachers act like they don't know who I'm talking about or they just say, "oh he misses a lot of days" or "she is well-behaved in class" and that's it. The ones who care know soooo much more. Thanks for being a "caring teacher." We appreciate you!

PS I found your blog through Emily Parker.

SSS said...

My husband is a teacher and he struggles most days but it is where God wants him to be right now. You sound like an awesome teacher and those kids are lucky to have you!

Maggie said...

Love love love this post!

I'm pursuing my childhood dreams as well and becoming a teacher. I'm in the process of Student Teaching in a 6th grade classroom and LOVE IT.

The ignorance, misunderstanding, and unfairness teachers face daily is just becoming reality to me, and I thank you for posting about it!

Keep doin what you're doin :)

Eclipsed said...

::Slow claps::

I've been a nyc public school teacher for 7 years and teachers have really been the scapegoat for parents, politicians, and administrators. If I got paid overtime for all of the hours I came in early, stayed late, planned lessons or graded papers at home, I might be making a decent salary. Budgets are getting cut left and right, class sizes are getting bigger and we're getting less and less supplies and I'm putting more and more of my own money into it and no one ever says "thank you." I just never understood why everyone hates us.

Jamie said...

Great post girl! I totally agree with everything you said :) We do SO much as teachers that many people don't think about!

Enjoy your weekend :)

Ms. Chianne said...

I LOVE this post! Everything you said is so true! I have my degree in Early Childhood Education {I'm still looking for a job though} but I have been subbing for a little over a year now. Teaching is the most rewarding profession. There's nothing better than seeing that look of understanding after you have just taught them something new. People don't realize just how much teachers do. Last winter, when I was student teaching, one of my Kindergarten students would walk to school every single day and he never had a coat, hat, gloves, or ANYTHING! So, I went and got him some winter clothes. Teachers are so much more than just that....sometimes, we are the only adults who really love and care about those kids.

Dina said...

Thank you so so so much for this post. A friend of mine emailed me the link to your blog and said, "you need to read this blog. I instantly thought of you." This is my eleventh year teaching. I live my job more each day, but this year has been a heavy one. I have to remind myself daily that this is my passion, my calling, exactly where God wants me. So thanks for the shout out. Keep doing what God has called you to!