This week is teacher appreciation week. I have three boys. I appreciate teachers. I can barely manage to balance my minions (whoops meant to say sons), during summer break so for another man or woman to watch my children and then throw in a good education to boot? Well, I say that’s a great deal!
I remember when my eldest was misbehaving in class, not getting his work done. I went up to school, gave the teacher a puzzled expression and said “what’s the problem, throw him in the hallway and make him do his work!” Apparently that’s against the rules these days because the teacher was outright appalled. I feel for our educators because in so many ways their hands are tied. Many people say that some “moms” are over the top and are not supporting the teacher, and while I think that can be true, I also know this is not new. The only difference is that the teacher is not able to whack junior on the knuckles or isolate them in the hallway until they get their work done. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a proponent of whacking kids over the knuckles so don’t get your shorts in a knot. I’m only saying that if you have a child that is out of control at home, you get a child who is out of control and disruptive at school. The difference today is that our teachers have to not only teach their curriculum, teach to standardized tests, but they also have the impossible task of teaching boundaries without offending many of our legal and social rules that exist today. They live in fear of mom and dad, the school board, the government and the politically correct world we now live in.
Teachers’ hearts break every day. They know who in their class is struggling at home. They know who is impoverished. They see the pain in some children’s hearts, they see the entitlement that exists in others and they see the perfect student. They teach them all.
Things have changed. I remember when I went to elementary school. My first grade teacher, I’ll call her Mrs. D, used to take her ball point pen and dig it into the top of our heads when we weren’t paying attention or listening. It was more like a screwdriver type of movement. She was absolutely effective at getting our attention, we were terrified of her! My second grade teacher was considered mean and scary but that was simply because she was elderly. She taught me the need for perfect penmanship and doing the absolute best on my work…no exceptions. I can remember her making us do our work again if it wasn’t neat. We would moan and cry but no one came running to save us from her. My third grade teacher Mrs. B was stern but fair. My fourth and fifth grade teachers were best friends, were both very pretty and were quite often talking about their tennis games. All of these women were instrumental in instilling and laying the foundation for my future education. I cannot thank them enough.
My sons have had some amazing teachers and sometimes they have had mediocre teachers. This does not change the indelible truth. Every teacher has taught them something about themselves, a particular subject or about the world in which we live in. They have taught them about the differences in people, navigating those differences and accepting that sometimes there is success and sometimes there is failure. Every single teacher has welcomed my support, my accountability, my child’s accountability and my gratitude. They have taught my child that this world we live in is not a perfect one.
If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself. – Confucius
So a sincere thank you and appreciation for all teachers. Thank you for teaching my minions. Thank you for my own lessons about myself and about my sons. I could not do this without you. Have a wonderful week and know that I could never fill your shoes. Summer is right around the corner!