I wish I could say that I have always appreciated the hard work that teachers do.
But, unfortunately, that is not the case.
During my years as a student, they were certainly taken for granted, no thought for all the prep work and time spent outside of the classroom.
The classrooms just come looking that way, right? With all those posters and creative bulletin boards?
I didn't think about all the homework assignments, tests, project, quizzes that had to be prepared before ever giving them to the students. They just took them right out a book, didn't they?
I mean, I know they had to spend time grading tests and homework, but they could get that done in about 30 minutes after school was done for the day.
Done with work at 4PM? Getting 3 months off in the summer and two weeks at Christmas, plus all those other random holidays? Psh.
But that was then. Sorry, teachers, I was a self-absorbed, naive student.
I've had a few other lessons taught to me since then.
I became thankful for teachers about 6 years ago, while a Houseparent at Gateway Woods, when I realized that their work allowed me to have a few moments with my toddlers. About 6 hours of breather before heading into hours of supervision, behavior management, and mentor talks.
My appreciation grew as I started to send our own children off for school. We have been blessed with awesome teachers for all 3 of our kids and I am so thankful to have God-fearing teachers to partner with when it comes to our kids education.
And now this year my appreciation has grown by leaps and bounds, for I am now married to a teacher.
We heard that first-year teaching is hard. Really hard. And it has proven to be true. It's a tough schedule to hold with a family to boot. But of course, Paul does it without complaint.
I just did the math.
Paul puts in a 12 hour day, getting up at 5AM and not stopping work until 5:30PM (I put in 30 minutes for drive time, but no meals because he eats while he works). He then takes a break to hang out with the kids and I - which I appreciate more than I can express! He then puts in another 2 hours after the kids go to bed. He works weekends, too, putting in about another 11 hours between Saturday and Sunday. Lesson plans, grading papers, answering parent emails, answering student emails, etc, etc. Muliply that time, times 38 weeks (August to May minus 2 weeks for Christmas break, which in actuality, he worked all of Christmas break too!) and you get 3078 hours.
3078 hours. In 38 weeks.
A person who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year puts in 2080 hours.
And though I know he will continue to get up at 5 AM through the summer and put in a few hours of work before the kids wake up, let's just say we are all looking forward to the summer.
So, teachers, I know Paul is not the only one doing these crazy hours. You do SO much for such little pay. But you didn't get into this for the money did you? It's those 'self-absorbed, naive children' (like I was once!) that you care about. And that is what makes you great teachers. I hope you feel appreciated by your students, their parents, your principal, the School Board. Because you have one of the toughest, exhausting, frustrating jobs in the world. Thank you.