Monday, December 6, 2010

The Holidays Make Me Thankful I'm a Teacher, but Not for the Reasons You'd Think

Being a teacher, I complain that the baggage of this job rarely gets recognized by the public at large. People assume that because we have weekends, holidays, and summers off that we just put up our feet and reap the rewards of the most ideal working hours of any other possible job. What those people fail to realize is how much work we do OUTSIDE the school day. It is now almost 8:00 at night and I still have a stack of ungraded papers in my bag. I spent part of my Sunday writing lesson plans for the upcoming week. People don't understand that when I go home, my work day continues. So when you think about how awesome it is to have summers off, hold your tongue. Because if you say that to me, I will give you a mouthful of how those three months in the summer are REALLY my only days off all year.

But having to run some errands after work this evening at the post office and at Target, I realized that even though I complain about having to grade papers a lot, going to these places this time of year makes me so grateful I have a job that challenges my mind and makes me look forward to rather than dread my day.

I used to work retail when I was in college, and getting in my car and driving to work everyday was such a chore. I hated the banality of the work I had to do. It wasn't challenging. I was expendable. I had to smile and grit my teeth when people treated me badly.

But now I go to work everyday and I get to talk about literature, and I get to teach students about the process of writing, and when I'm frustrated or upset at the students in my class, I get to tell them what I'm feeling rather than having to smile and nod.

So when this time of year rolls around and I have to dodge the holiday crowds, I just think to myself: my job might be hard and underappreciated, but at least it's not mundane.


  1. Beth, seriously, teachers are the unsung heroes of our times. With major budget cuts and ugly furloughs, it's amazing teachers still do the hard work of teaching everyday! I'm waiting for the day where there will be Oscars for engineers, people who discover cures and teachers. :-)

  2. Thanks Nikki. I find that people are really praising of teachers or really bashing of teachers. There's very rarely any middle ground.

    Have you ever heard the poem by Taylor Mali called "What Teachers Make"? If you haven't, look it up on YouTube. It made me weep the first time I heard it(and still manages to choke me up a bit even though I've watched it like 20 times.