Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm a Teacher. Please don't idolize me.

Warning: This is a little bit of a rant. But its something that has bothered me for a long time. Please know that I am referring only to myself, I don't mean to put down any teacher who goes above and beyond for their students. :)

So maybe its guilt or maybe its selfishness, but I don't like to be grouped into the "teachers should be nominated for sainthood" group. When I see people posting on facebook or sending emails about all the thankless work teachers do, I would just rather be left out of that sentiment. I go to work at 7am. I work really hard while I'm there. I hope that every other person who has a job works hard while they're at work. I work hard because I want to be good at what I do (and I think I am) and I work hard so that I can accomplish every thing I need to by 3pm. It took a few years of spending some extra time after school working on lesson plans and grading and what not. But I quickly learned how to grade more efficiently, plan more effectively and organize my self so that I only needed to take one or two trips to the main office each day. Now into my fourth year, my lessons are planned two weeks in advance, my grades are completely caught up and my classroom is more organized and clean than it has ever been. At night I don't grade papers or do lesson plans. I cook dinner, I clean my house, I hang out with my husband and I read books. When I meet students from BYU that are working towards becoming FACS teachers (Family and Consumer Science, the new name for Home Ec) they ask what I think is most important to be a good teacher (this must be a question they are required to ask because it comes up each semester when I meet with them). I tell them that I think the most important thing is to separate your life and your job. Being a teacher is my JOB. I feel good about myself when I excel, I really cherish the awards I've received. But I know my limits as a person and when I need to quit and do something for me, you better believe I do it. I have learned to keep all my work at school, I no longer take any grading home for any reason. I'll stay longer at school if I absolutely have to, but its very important to me that my home be a sanctuary where I can remember my favorite things (cooking and watching TV!!) and forget about my job. It keeps me sane and happy and fresh so I can be the best at what I do. I'm just a normal person working hard to be good at my job. I really don't do anything special that makes me more deserving of praise than any other hard working person on this planet. So next time you get an email about the hard work or late nights teachers put in, you can say a little prayer of thanks for them, but please remember to omit my name. :)


Tiffanie said...

I love this - because this is how I felt during the 2 years I taught. I refused to stay late or take my work home - like you said, teaching was my job and that was it :) ps - i really miss you!

Sutherland Family said...

But you can't deny that teachers are far under-paid for what they do. That's the frustrating part.

Kimberly Thomas said...

I won't deny the underpaid part. I work full time and I can't even support myself and my husband without his additional income (not that he shouldn't be working, it was just touch and go in the job market for a while!) And imagine if a husband wanted to support his family and allow his wife to stay home. It totally should be possible! That's probably more reason for me to work my hours and be done with it, I'm not going to kill myself for a profession that doesn't even compensate for what I do!