I love my profession and the colleagues that I work alongside. All year long I witness their selfless service, but this time of year their constant giving of themselves increases ten fold.
While many see posts on Social Media from teachers celebrating the Thanksgiving break, the upcoming Holiday break or the occasional snow day, few know what happens in the quiet of their “time off.”
Many spend a focused time planning lessons, providing handwritten feedback, grading papers, arranging for authentic audiences for students to present products, completing documentation and of course grading papers. In my previous position as a classroom teacher often 1 day (7-8 hours) out of every 3 days was spent on some part of making sure every part of my classroom needs were attended. In a week that was an average of 2 and 1/4 days. Some that know me well, but are not educators, might blame it on my “work-a-holic” tendencies. However, I am not alone.
In my current position as a Instructional Technology Coach I support teachers. I get to see things through a lens few are privilege to have. Over the Thanksgiving break and our snow day many emailed me with questions on how to incorporate a certain kind of technology for a specific learning experience, asked for my opinion on a project they were working on, while others texted me just to touch base while they were working. Not one complained they had to do this. All were excited to have the additional time to get things in order and even “amp up” lessons that were already exceptional.
They have their own families, their own lives, their own plans to relax. But don’t be naive to think that on these breaks they leave their lessons, passion for learning or student work on their desks in the school house and head care free for the holiday or impending snow drift.
Add to the dedication of their job the thoughts of their students that never leave them. Shopping for Christmas gifts for her family a teacher naturally thinks of her students… ways to bring the holiday joy to the classroom. Even as they prepare for there own personal festivities, they purchase gifts for a Christmas Angel. I never have met a teacher who hasn’t sponsored an angel from the Angel Tree. Something about knowing a child is in need… never rests well with a teacher. We will do anything in our power to make sure we have cared for every child in need.
We donate gift cards from grocery stores, serve at soup kitchens and food pantries, adopt angels, attend as many Christmas events as we are able that our students are a part of, and continue to teach with passion and power while competing with the diversions of this time of year. That doesn’t even cover the additional baking, cooking and celebratory events that happen with a teacher’s campus… because who better to enjoy and celebrate this time of year with than your campus family.
As we head into this season, be generous, be kind, and “Be Awesome” and genuinely thank a teacher for their selfless service to the future doctor, lawyer, artist, nurse, inventor, engineer or… teacher. They are sharing selflessly of themselves with our greatest treasure…children.