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The Secret Life of a Teacher

Teacher secrets- What you want to know but are afraid to ask

Sorry about my absence but, you know, duty calls and everything. It’s a ghost town around here during the school year, I’m afraid. Right now, though, I feel like writing. Ever get that way? Anyway, I thought I’d lay some teacher secrets on you.

Are you a parent? Let me fill you in on some secrets about your children’s teacher. Come a little closer. Closer. Okay, let’s not get weirdly close, you’re about to be in my bubble of space. We know there are some things you want to know about your child’s teacher, but don’t feel comfortable asking. That’s okay. I’m here to hook you up with some insight and hopefully some warm cuddly feelings for the person(people) who spend the most time with your child.

The number one secret you might not know about teachers is that we love teaching- or we WANT to love it. Many of us love what we do. We get to mold young minds and help them reach their potential. We get hugs daily and kids tell us we are the best ever. How often do you get to told that you are the best ever at your job? Not as often as a teacher, I’m guessing. There is nothing more awesome than the feeling of standing in front of a classroom with 20+ eyes looking to you for information. They trust you to do the right thing for them.

There is nothing more satisfying as a teacher than seeing a student learn something that you taught. My absolute favorite thing, though, is when a student connects with something they are learning. I love when you are in the classroom and you share a moment with your class that you know they will remember the rest of their lives. You’ve made a ripple in their life. It doesn’t always happen in the sometimes mundane necessities of a classroom, but there are times when you know you are making an impression.

Another thing that we love is what we teach (usually). Like me, I’m an ELA lover. I love everything reading and grammar. Even spelling isn’t so bad. I’m teaching math this year and OhEmGee it is AWESOME. While we might not know every single thing about the subject we teach, we pretty much know our stuff. So let us love it. And if we make a  little mistake, don’t crucify us over it. Seriously, it can be a lot of pressure to know that you have children watching everything you do looking for mistakes while you are teaching, but it’s much more stress when you have parents who are critical so cut us some slack.

Above I said that we WANT to love our jobs. Honestly, there are some times when we don’t love it. We don’t love it when there is a new state assessment that comes down the pike that we are supposed to push on our precious students that has not been fully validated or that seems sketchy in some other way. It sometimes feels like the ones in charge of making the decisions about what is right for our students have no idea.

No matter what any teacher says, we don’t love grading papers. We know it’s a necessary evil, but it can be pretty awful sometimes even when your students are doing exceptionally well. Do you think it’s fun to grade the same spelling words 20-100 times as you see them on different students’ spelling tests? No freakin’ way.

We don’t always love meetings. We know they are completely necessary, but we don’t love them all the time. We are super, super busy and have a thousand and one things that always need to be done. We meet with parents to help keep them in the loop about what’s going on in the classroom. Remember when you are meeting with your child’s teacher that we want the same things that you want. We want your child to be successful in their current grade. We want them to leave our classroom a better person than they were before they entered it. If your child’s teacher is telling you that your child has some things to work on, then trust us. We see them for a huge block of time each day and each week. We’re not out to get your child/don’t like them/want to blame them for our lack of teaching skills.

We do our best to make sure your child understands every lesson, but it doesn’t always happen right away. When you work with your child one on one at home on their homework, remember we do that same thing with a group of 20+ kids and it’s dang near impossible that every child will “get” every lesson every time. So when your child comes home and doesn’t know how to do a lesson, expect it to happen every once in a while. We do our best to help each child “get” each lesson, but every child will have times when they don’t quite get it. Here’s what happens sometimes: a child “gets” it in the classroom. Then they go home and work on their own and forget. That’s normal! We appreciate your help at home solidifying the skills they are taught in the classroom. When you work with your child, it shows them that what they are learning IS important.

We have off days sometimes. Have you ever had to be in presentation mode for your job? You want to be the best presenter possible. You WANT to be entertaining and for the people watching your presentation to take something from it. Now, imagine that after your presentation, the people you have just presented to have to apply that information right away to show you that they understood what you presented. Imagine doing that EVERY DAY whether you feel like it or not, for we are but human.

We have days when we feel less than stellar but we still teach on those days…unless we have something contagious or the fever is too bad. You know how sometimes you have sinus/allergy problems and you are constantly sneezing or coughing or have a runny nose or need to cough up something gnarly? Try TEACHING on days like that. It’s not easy. What is so sweet, though, is that for the most part when kids see that you are really not feeling well, they take it easy on you.

We know you don’t always read our newsletters. We try to help parents stay as informed as possible. I’ve written newsletters each week for several years, and it never fails that I’ll still get phone calls or notes sent to school about something that I’ve written in the newsletter. We know you’re busy, but if you’ll take 3 minutes to read the newsletter we spend time to write, I promise you will find a lot of answers to questions that you have without having to email/write a note/make a phone call.

Now this part shouldn’t be a secret, but it might be something that we don’t say often enough, just because we are so busy. We appreciate what you do at home with your child. Discipline, support, love- these are all crucial to the development of a child. Taking care of these needs and sending your child to school makes our job much easier.

Last, but not least, we LOVE your child. We don’t always love their behaviors, but we love your child! When your child comes back to us the next school year to give us a hug and tell us about how their day is going and how their teacher is and how their year is and how their classmates are, we are happy to see them! I love when I have kids come back to me from middle school or high school with their younger brothers or sisters on open house night. We might not always remember our kids names right away if it has been a few years and they have had growth spurts or now have facial hair and voice changes, but we usually figure it out. I forget my own child’s name sometimes, though, so forgetting names really means nothing.

Calling all teachers: What are some more secrets can you lay on parents? Let me know in the comments.

Calling all parents: What questions do you have for teachers?


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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • craftyone 07/06/2016, 6:49 am

    Sometimes the kids respond with the most absurd answers and I laugh…usually later. lol

    • Nirra 07/06/2016, 8:38 am

      Yes, it’s usually not too funny when you’re in the middle of the lesson is it? You can appreciate it more later 😉

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