I was blessed to be a classroom TEACHER for 31 ½ years. Well, maybe I should subtract two that weren’t so great, but even those years taught me a lot. Outside of my family, TEACHING has always been my greatest passion. That may not seem so surprising except for the fact that I never once thought of being a teacher until I had actually graduated from college. I wrote a post about that HERE, so I won’t go into details.
Now that I am retired, I really do miss being in the classroom. I love retirement (especially not having to hear that alarm clock every a.m.), but I miss the kids, my fellow teachers, and even making lesson plans!
Sadly, teachers are not always given the respect these days that we were once given. Instead of parents supporting the teachers, many today are all too often ready to point their finger at them without seeking out all the details. OK….didn’t mean to get off on that but many good teachers are leaving the classroom because of lack of respect and support (and some other reasons too).
I try to be a CHEERLEADER for teachers and administrators. They aren’t all perfect…some, in fact, need to go! But educators are faced with much more than many people realize. I thought I would share with you just a few of my own personal teacher stories in hopes that it may bring awareness of what teachers deal with on a daily basis…much, much more than just academics.
NOTE: Names will be changed for obvious reasons and the pictures are not of my actual students. They are from my Pinterest board: ALL GOD'S BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN.
Story #1: “Mary” was a pretty little blonde girl in my class. Very quiet & shy…and very, very poor. She rarely smiled and she dressed very shabbily. I discovered one day just how bad things were at her home. She nor her brother even had a toothbrush. With the help of two friends who had young children, we were able to supply them with some hand-me-down (but nice) clothes and brand new toothbrushes and toothpaste. That was the first time I ever saw Mary smile. And I teared up.
Story #4: “Karen” was the smartest little thing! She had so much brains and so much personality but no legs from the knees down and very few fingers. A couple years before she caught a serious infection from swimming in a motel pool. She lost her limbs but never her spirit. Her handwriting was superb…much better than many with all 10 fingers! And although she had prosthetic legs (wooden back then), she hated them and would in a skinny minute whip them off and scoot around the classroom on her limbs faster than any bunny rabbit ever thought about. She always made me smile😊
Story #5: “Linsey” was such a pretty little girl, very thin, very quiet, and very intelligent. She lived in a trailer with her mother, her sister, and her extremely stern stepfather (ex-military man). The home was evidently not clean because both girls came to school several times during the year with head lice. Each time the father would blame it on other children (even though no one else in my class had lice that year). This EVIL man would shave the girls’ heads, leaving only a thin layer on top. One day he came to school and was extremely rude to me in front of my class. He told me he was going to completely shave their heads. I lost it! I cried and cried and begged him to please, please not do that. Thankfully, he didn’t. Linsey wanted to grow up to be a model she told me one day…I doubt that happened. In fact, I have seen her name in the arrest reports in our local paper more than once….and each time I cry.
Story #6: My 2nd year of teaching I taught Remedial Reading to 2nd and 3rd graders; many were children of migrant workers. “Ella” was a beautiful little Hispanic girl and her brother “Pedro” was so handsome…and they were both sweet as sugar. Ella had no underwear. When I told my husband he said, “Get in the car; we’re going to buy underwear” and we did. Later that year with the help of some great friends we supplied this family with a new- to-them but used refrigerator when their's broke down, some clothes, and food. Their parents were so appreciative and so humble. I smiled and cried at the same time!
There are so many more stories…some sad, some happy, some funny. No time for all the details but just to highlight:
*the mother who came to the front office to check out her child wearing her negligee (the mother, not the child!)
*my student whose first name had all 26 letters of the alphabet (I never learned to say it or spell it but she could). Thankfully she had a nickname!
*”Abby” who was mentally handicapped but 100 times smarter than her mother; but oh how much they loved each other!
*”Shawn” whose mother blurted out in my parent conference for no apparent reason, “I’m a Lesbian”…don’t even remember how I responded but let’s just say I was mostly at a loss for words
*the father who told me during our conference that his son was
having problems because at home his wife was not giving him (the father) enough
sex and he guessed it was affecting his son...absolutely no words for that one but I'm sure my face had a
strange strangled look!
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.
PLEASE...RESPECT & APPRECIATE TEACHERS. I know they aren’t all deserving of it, but most are and most dearly love and care about each and every student in their class. And if you ever have the opportunity to help a teacher in any way, please do. They spend so much of their own time and own money on “their children.”
I thank God often for the privilege and blessing of having been a TEACHER.