Thursday, September 1, 2011

What Teachers Make

What teachers make? I don’t make much but today was a day that I made memories to hold onto forever.  My day was given a curve ball when 10 minutes before school my hardworking principal asked me to fill her shoes for the day.  As I predicted , her gorgeous stilettos are not an easy thing to fill.  I spent every moment of my day doing something that felt like an emergency. A suspension, ELL re-designation, parent phone calls, broken printers, impromptu SPED meeting and much more kept me so busy I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch. Even worse I forgot about my expensive coffee on my desk.  When the last bell of the half-day rang I felt like it was merely morning break. Amazing how fast time flies when you fill every second of it.
You would think my day was over but alas I still had 7 hours to go. It was Back to School Night and I had a classroom to get ready. Dinner was not going to be an option.  I scrambled to clean up two days worth of subs notes and mess. (I forgot to mention that I missed the day before because I put my tired 30 year old back out erasing a whiteboard.) I hung artwork and prepared PowerPoint slides. I cut out cute “love notes” for the parents to write to their child as a surprise. I even managed to make it to the bathroom.  The gates to our school opened early for younger grades. Our doors weren’t to open until 6:40 on the dot. As I hid in my darkened room I could see parents, kids, and grandparents lined up outside my room. It was only 6:15. I went in the “office space” aka my closet. I felt too guilty seeing them outside the window waiting.
            Finally the moment arrives and my translator isn’t there yet. I let the parents in. The hesitantly looked around the room and took a seat. Without a moment to spare the translator walks in and we seamlessly begin. I have 20 minutes to impart these parents with the goals and expectations I have for the year. It’s not an easy task. I know I didn’t do it justice, but I plan on making it up soon with a parent night on my terms. Overall I’d give it a 5 out of 10. I am hard on myself.
The night adjourns. On my way out my principal tells me she wishes she could clone me. It feels good. What felt even better was a mom calling to me across the parking lot.  It’s 7:40 I should be home tucking my kids in bed and thanking my husband for helping, but I can’t ignore her. She’s come to me with tears in her eyes. At first I think its something tragic. Instead it’s something glorious. She’s come to thank me for understanding her daughter, her greatest gift in life. For the second time in her daughters 5 years of school she has a teacher that inspires her and accepts her. Her daughter isn’t always an easy student but she, like all the others, is always a blessing. That is what I make.

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