Last weekend I was having my taxes filed with my favorite lady. She has done my taxes for 15 years. A couple and their young teenage son were in the next cubicle and were speaking very unfavorably about the son’s school and its teachers. (Those 5 foot tall dividers are not sound proof.) My tax lady looked at me and grinned. She could see me biting my tongue. I decided to give my tongue a break and instead speak out in defense of my co-workers worldwide that are in public and private classrooms all day long. Let me tell you what I have seen in my 20 years of being on the other side of the teacher’s desk.
I have seen a teacher with a desk drawer full of 3rd grade boy’s clothes. A student in her class has to get himself up, dressed and on the bus each morning. That often involves wearing whatever clothes he can find – often the ones he wore yesterday. This teacher allows him into her classroom early so he can get a clean clothes and change in the bathroom before his classmates notice.
I have seen more teachers than I can count with drawers of snacks and food to feed those students who do not get enough.
I have seen teachers giving up personal time to attend plays, debates, competitions, games and concerts featuring their students to show them that that are important and they are valuable.
I have seen an assistant principal literally in tears over the situation a student was enduring at home.
I have seen a principal on his knees next to a little one who was refusing to eat. The principal, in his dress pants and tie, sat on the floor and talked to the little boy until he was distracted enough to eat without even realizing it.
I have seen teachers take time off of work to attend a student’s father’s funeral.
I have seen teachers give money, food, time, and care baskets to a student’s family when the student was enduring cancer treatments.
I have seen a school counselor desperately trying to find someone who would provide much needed glasses for a student at little to no cost.
I have seen teachers rush to a student’s hospital bed in the middle of the night.
Educators have come under an increasing number of attacks in the past few years.
Everyone has an opinion on what teachers should or should not be doing without knowing the details of what is required of us each day. The facts I have listed are NOT required. They are men and women going above and beyond each and every day of each and every school year.