Living the Dream

It is January 1 which means that many educators are headed back to school. Now this can be a time of great struggle for educators. We've had a few days living in "the free world." No rushing at lunch, going to the bathroom whenever you want, not hearing your name so many times you are sick of it, and most importantly, relaxation time.

We jump back in right now into the heart of midterm and final exam season. Students wanting to know how to fix their grades, raise their grades, and parents wanting to know what has happened with their child's grade.

Rest assured dear educator that this too shall pass. I work with a brand new teacher and he has the montra we all did when we came out of college: I can change the world! He is a great guy, has a lot of passion, and definitely has a bright future. However, me being the grizzled vet teacher, I have been preparing him for what is coming. With each passing week I know he is paying his dues and becoming successful. However I have been in his shoes. There were days that I do not know how I got up, kept my sanity, and taught those kids. But this guy does it with a smile. Honestly, I wish that we all could stay this way as teachers. But what changes us?

What changes us is lack of planning. I cover classes that do lot have a substitute at least once a week. While you might think that is not bad you still have after school time; think again. One day a week we have school based meetings until 4. Then I get home to spend time with my wife and son. By that time I am so burnt out that I cannot even fathom planning or grading some days. Another thing that changes us: the kids and parents. I love what I do; trust me the kids are great and there are some awesome parents. But when you get beaten down by a parent wanting you to respond to them ASAP (they send the email at 10:30 am and expect a response by 10:35) it is impossible. I am sorry I am teaching a class, covering a class, inhaling food in a 30 (more like 20 minutes after a bathroom break, talking to kids, and hall duty) lunch, attempting to grade, copland with fellow teachers, discuss with administration a strategy for special education or a child in need, and/or trying to contact a parent about problem behaviors. It is a vicious cycle that makes teachers feel like Willie E. Coyote when he chases the roadrunner. Will I ever catch him and will I always keep falling off that cliff?

Anyway I digress. Why did I title this post living the dream? Because when I go to the school and walk into the building I have a group of kids yell out my name to say hello, or want an high five, or tell me my class is the reason they came to school today, or being able to watch them laugh and learn. That is what keeps me and all of us going. Every day is different, the kids always keep me going. They may drive me crazy some days, but you know what, they look for us. When everything is going wrong for them, they find us. And for many of those kids we are the most stable person in their life. So yes, I may be sad to see break end. I may be dancing around just to make it to the bathroom. I may look like I only got a few hours of sleep (probably true). But I wouldn't change a thing because these kids make me live the dream.


  1. I agree! While I enjoy the break and really need it, I love my students and for many of them, we truly are the most stable influence in their lives. I have students calling me mom, not because they have forgotten who their mother is, but because we are are like family to them as they spend so much of time with us.

  2. Everything is so true. As a veteran teacher, luckily working with amazing new teachers, I realize planning has always been a challenge. It is all worth it when you enter the school and the kids are excited to see you.


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