Today I almost choked a lady in front of me in the grocery store! She was talking to the cashier about “Teachers being so lucky and OVERPAID because they have 4 whole months off in the Summer?!?!?!”
I wanted to show her my paycheck, our school district calendar (we are ONLY off 6 weeks in the summer) AND the number of hours I work in any given week (about 60 or more)! I also wanted to tell her a thing or two about those “Lucky Teachers!!”
Teachers are in the Same Club as The Army & Jesus
A few years ago, the Army used to have a commercial that stated, “The Army. It’s not just a job. Its an adventure!” I think teaching is ALSO an adventure to put it mildly. As a matter of fact, I would argue that teaching IS A MINISTRY. Or is as close to a ministry as you can get!!!
Hey! Jesus was a teacher!! So he definitely understood having to spend 60-70 hours a week working so that a group of people could have a better life and NOT getting paid for those extra hours. I bet Jesus even went to work early to make copies just to find out that the copier was broken!! 😉
Just for kicks (I know, I know– I NEED a life!), I looked up ministry and FreeDictionary.com said ministry means, “To serve, to care for, to lead a group of people, be an example of gracious service, to teach so groups of people will follow and have a better life, a career or position where the service is continual and expands past the constraints of an hourly job.”
Well, that is enough proof for me!
Sometimes We Don’t Pass Them. We Keep Them!!
Teaching touches EVERY part of your life, and sometimes, takes OVER your life. I mean, I am NOT Jesus or anything, (Jesus probably wouldn’t want to punch out a lady in a grocery store line!!!) but I have definitely felt it necessary to go above and beyond my job description.
During my third year as a self-contained Emotional/Behavior Disability classroom teacher, I had a student named Deon. Deon lived with his paternal grandmother because his father was in jail and his mother was addicted to drugs. His grandmother was a wonderful person and did the best she could to raise Deon but he still had many issues due to his mother being his caretaker until he was four. He had Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and was a handful if he didn’t trust you or you weren’t used to his fits of rage.
That year Deon’s grandmother won a vacation to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break. She definitely deserved the trip so she made arrangements for a coworker to care for Deon while she was on the trip. The week before she left she came to school to notify me that she would be out of town the week before Thanksgiving and that her friend would be bringing Deon to school.
Like I said, Deon was a handful actually he was probably TWO handfuls plus!! But I loved him (I always love the stinkers!) so I asked if her friend had spend a lot of time with Deon and knew what pushed his buttons. Grandma informed me that friend had never met Deon, but she was a great disciplinarian with her own children so Grandma thought Deon would be fine!
I couldn’t hide my terror at this point. First of all, Deon had issues with being abandoned so Grandma leaving, even if just for a few days, was an issue and he would definitely be more inclined to have a fit or two or twelve while she was gone. I was NOT looking forward to Grandma’s trip and dealing with Deon at school while she was gone for that reason! However, I couldn’t even imagine how someone who did not know him, and he didn’t trust would react to his tantrums and defiance especially if he was her responsibility 24/7 until Grandma returned home!! Then add the “disciplinarian” characteristic to the mix and I knew it would equal Deon living in a minefield for a week!!!
It took me about 2 seconds to think this over, and ask (beg) Grandma if Deon could stay with my family and me while she cruised to the Bahamas. She was hesitant, not because she didn’t like or trust me, but because she knew he was a handful and I already have him seven hours a day at school! I explained my concerns and she admitted that my house would probably be a better option! So Deon came to stay with us for a week!! He struggled a bit but overall behaved very well at school and at home!
When I tell that story to people, their reaction is usually to ask me if I am crazy or trying to be sainted. No I am not crazy (well, maybe a little) and am CERTAINLY NOT going to be sainted (my closet is FULL of skeletons!) but I am a teacher and teachers take care of their students ALL the time! Not just in between 8am and 3pm.
I know plenty of other teachers with stories like mine! I even know one teacher that adopted a child who was in his class. She was being abused and neglected at home, so he and his wife offered to take care of the little girl while her mother “got her life together.” It seems that, one day after their caretaker agreement, the mother called and said that she didn’t want to “get her life back together” and they could HAVE the little girl if they wanted her! They loved the girl and jumped at the chance to be her “forever parents” so they hired a lawyer, and within 2 years she was officially adopted by them!
I Did Not Win My Teaching Certification in the Lotto!
Please, Please don’t take this post as complaint rant!! I complain about lots and lots of things, rather loudly, but I am NOT fussing about my teaching “Ministry.” I am pissy about ladies who tell grocery store clerks that I am “lucky.” This ain’t luck, sister! I have the student loans to prove it!!!
Like most teachers, I get tired, burnt out, and frustrated sometimes but I would NOT change the Ministry I chose for anything in the world!
I love doing what I do because, like the Army, every day it is an amazing adventure!! We also do a lot before 9am too! 😉