Every day in classrooms around the world teachers watch as a variety of expressions walk through their classroom door: some smiling, some clearly already bored, some still laughing from a conversation they were having in the hallway. Others are sad, some even crying. Perhaps they found out they failed a test, their partner broke up with them, or their parent is working late again tonight. Occasionally (or maybe more than occasionally), a teacher notices a look and feeling of frustration entering the classroom; something happened in a student's previous class with a teacher or a peer and they are struggling to let it go so now that energy has been brought into the next classroom. In the front of the classroom stands the teacher with up to 30+ different expressions and moods starring back at them as they begin to teach for the day/hour. Is it as simple as just starting a lesson? No. There is so much more to teaching than educating students on a subject matter.
Teachers guide, counsel, love, parent, discipline, support, encourage, and best of all, start fresh with each student with every new day.
Teachers are amazing. Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Though rewarding at times, it is filled with more side work than most people outside the profession would ever realize. Teachers are working on nights, weekends, over breaks, even over summer. Some are up at 4:30 am and are grading until midnight. Why? Because they love their students and understand the tremendous importance of the profession.
Covid-19 has forced teachers to learn/develop a whole new way of teaching. Teachers are learning new technology at a lighting pace to meet the demands of suddenly teaching online with a curriculum that was made for the the classroom. It has not been easy for anyone: the teachers, parents, or students. I want teachers to know that I see what they are doing for their students. I see their passion, their kindness, and their willingness to go above and beyond. I understand it's difficult to be in a position of being unable to see students, to have closure, to tell them "good job" before wishing them a happy and fun summer vacation. And after a long year, it's even nice to hear that "thank you" from a student in person. It may sound small, but a simple "thank you" goes a long way in the heart of a teacher that cares so much.
As we go through this unprecedented time, there are a lot of people shining bright and making the world a better place. Some are even being called heroes. I believe teachers are included in the category of heroes...I believe they always have been.
So teachers, while you are busy taking care of your students, remember to take time to care for yourself. You deserve to step back, breathe, and regroup. If you feel stuck, scared, anxious, sad, helpless, or simply exhausted and frustrated, it's okay. Reach out to a friend and stay connected. Reach out to a therapist for a TeleHealth counseling session if you need someone to talk with during this difficult time. Most of all, know how valuable you are, as a teacher and as a person.
Grey Matters Counseling