Teaching Other People’s Children

No Telling

Ive never been so ready for a Thanksgiving break in all my life, and I’ll bet I’m not alone. I love my students – all of them – it’s just important to have a little time apart. Right here at the end of the semester, Thanksgiving break is the chance to inhale before the final jumping in of final exams. It’s timely and necessary.

I’m fully aware that I’ve become a spoiled university instructor. Unlike most of the folks in the hall, I have memories of public school teaching. Years of thirty-minute lunches snarfed while standing duty in 100 degrees or in freezing temperatures. Years of forgotten homework and whining teenagers. Years of preaching poetry from a rickety pulpit. I loved every single, gut-wrenching minute of it.

It’s a whole different country teaching those who choose (and pay) to learn. John Rohweder, a wise man I miss much and often, used to remind me that we university folk have the best game in town: we teach the willing on a flexible schedule, and we even get paid to do it. John marveled at the gift of teaching every single day and never failed to make me feel like the luckiest woman alive.

We who teach participate in the miracle of learning, and we learn. We have it lucky and easy. For those who teach in the public schools, that’s not always true.

I know this is a time of educational confusion. Standardized testing and helicopter parents and school violence and the ugliness of the whole sordid world reflected on our young – it makes us cynical. Those who choose to stand at the front of the classroom take a vow of responsibility for other peoples children. There’s nothing weightier than that.

So while we’re being appreciative ’round the turkey table this year, say a little attagirl or attaboy to those folks who’ve dedicated their lives to nurturing other people’s children. They may be teaching your children. Maybe some of them even taught you.

Now spit out that gum and go say ‘thank you.’

14 thoughts on “Teaching Other People’s Children

  1. Thank you, Monda. That was what I needed to read after today; it was the last day before our Thanksgiving break and the kiddos wore me out. I had to take a nap when I got home. Teaching high school freshmen all day on the day before a break should not even be legal. I love them but they were nuts today.

  2. Amen to that! Unfortunately there is no Thanksgiving in Japan and it's not really celebrated in Canada anyway (at least where I'm from)so this is a tradition a little foreign to me. I would enjoy a little break, tho. I teach in six Japanese public schools and although I love my students, teaching them is hard work.

  3. As always Monda, I love your posts. Sadly there's not really a thanksgiving celebration in my neck of the woods in the UK unless I wander over to Ely where they are clebrating in the cathedral. I teach but I travel to my students in the work place to help them with maths and english. It's amazingly rewarding although the school holidays pass me by without notice. Here's hoping you have a good break.

  4. I couldn't agree more. While my mother is a kick ass mommy and helped me become the person I am today, Educators (mostly english teachers) had an influential role in my upbringing….

    so,(spits out dubble bubble bubble gum)

    Thanks. In my eyes, your job is just as important as my (soon to be) former one.

  5. I'm 37 years old and still undecided regarding whether or not I want to be a teacher. I've spent the last 13 years raising my children instead of stepping into a classroom full time (but isn't parenting teaching too?), and now I'm a part time sub. I love subbing, though, Subbing is like being an aunt because I get to enjoy the kids for a day or two, but I don't have to take them (or their papers) home with me. One day soon, I may buy some teacher duds and be a for-reals instructor of the middle or high school sort. But for now, I'll just live vicariously through your posts.

  6. Wonderful post. You're right about the cushy job in the University, but that doesn't mean it's actually EASY…

    Thanks for reminding us.

    Heh. My verification word today is 'semstr'. I think maybe the verification word generator is ready for semester break too??

  7. Never in a million years did I think I'd grow up to be an educator. Had no desire to teach, don't like other people's children, no ma'am. Where am I? Associate Dean of Education. How did that happen?

    I stumbled into teaching and it stuck. My sister, on the other hand, knew she wanted to be a teacher from the time she was in the womb. I have so much respect for her. She wanted this. I fell into it, but I love it every bit as much as she does.

    You're right, Monda, we're blessed to get to do what we do and get paid for it.

  8. Thank you for thinking about the teachers in the trenches. I'm not sure very many university professors think much of our lot. I've spent most of my life teaching other people's children in some of the most difficult settings. It's hard and wonderful…and hard.

    Best to you during your holiday break! So glad I found your blog!

  9. Thanks for this! We just finished our first round of parent/teacher conferences and I love talking with kids and their parents about the learning going on in our class, but I am exhausted. I love my job, and I am so very thankful to have found the proffession I am meant to be in!

  10. I feel bad because although I love learning, the pressure of my competitive private school makes me bitter towards the whole institution. Sometimes I feel like I let my teachers down by being unhappy and present.

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