Today, I felt like an administrator. I spent the majority of the day doing paperwork, working on observation feedback, changing schedules, calling back parents, watching bus video and sitting in meetings. I had very little contact with kids.
I hate that. A lot. I try very hard to remain connected to the classroom and students.
I vividly remember the day I decided I wanted to be a teacher. It was Christmas morning 1985. At the wise-old age of five, I made a decision and never looked back. Daily, I played “school” in my playroom with my dolls and a very unwilling little brother. My dad would be given a tall order of Xerox copies to make for my pupils. And, I would dream of the day that I could be a real teacher, have actual students, make tons of copies and grade all of their papers.
And, my dream came true! I became a real teacher. I’ve had thousands of students in my classroom. I made millions of copies and graded them all. But, the dream wasn’t as perfect in reality.
Real teaching is hard. I began to realize my dream was much more fun than reality. My dolls were extremely compliant and didn’t have any parents with concerns or questions. My dad was fantastic at making all of my copies, and my mom ensured I had all of the resources I needed to teach “my students.” And, grading was quick and easy. It usually consisted of one or two problems that all of “my students” got correct. Real teaching was the exact opposite of my dream.
Even though real teaching was harder than I anticipated, I slowly fell in love with the reality over the dream. It happened in pockets over the first few years of my career. My love for teaching English started to shift to my love for teaching kids. I slowly began to understand that I was teaching so much more than a book or the writing process or how to use an apostrophe or… Slowly, I began to realize that I wasn’t the only one working hard to ensure that learning-academically, socially, emotionally-happened. There was a team of people behind the scenes doing so much to ensure the success of “my students.” Even administrators.
While my dream of teaching never included providing feedback for teachers, planning professional development, writing behavior intervention plans, calling back disgruntled parents, participating in social-emotional groups or any of the other tasks I complete on a daily basis, it’s still an important part of providing a quality education for our kids even if my reality looks much different from my classroom in my parent’s playroom.
Never forget your impact. It matters.