Appreciate your educators

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Everyone has been through the school system, but many do not understand what kind of preparation goes into teaching. I thought I knew, until I taught full-time. When I was a student in high school, I thought the teacher would just show up and teach. It’s crazy to look back and see how narrow-minded I was.

Last year I took a job at a private, Catholic, pre-K through eighth grade school in Washington, D.C. I was the athletic director, English resource teacher and Spanish teacher at the school. I provided English resource for select middle school students and taught Spanish to the entire school. When I started, the thought of differentiating my lessons from ages four to 14 was overwhelming. I, along with all the other teachers at the school, spent the better part of our days in the summer planning and preparing our lessons and classrooms.

People think teachers have an entire summer of vacation, but the truth is, they spend time getting ready for their new incoming classes and many of them are engaging in professional development hours toward their certifications or re-certifications. Once the school year actually starts, the job is not a typical nine to five as many believe. Teachers don’t clock out.

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I was able to see a broad scope of different teachers who taught different age groups. Kindergarten teachers would have conferences with parents before and after school to discuss a specific child’s medication intake at lunch, their allergic reaction to peanuts, or their child’s behavior. Teachers would also work with with parents to organize class parties and field trips.

Middle school teachers can be found in the early morning hours helping their students with a math concept or giving them a retake exam because they were sick the day of the test. Many of my colleagues helped in other arenas. I coached the middle school basketball team and we had games way out in the middle of nowhere on Saturdays and the students’ teachers came to support them. A fifth grade teacher organized a number of teachers to come and support one of her students in his taekwondo performance.

The teachers all across Pearl River County put in countless hours throughout the year and many residents here owe a lot of their knowledge to their hard-working teachers.

This past summer, I went out with a couple of my old high school classmates and we took our old high school history teacher out for dinner. If you can, maintain a good relationship with the teachers who had a positive impact on you because it really is worth it, and make sure they know you appreciate all they’ve done for you.