Teaching is no joke.
I’ve only just begun the formal education process with my own kids and I already realize this. Now, of course, there are major differences between homeschooling and education in a public or private facility. However, there are enough similarities that I feel I can now empathize with just a FEW things on a VERY small scale. Teaching, whether it’s homeschool teaching or public school teaching, is no joke.
Your job is hard.
My job is hard too…and I’m teaching simultaneously with parenting (blessing and a challenge) but I’m only worrying about my own kids. You’re not teaching a handful, you’re teaching a classroom full, and a new classroom full every year! You are not having to “parent” your students (although maybe sometimes you do fill that role in a loving way), but you do have to deal with all the parents. Chances are you spend more time with your students than they spend with their own parents. To me, that’s an overwhelming thought. I can only try to imagine what that must be like.
You are often underappreciated.
I feel underappreciated too… but only by my own offspring (and mine are still quite young). You meet, invest in, teach, and love a multitude of students and parents and most of them probably undervalue you. Yet, you remain selfless and sacrificial and keep doing what you do with all you’ve got, whether people say ‘thank you’ or not.
You teach the same thing over and over every year and somehow don’t get sick of it.
I am sure there are things that change from year to year and student to student, but overall you’re probably teaching the same material time and time again (if you’re a special ed teacher, or a 6th grade teacher, or a history teacher). I will also be teaching the same material over to each of my own kids and repeating it until I feel comfortable to move on, but then that’s it. That’s all I get to worry about. We move on to new material. You stick it out and keep teaching those same things over and over.
Your Bound to the System
Maybe you like this fact, maybe you don’t. But as a homeschooling parent I get to enjoy a lot of flexibility and freedom in our home education. Chances are you have a full and tight schedule, often times with limited resources, and depending on what school you teach at the support may or not be that great.
But you know what I see, dear teacher?
I see you loving your job. I see you loving your students. I see you coming alongside parents to the best of your ability. I see you work late and get up early. I see you recruiting for school events. I see you supporting school fundraisers. I see you.
Why do you do it?
Because you love the kids. You love learning. You love teaching. You love our country. You care about the future. You care about the world. You care about doing something, whether big or small, that will make a difference in someone’s life. You stick it out, for the greater good. You are passionate about people and about learning and about life.
You actually won’t have my students in your class, but that’s not because of you. You are the reason schools are great. We are not homeschooling because we don’t think the teachers are any good. Our reasons are complicated, layered, and deeply personal. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone and certainly not possible for everyone. So, thank you for the unique role you play in education for the masses. What you do is significant. Please know that we still love the schools, we love the teachers in them, and we love the students you serve too. You make the world a better place. Thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for teaching the next generation. Thank you for your encouragement. I hope you have a great school year.