Welcome back

What they keep telling me sounds like lies

No matter what I’m still going to break down and cry. 

It’s too hard cuz it’s “easy”.

I wish I could rewind the time, but I don’t remember- it all feels new

Could someone pinch me please, I need this to be over. 

It’s one thing to be physically drained, mentally just makes it that much harder to maintain…

Your sanity that is. 

God forbid you’re oblivious to it all, that’ll really be your downfall. 

Hold your breath, count to ten. It’ll be over and you’ll be doing it all again. 

Summer break

School’s out for the summer! The first thing on my to-do list is some much needed rest! If it was possible I would sleep for days straight like a hibernating bear, but that’s not anywhere near my reality. Like many other teachers all over the world we need to reboot before we return for a new school year in the fall. I mean, one school year is just about the equivalent to Tour de France (no, really). 

It’s a race to the finish line!

Many don’t realize what the life of a teacher actually entails. We have to take our students from where they are to where they could/should be. Just like Tour de France, we have to work with our “teams” to figure out a plan of action, but you can’t really plan when there are so many uncontrollable factors. Picture this:

7:30am- Arrive at school and finalize last minute preparations for the day. 

8:30am- Pick up students from yard and get the day started. 

11:00am- Take students to lunch. Scarf down food, make copies, follow-up with conversations/phone calls, etc. 

11:45am- Pick-up students from lunch, handle any discrepancies. 

12:30pm- Possible preparation period. 

3:09pm- Dismiss students and wait for parents, siblings, or day care to pick-up. 

3:25pm- Last student is dismissed. Time to go home or stay for after school training. 

4:30pm- Leave training and finally go home. 

Now let’s not forget. There’s many other variables that also affect a teacher’s day. Variables like announcements, phone calls, bathroom breaks, indoor recess, fire drills, assemblies, TRANSITIONING SMALL PEOPLE FROM POINT A TO POINT B. I’m sorry I yelled that out a little. I just need to emphasize that it is completely nonstop and pretty unpredictable, my list could go on and on. It’s probably why I hear so many of my colleagues going above and beyond their fitness step goals for the day. 

Let’s not forget. We also have lives outside of school as well (shocking). You might see us in line at the grocery store, pumping gas at the gas station, or picking our kids up from day care. The scary part is that our day time duties often mesh so heavily with our outside lives that the overlaps are truly to ignore. 

Examine this scenario for me, please. I’m sitting on my phone, browsing through my favorite shopping applications and I land on my beloved Amazon app. I usually shop for everything for myself and the family through this app, but about 10 minutes into searching for kids shoes, I remember that I ran out of black dry erase markers in my classroom. So of course I have to see if I can get a deal on dry erase markers. Which then reminds me that my my students ate (lost) the erasers that I gave out last week. I’m sure I can find a few quality erasers that will stop the tears from their mistakes and deter them from eating them as well. See here, the difficult of separating the two is real!

This is exactly why teachers need our “many” breaks, vacations, and days off because we actually don’t get any breaks! Those days when our students are at home, we’re still at school attending professional development sessions. Early dismissal days- we usually have to wait for many of our students to go home before we can eat our lunch, start PDs, or even report card conferences. Oh, and those extended breaks: Christmas and Easter: we’re usually finalizing grades and preparing for the next quarter. 

So if you have a teacher friend or happen to see your child’s teacher, DO NOT try to stop them to have a 3 hour long conversation in the middle of a 90 degree day while they’re walking their dog because we’ll probably run away before you even fix your mouth to say hello! I’m kidding (kind of). Instead, just wish us a “Happy Summer” because it’s a universal teacher holiday and save all your questions for that first day back to school. Don’t worry, we’ll be eagerly waiting for all of them….
Happy Summer! 

-Jay

Work-versary 

It turns out that good things do happen in March besides Spring. It’s my one year work anniversary!! I’m going to turn-up for God’s strength in keeping me during this time. 

For those of you that don’t know, I am a first grade teacher at an elementary school in Philadelphia. If you’ve read my About Me page, I’ve worked my butt off since high school so I have a lot to brag about (even though I’m definitely the gangster moving in silence type). 

Of course this year has been filled with ups and downs, fears, frustrations, but above all else, fuller faith. I used to hate when people would tell me:

-You have a calling

-You were born to do this. 

-They need you. 

I would look around and literally try to see who they were talking about. To this day, people come into my my building or into my classroom and this is the conversation I wind up having (my responses are always the same: 

Them: How long have you been teaching?

Me: Well, I was with toddlers for almost 2 years and I’ve been here since last March. 

Them: (face drops/mouth gaping) Last March??

Me: Yes, about a year now…

Them: So this is your first year teaching in a school?

Me: (shyly) Yes… 

Them: (usually some combination of these words) Hats off to you, kudos, WOW, you’re amazing, loud clapping, fist bump, etc. 

The crazy thing is that I love my job. Well actually not the “job” in itself, but the work that my job calls for. Each day I have children and families depending on me. I know it’s my first year, but I have so much to offer them. I challenge them to learn through the required curriculum, but I also incorporate music, art, and dance. Not in a cheesy way either. We move to GoNoodle, quick draw our story predictions, or sing silly songs about science and phonics. 

I love being able to go into my little bubble of a classroom, close the door, and be with my children. Their faces light up when when they get something, help a classmate, or share out there answers. If you’ve never been able to see a child’s face light up when they’ve achieved something, it’s awesome-my reason for waking up each day. Here’s to many more days waking up to learn (teach). 

No day is perfect, but every day is new. 

-Jay 🖖🏾