What Do Teachers Make?

Teacher appreciation week has gone and come however, it is still important to continue to celebrate teachers, as we in the education world enter the toughest stretch in the school year.

Teachers provide so much to our students—inspiration, motivation and, ultimately, their futures. They change the lives of our children every day, and their work and impact extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

Recently, I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach in the classroom for the past three weeks.  I’ll be honest I was not initially happy about the directive, as a lot was going in my life at the time (future blog post story coming on that later). However I got out of my feelings, put my pride aside, and rose to the occasion to serve.

For those of you not familiar with my journey I started off as a 2nd Grade classroom teacher for 11 years, 4 years a Reading Specialists/Coach and the past two years as and Assistant Principal.  So as you can see I have not been knee deep in the classroom in quite some time with having my own classroom. Oh boy, it has been an adventure! Below are just a few struggles that I went through as growing pains for the first week and a half:

  • I felt like a new teacher all over again…no offense to the new teachers, but OMG you have so many expectations on oh yes this is going to go this way…um yeah that’s a NEGATIVE….would have thought I knew better but um yeah no.
  • I forgot to take PM attendance…well I still do from time, time, to time 🙂
  • It took us 2 hours to get through an arts and craft activity…even after chunking it down :-0
  • I lost my cool but apologized…hey we all have our moments…it’s what we do afterwards and in the in between to build those relationships and to restore.
  • I have a plethora of assignments to grade, but making progress 🙂
  • I honestly was like how in the world am I going to make it!

These are just a few of many, however at time has passed the rust has slowly started to wear off,  the training wheels are coming off, and I’m getting back in the groove. I haven’t given up and I won’t give up because even though the end is near our kids still need us.  I have retrained my brain to slow down and build on the high expectations I set forth, intentionally plan to really chunk down instruction to build off of knowledge, have fun with engaging learning experiences, and I’ve made deeper connections with the students and staff.

Spending time teaching in the classroom has been a truly humbling and much needed experience. It has reconnected me to my WHY more than ever! Administrators and/or anyone in a non-classroom position should actually spend more time in the classrooms beyond assisting (reading a book and/or special projects/programs).

I know firsthand that as administrators we have a lot on our plate. However, I challenge us to set time a side to spend a day or two in the shoes of a teacher each month so that one can be more appreciative and understanding of the difference teachers truly make. Especially those of us who haven’t taught in a classroom in a while. It can be so easy to sit back and judge until we actually experience things first hand and stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone. It helps us as leaders to be humble, lead by example, build and strengthen relationships, reflect, problem solve, and to never forget our roots.

The bottom line and purpose in this blog is to simply say to teachers THANK YOU, I SEE YOU, I APPRECIATE YOU!  

Before I end this blog post, I want share a little story entitled, What Do Teachers Make? I cannot take ownership of writing this story but it is worth a share as a good reminder to all what teachers make.

What Do Teachers Make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?” He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” To stress his point he said to another guest;

“You’re a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?” Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids set goals and work tirelessly to achieve them.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math and perfect their final drafts in English. I make them understand that if you use your mind, and follow your heart, you can live your dreams. And, if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention because they just didn’t learn.

Susan paused and then continued. “You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?

Educators make a difference everyday. They work hard to implement best practices, analyze data, seek out innovative strategies, and new technologies, and have a desire to make their classrooms feel like home for your children. So, I extend my gratitude. Thank you for all that you do to improve the lives of our students. #thankateacher #keepplantingthoseseedsofhope

PS: This blog post was inspired by the opportunity to teach in the classroom again and the staff and students at the school in which I serve.  Thank you.

PSS: Check out the video below that highlights a view of the students learning experiences. #funinfourth #thankateacher #humbleexperiences


Ideally, every Sunday should begin with a chill state of mind.

Because,  Sunday.

One can hang around without a care in the world and while away time doing completely unimportant things.

But a lot of us feel differently.

Because, Monday.

The countdown to intense suffering kick-starts again. Existential crisis creeps in again. Life seems pointless again.

So, the holiday mood pretty much goes down the drain.

The following memes are funny reflections of our innermost fears regarding the horrible transition from Sunday to Monday.  

So true. The one day I actually put on clothes it was so strange. I actually felt like my shoes, were on the wrong foot. #ohvey
Haven’t seen Birdbox, but um yeah this did happen a lot. #iseenothing #dontgointothelight

We drag on till the inevitable moment of doom – midnight or nine/ten for those who go to bed early. Then, we hug our pillows and send a quiet prayer to the heavens before falling asleep, only to welcome a living nightmare the next morning.

Unfortunately, not much can be done about the situation. Unless one decides to give up on worldly pleasures, quit, move away and/or enter early retirement.

This same anxiety that we have is the same exact anxiety that some of our students who enter our schools had before going on winter break.  While we are anxious and full of the SMonday dread, they are anxiously excited to come back to school…the safe place for those students whom home lives produce high anxiety, stress, and in most cases trauma.

While the holiday break was a welcome time for many of us to catch up on sleep, eat, and enjoy family and friends. The same can not be said for many of our students and their families, and even some of our fellow colleagues for that matter.  It may have been a time of anxiety, stress, and or grief/sadness due to memories of loved ones who may have passed away.

Case in point, I ordered food through a delivery service.  I came out to grab my food. I’m surprised to see it’s a student and her mother from school, out making deliveries. The mother stated, her daughter was with her that evening because she couldn’t afford childcare and didn’t have anyone to look after her.  She had gotten approval from the company she works for to have her daughter come to work. The mother took on making deliveries initially as an extra job for the holiday season to purchase gifts. The young lady said she enjoyed helping her mother, because it gave her something to do and she got to go to different places.  She also mentioned how she was excited to be coming back to school on Monday.

In that moment, I realized how truly blessed I am to have had an opportunity to have had a relaxing break with my family and friends. However, at the same time it made me snap out of that SMonday back to school dread.  It brought me back to my true reality, I need to put on my big girl boss panties and get my mind right to get back to school business come Monday. Get back to focusing on my why in making a difference and being that champion for our youth.  The truth is they need to have a warm and inviting experience when they come in on Monday. Am I still going to have anxiety? Of course. However it will be a making a difference type of anxiety, instead my own selfish wants of having to return to work because I’m not ready and want more time off.

As we get closer to Monday and the SMonday dread starts to kick in try to remember….

Remember in the famous words of the late Rita Pierson: “Every child deserves a champion.” Be that champion for our students as they return to our schools, not just on this Monday after break, but each day.  Have a great first week back and go get em! #bethatchampion

PS: This blog post was inspired by the numerous funny teacher memes posted on various social media accounts.  Thank you for allowing me to utilize your memes to create this post. In addition this post was inspired by the mom and her daughter, who gave me a reality check to inspire me to gradually start to come out of the SMonday dread. Thank you! 🙂

PSS: Need more inspiration? Check out Rita Pierson’s Ted Talk Video on Every Kid Needs a Champion below! Enjoy! 🙂