Thursday, February 26, 2015

We are not normal people.

My last prep period, where I actually worked on lesson planning and grading, was sometime more than a week ago.  February has been filled with GIEP meetings and preparation for National History Day regional competition, which has necessitated sacrificing before and after school time, as well as planning time, for student meetings and work sessions.  It's been my choice to schedule my life this way -- primarily because I want to actually go home from school before midnight the night before the competition, and currently have high hopes that all projects will be finished and polished sometime before Wednesday next week.  

I know, I'm a dreamer.  But I'm not the only one.

And as far as dreaming, well, most of the dreaming I've done lately has been about -- you guessed it -- school.  When one dreams about assisting students, said dreams often involve waking up to scribble a note or two, without ever going back to sleep.  

So yes, I'm exhausted, sleep deprived, and more than a little stressed by the impending competition date that is just slightly more than a week away.  My teacher filter is switching off more often than it should, like a circuit breaker running both an iron and a space heater, causing me to consider what is about to become verbal sentences instead of just thoughts in my head just nano-seconds prior to the words leaving my lips.

This is my life, and I love what I do.  Even if I have to fight to protect 30 minutes a day to catch a breath, a laugh with the A Lunch crowd, and a hot lunch.  I see the end in sight -- and hope that the end is sometime near 3 pm on March 6th, rather than 3 am on March 7th, allowing for a few winks before 8 am registration.

We are not normal people.

Recently I read a blog by Alice Trosclair, "Why Teachers Cannot Have a Normal Life..."  Alice makes some excellent points, many of which are embraced by other teachers.  I'm always amused when kids (including high school kids) see me shopping in a grocery store or at the mall, and act, I am not kidding, surprised that I would engage in such an activity.  Some kids see me and actually hide in another aisle -- usually because they owe me a paper -- others actually ask questions like "What are YOU doing here?", as if my current location is such a foreign concept that my grocery cart containing toilet paper, eggs and milk (among other things), is worth tweeting about immediately.

"Saw Mrs. Heydt at DARRENKAMPS!! WHOA!"

Seriously?  Tweet-worthy?  I am not Lady Gaga.  (And I'm somewhat confused about anyone that would bother to tweet about Gaga in a grocery store as well, but I don't expect that sighting ME in the grocery store will ever actually TREND.)

This evening I came home to a post from a former student teacher in our building with one of the most intelligent pleas regarding the treatment of teachers, or would-be teachers:

I saw this on a blog today:
"I don’t care if it’s a only a joke, please don’t make comments about how someone’s choice of field of study isn’t going to take them anywhere because it can be a great source of stress and your joke won’t help."
Please, PLEASE, never douse someone's dream job. By doing this, it's telling someone that their passion is useless. As we know, college is one of the most trying times in someone's life for a plethora of reasons and as someone is going through this, they should not hear any jokes about their career path. They need to hear support and yes, even the brutal honest truth about their path sometimes, but making a mockery out of our field of study, essentially makes us feel like you're making a mockery out of us.I've heard many times that being a teacher is pointless because a) "you're going to be broke your entire life" b) "you're just an overpaid babysitter and anyone can do it" and even c) "the world won't need you due to the Internet". Hurtful doesn't even begin to cover the feeling you will give the person. Going to college means spending countless hours crying over exams, worrying about getting into a class you need, calculating how much money you have to actually survive on because you will leave college with debt. Students and post-grads don't need to hear you make a joke or tell us our passion is useless...we're already drowning in a sea of self-doubt.
So, college bound/students/grads--DO WHAT YOU WANT. You're the one who's going to live with it for the rest of your life.


The aforementioned Alice, presumably teaching for many years, and Meredith, the recently-graduated new teacher, get it.  Both understand why teachers do what we do, even if we ask ourselves, sometimes, why we let work get in the way of sleep, rational behavior, and well, pretty much everything.

We are not normal people.

It's probably a good thing, because if I were normal -- and who can really define that anyway -- it would stand to reason that I'd be something besides a teacher.

And missing out on the best career life ever.