The Best Part

HALLELUJAH! I made it through one of the most challenging school years of my life. Goodness gracious, I am grateful to still be standing. My 20 little munchkins were the BEST part of this year. I think THEY invented heart and soul. Today was a celebration of family, because that is what we became. We donned our leis, whirled about our hula-hoops, did the limbo with great ELASTICITY, whew,….and we downed pizza and volcano sundaes! This was “Too, too fun!”, as my little scalawags would say.
This year’s turbulence was beyond the realm of childhood and learning. Instead– there were clashings of philosophies, demonstrations of power spearheaded by deadlines and the realization that we STILL as educators are regarded to be at the bottom of the totem pole. This was kind of a bitter pill to swallow. Such irony abounds! We are told over and over (in regards to test scores), that we are the most important factor in a classroom, yet time and time again our out-turned pockets show something else. This was the first year EVER, that I didn’t even blink when I repeatedly had to buy my own supplies, dig into my savings, or emphatically tell myself NO to an idea or embellishment, because I simply could not afford it. In the past, these choices would hurt, but I was no longer affected by them, which seemed so “Twilight Zone” weird. They were now considered “Normal” in my psyche.
What wore down the wheel for me, above all, overall and continuously, was the high demand of paperwork which had no direct effect on my students. Said paperwork (mostly transferred to computer), was always about scores from tests–due to somebody in some cyber-space office in the clouds. To think of the countless hours I was up into the wee hours of the night, on work-nights, even,– making sure deadlines were met. For the first time, I started using the term “job” when speaking of my profession. I do not love pedagogy any less, but, I now TRULY KNOW the outer parameters of mental and physical exhaustion.
I wish the naysayers who are so hyper-critical of teachers and Education, would live a week in our shoes. This is because, beyond the hoops of fire we are more and more being asked to jump through, there are still those darling, round little faces, looking up at us each school-day, asking for our acknowledgement, our unconditional love and our guidance of their academic journey. It is no simple feat that we perform. At the end of the day, we must keep in safe harbor their childhood dreams and creativity. To NOT be the catalyst that stamps out a child’s pristine imagination is getting harder and harder to maintain. Yes, I will honestly say it has been a most incredible year for me and my colleagues.
Like my fellow colleagues, I need to rest up now. An even more challenging year awaits …come mid August…in the middle of summer…when I have gotten into the rhythm of waking AFTER the sun has risen, and have gone to sleep long BEFORE the moon has cast its final, poetic, brazen glow. Then, it is back to a new year with new methods and materials which will be MY responsibility to prove are the NEW Best Practices. All I pray for, is stamina and faith, because they are BIG THINGS to me. Thankfulness is premium. I love being a teacher and I love our dear, little personages. THEY will ALWAYS be the MOST important factor in OUR classrooms, in my opinion. They are our future. Children indeed, are the BEST part.