My grandson begins school today. I don’t mean that my little toddler boy is going to go off with his toy backpack and play alphabet games at pre-school. I mean my big, just-turned-five-and-how-did-that-happen grandson is going to actual school.
He has a backpack full of school supplies and a head full of last minute instructions on how to behave at school and he is off to the races.
As a grandma, I’m proud of this fact, but I’m an even prouder teacher. He is about to make some teacher’s head spin with his engineering projects and his overwhelming preference for the color orange. And that got me to thinking about what it really means in this day and this age to be a teacher.
Now I know that we are all supposed to be teachers in one educational way or another. However, those of us in the classroom trenches know that to be a teacher in the school when all of those backpack toting little darlings walk through the door is a special, awesome, hair-pulling, screaming good time.
If you can simultaneously help a child edit their writing, take roll and lunch count and get everyone on their feet for the Pledge of Allegiance on time, you may be a teacher. Multi-tasking takes on hysterical new meaning in the classroom. I have literally found the right chapter of the book for one student with one hand while searching frantically through my desk for the stopwatch which is beeping uncontrollably with the other. And I still had a foot free to shove the wastebasket at the third kid of the morning to achieve vomitus flu in my classroom!
I hear frequently that God is not found in our public schools. I would chuckle at this misinformation if I wasn’t so busy offering up my own prayers to generate as much learning and as little damage as possible each day. That is in addition to the students who are sitting in their seats offering up sincere and genuine prayers that the teacher will believe their reason for not having homework done or will grade the test they are about to flunk on the curve. God is in the public schools, ladies and gentleman and He is probably holding His head in His hands a lot while he is there!
Teaching requires a sense of humor and it requires you to disguise that sense of humor most of the time. It you can listen to a student regale you with the tale of their Christmas vacation when Uncle Harold had too much eggnog and landed in the tree and not crack a smile, you’re doing pretty well. If you can hold it together when little Jimmy mispronounces the word “prostrate” while reading imagery poetry, you’re doing better than most, since “lying there prostate on the ground” conjures up some hysterical imagery for me.
A teacher must be prepared to impart knowledge while fielding any number of interesting sideshows. For instance, if, in the middle of reading “Casey at the Bat,” you suddenly find yourself refereeing a battle between two students arguing over who owns the tired-looking pencil they found on the floor between their desks, you have hit one of the high points of the teaching profession. And they don’t cover in college what the proper procedure is if your post-holiday essay on “What I Got for Christmas” turns into a show-and-tell between two boys who both think the superhero undershorts they got were the best!
Yes, I am so excited about my little grandson headed off to school. And I hope his teacher is prepared for all his tape-and-string concoctions and his insistence that yes, even grass can be orange in color. I have faith in her or him, though: a teacher is the perfect person to answer the burning question on the mind of every kindergarten child—“If I eat glue, will my insides stick together????” Have a great year, all of you teachers and all of you students!
© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content