We’ve seen it all: the Facebook posts, the funny Instagram memes, and the TikTok videos from parents who have been thrown into this seemingly impossible challenge of homeschooling their own kids. It’s a situation most parents never dreamed they would be in, and it is incredibly difficult for everyone. As both a teacher and a mom, I understand. Students and parents are struggling, but guess what? So are teachers.
For most teachers going to work every day is so much more than just a job. Teaching is a calling. It’s a passion that makes us complete. Each year, we meet a new group of students and have the awesome challenge and privilege of educating them. However, a good teacher does so much more. We mentor, counsel, problem-solve, and serve as role models. Our jobs go beyond making sure students learn the curriculum. When they leave us at the end of the year, we hope we have made a difference in their lives and have helped them to grow as people. It’s definitely not always an easy job, but it’s so rewarding. We are with our students seven hours a day, five days a week for nine months of the year, and we grow to love them like they are our own. Seeing the light go off when a kid finally understands a problem or getting a hug at the end of each day means more than most realize, and we miss it.
We also realize that not all students are lucky enough to have families that can provide everything they need; teachers and schools often help to fill that void. Many students only eat when they are at school, they get clean uniforms from the office, and the only hugs they receive are from their teachers. Some don’t have the resources they need to get their work done, and many have parents who are working and unable to help. Not being able to provide extra love and support weighs heavily on our hearts.
Like you, many teachers are moms as well. Trust me when I say, most of us did not become teachers thinking we would ever have our own kids in our “class.” We feel your pain when it comes to getting your kids to do their work or just finding the time to help them. In fact, the funny memes about drinking wine on the job and having recess all day are hysterical and partially accurate!
When social distancing began in March, we never imagined we would not return to school this year. We never fathomed not having end of year parties, assemblies, and graduations. While we may get to see lots of our students again next year, that will not be the case for everyone. Many are graduating and moving on to the next phase of life; some will be going to different schools. The thought of not saying goodbye to the kids we have taught and loved for the past eight months is so unfair and heartbreaking.
As a parent, you are probably worried that you aren’t doing enough to meet your child’s academic needs. You may not understand the common core curriculum or know how to explain something to your child on their level. You are scrambling to learn how to use Zoom and Google Classroom. Teachers realize you are struggling, and we understand because, in all honesty, we are, too! All we can ask is that you do the best you can. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help because that’s why we are here. As unconventional as this situation is, we will get through it together, and life will return to normal. In all likelihood, next year will look a little different, but I promise you one thing. Your child’s new teacher will be waiting with a smile and open arms, ready to work hard to get him back to where he needs to be!