I've always wanted to be a teacher. I remember carrying all the extra dittos home so I could play school all summer long. I loved my elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Even though I abandoned my first love for a shot at television broadcasting and then being a social worker who specialized in geriatrics, I couldn't deny my heart. Fifteen years later, I have no regrets about spending my time in the classroom.
I do sometimes wish though someone would have told me a few things. First, I wish someone would have told me that I would spend more time pushing paperwork than teaching. I've given 4 reading assessments and 3 math assessments since the beginning of April minus the first week we spent on Spring Break. In case you think I teach 18-years-old headed to the Ivy League, I teach 8 and 9-year-olds headed to fourth grade. I know the value of assessment. With all the information I have collected this year about my students, one final assessment is enough. The students aren't the only ones groaning. Secondly, I wish someone would have told me that every year there will be one student whose pain at 9 years-old will be more than I can take. My solution will be to take him home and make him my newest family member. But my solution won't work so I'll have to watch and feel so helpless. Third, I wish someone would have told me that not everyone thinks childhood is something to be protected. I've got third graders with iphones. Please don't tell me they're for emergencies only. I might buy that if they were the cheapest phone the company offers. Girls wearing make-up - not Lip Smackers but full on eye shadow with black eye liner. Monday morning conversations about what R-rated movies their parents let them watch. I also hear about how far they are on Call of Duty, a war video game. These kids will spend more than two-thirds of their life dealing with adult issues. Why are we in such a hurry for our kids to grow up?
I may be naive, that's true. I thought teaching would be about the 3Rs. My day rarely is. It's more about the big C - character. Ironically, we haven't found an assessment for that - yet.