For about a week straight, I kept receiving calls from a number that I didn't recognize. My phone would ring during the school day and at night, even at bedtime. One day, enough was enough. I dialed the number right back immediately after receiving yet another call. Long story short, the person who answered revealed that he was a Jamaican scuba diver with a jealous fiance, and he believed his fiance was the one calling me. Although I had no idea how this man (or his jealous fiance) got my phone number, I wasn't going to argue with him or create a big commotion over some random (annoying) calls. I spoke professionally and kindly to the man, and he apologized profusely for the disturbances.
During our brief phone conversation, he asked me who I was and what I did for a living (I assume to determine if his jealous fiance somehow knew me). I answered by telling him my name and that I was "just a teacher". As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized that I had totally diminished not only myself but also my profession. I spent the next few days mulling this over in my mind, knowing that once my thoughts were fully formed I'd blog about being "just a teacher". So here I am...and here I go...
Being "just a teacher" means using every minute of the school day to your advantage, and expecting your students to do the same.
Being "just a teacher" means going without breakfast (so that you can get to school and work on something) and going without lunch (so that you can continue to be productive (send emails, make phone calls, make copies, touch base with a colleague, etc.).
Being "just a teacher" means constantly searching for ways to improve upon whatever you taught last year, last month, last week, and the day before.
Being "just a teacher" means spending (an absurd amount of) your own money on everything from supplies you need to supplies your students need to rewards like tacos, bagels, and Starbucks.
Being "just a teacher" means worrying about, praying for, and crying over kids who aren't yours biologically.
Being "just a teacher" means perhaps being the one adult who actually loves on, cares for, and provides for a kid consistently, non-judgmentally, and generously without any strings attached.
Being "just a teacher" means bonding with your colleagues when the waves of Life get choppy, or when the test scores tank, or when the building suffers a loss.
Being "just a teacher" means starting over. Every. Day. And never giving up.
Being "just a teacher" means feeling rung out, irrelevant, and disrespected on some days...and satisfied, needed, and loved on other days.
I guess it's safe to say that being "just a teacher" is definitely a calling and not just a career. There are people who cannot handle all that the job demands, and having the Summer "off" isn't as luxurious as non-educators assume. I am proud to label myself as "just a teacher" because now I realize who I am, what I do, and who I impact. And it's ALL worth it.
My name is