Teachers Aren’t Heroes
Teachers aren’t heroes. But sometimes their work is heroic.
Right now, most teachers are either deep in the throes of the chaos of a new school year or getting ready to start back, anticipating the new faces and personalities that they will spend the next 180 days with.
A new school year is going from zero to 100. All of a sudden, your brain is completely overstimulated-making decisions, anticipating needs, prioritizing what needs to be accomplished first, being required to spend time doing trainings that you have had every year for fifteen years when all you really want to do is get to work in your classroom.
Teaching is learning 20+ new personalities at once. That’s 20+ personalities that probably haven’t yet mastered self control, decision making skills, active listening, or social skills. They have different preferences, different learning styles, and different needs. Teachers plan curriculum with each of those preferences and needs, modifications, and personalities in mind. Constantly adjusting and adapting. Juggling and multi-tasking. Trying to meet each student where they are..and none of them are in the same place. Most of the teachers I know? They somehow manage to do it. Teachers aren’t heroes, but their work is heroic.
Teaching is being hyper aware of health and safety concerns-allergies, bee stings, coughs and tummy aches. Medications, diagnoses that affect learning, following health care plans. Mapping out the best places to exit in case of emergency and learning how to shelter in place quietly. Helping calm fears and managing anxieties. Knowing which student is out of the room and how long they have been gone while simultaneously teaching a lesson and managing the behavior of a classroom filled with students. Teachers aren’t heroes, but their work is heroic.
Teaching is constantly adapting. Just when you have settled into a routine, a new student arrives at the door. The internet goes out. Someone vomits on their friend. A spider crawls across the floor throwing the entire class into such a panic you would think aliens have attacked. Teaching is always being able to pivot on a moment’s notice. Teachers aren’t heroes, but their work is heroic.
Teaching is truly caring about each student. The best teachers build relationships with their students. They get to know them well. They spend time investing not only into their mastery of skills, but also their lives. Knowing when they need an extra push and when they need some extra grace. Taking time to listen and see each individual for who they are, and drawing out the best version. Making sure each student feels seen and knows that even though they are only their student for one year, they are one of “their kids” for life. Teachers aren’t heroes, but their work is heroic.