"Teaching is easy," is a phrase I often hear. All you have to do is get in front of a group of kids and tell them their ABC's and their 1 2 3's. Have lunch time, nap time, and call it a day, right? There's a lot more to teaching than that. Being a teacher, you have to be ready for anything and everything. Little Jimmy just puked on the carpet? You better know what to do. Alex just stole's Amanda's crayon? Well, you better resolve it fast before Amanda has a tantrum. Classroom management is a huge part of teaching as well as a huge part as to why so many teachers quit. They can't control their classrooms, therefore, they call it quits. Classroom management is tricky, especially on the first day of the job. A new class, a new group of kids, and you don't know what's going to work for them so you just do the whole trial and error thing for the entire year until something works.
Don't get me wrong. I love teaching, I love my students, and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, but teaching isn't an easy profession. There will be some tough situations you'll come across on as a teacher. I never learned how to deal with crying kids. If a student suddenly comes crying to me about how "Mommy and daddy are breaking up," I'm going to freeze. I was never taught on how to handle the emotional aspects of being a teacher. After the tragedy in Vegas, many students came up to me, "Ms. V, are we safe?" "Ms. V, why did the bad man shoot them?" I have a group of kids worried about their safety and what am I to do? There is really not much I can do but reassure my kids that I will keep them safe in my classroom. Situations like these are terrifying not just for me but for my students, too. I'm a worrier. I worry about my students every day because tomorrow is never promised.
As silly as it seems, being a teacher can be scary. Hearing about the unimaginable situations our students go through is heartbreaking. Having to call CPS for suspicions of abuse and/or neglect is draining. Fire drills, hard lockdowns — these protocols are all part of being a teacher. While the students are walking in a line, covering their ears, I'm continuously counting every head, making sure all of my students are present. While the students are quietly hiding behind my desk in the dark, I'm in front of them, mentally preparing myself to do whatever I have to do to keep them safe.
Being a teacher isn't just teaching them their ABC's and their 1 2 3's. Being a teacher is making sure your students are ok. Being a teacher is making sure your students are safe inside the classroom and out. Being a teacher is staying at school as late as 9 PM, grading papers and making lesson plans. Being a teacher is paying for school supplies out of your own pocket because funding is low. Being a teacher is constant meetings with parents because their child is falling behind. Being a teacher is hard work but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.