It’s almost Teacher Appreciation Week and while I love the cute little gifts and hoards of coffee mugs I will receive this week. Here’s what teachers would really want this week:
1.) Actual Appreciation. Not once per year, all year. Appreciation for not losing it every time a kid talks back. Appreciation for using our evenings and weekends to plan and grade. Appreciation for taking the time to write comments on homework that kids will never actually read. Appreciation for keeping 28 little people safe every day.
2.) An actual lunch break. 30 minutes, hell maybe 45 minutes if we are dreaming big right now. I want to be able to pee, heat up my lunch, and eat it, not just choose one.
3.) Bathroom breaks. I don’t want to be concerned that I drank coffee and a smoothie that morning and won’t have another bathroom break until 1pm. I want to drink as much water as I want without timing how long it will be until my next bathroom break.
4.) Decent Coffee. I love having coffee in the breakroom, especially on days where I’m exhausted, but like most offices, it’s the cheapest coffee you can buy in bulk. It tastes terrible. Will I drink it? Absolutely. Do I wish it was something that didn’t taste like burnt dirt? Absolutely.
5.) Respect. You know what teachers love more than anything? Having people tell them “It must be nice having summers off.” or better yet “You shouldn’t complain about your pay, you get summers off.” Sure, I get summers off but a lot of that time is spent thinking about the next year or hell recharging from the fact that I spent the rest of the year working thanklessly 60-70 hours per week. I work really hard, educating children. Teachers are so much more than teachers. We are teaching character, we are being impromptu therapists when they are sad, peace negotiators when they are having issues with their peers, nurses when they puke in our room. It’s an exhausting job and sometimes we just want the rest of the world to acknowledge this.
Hug a teacher this week, buy them a cup of coffee, and give them a bathroom break if you’re in the school. Teachers, take care of yourself this week and every week. Take a breather, put the stack of grading down, and give yourself some quiet time. May is a real doozy.
I am a 5th grade teacher and writer. Contributor at Bolde.com