My favorite part of my classroom: the “We Love Mrs. K” board and my “Funny Quotes” board.

…sometimes it feels like you’re hardly workin’!

Okay, not really, and I totally get that, but I’m sorta giddy about this school year. I don’t wanna jinx this, but I may have the best kids ever. Really. This is nicest little group I’ve ever had.

Now, there are some teachers who will argue that it IS September, and that’s a wee-bit early to be raving about your kids — I mean, this is still the honeymoon. But, I would argue that at my school, the honeymoon typically lasts anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks, and we’re past that point right now, and yet, the kids are still sweet, thoughtful, and kind. (In case it wasn’t already perfectly clear, last year’s kiddos were a little tough to handle.) Case in point: on my recent camping trip, the cold I had been fighting got the best of me and I have been too sick to enjoy life, but not sick enough to stay home from work. My awesome science teammate, Martha, sent a kiddo to my room with a cup full of cough drops, and he, without any prompting, said “I’m sorry you’re sick, Mrs. K. I hope you feel better soon.” (Awww, sweet!) Other kids, upon seeing said cough drops, all made it clear that they were going to be extra nice because “sick people don’t like to feel worse than they already do.” (Amen, little one.) One other tiny guy said “Mrs. K must not feel good, because she’s got her librarian-glasses on. She’s not playin’ today, so be good.” I laughed and laughed until I started coughing and needed one of those cough drops.

It’s not really a surprise that I’m loving this year so much already. I’ve always believed that even the worst jobs are better when you get to work with awesome people — and I speak from previous experience in retail. But, when you have a job that you really love, spend your life doing something that you believe to be incredibly valuable and important, AND get some amazing people around you, it seems like you’ve hit the jackpot. I’ve been at work from 7:30 to 6:30 most days this past week (for one reason or another, of which I won’t bore you with now), and I haven’t really minded, because I adore my kids, and I really get the sense that they love me back. It’s so much easier to work this hard when the people around you appreciate your effort.

We teachers don’t get paid much for what we do in this country, and that situation is only getting worse as our benefits are cut and our salaries are frozen while districts everywhere struggle with funding cuts. There are plenty of people who disagree with us on what’s best for kids, and even more who think that they can fix everything by disregarding our opinions. Each day, teachers are criticized by the very people who’s children we all strive to make successful. I’m having a hard time not empathizing with the teachers fighting in Chicago while they fight for what’s best for kids without sacrificing all of themselves in the process. But, I’m also feeling incredibly lucky and thankful to be teaching where I am, and what I teach, with this amazing group of kiddos this year. It’s years like these that make being a struggling teacher totally worth it.