I have many friends who are teachers. They are smart, thoughtful, and truly some of the nicest people that I have ever known. I love being “Facebook-friends” with these teachers, because when we get together for some fun, we inevitably talk about teaching/our students/other school things (yes, even over the summer), but seeing their lives on Facebook is such a fun way for me to get to know my colleagues/friends better and get a glimpse into a part of their lives that I often don’t get to see.
One of my favorite things about being friends with teachers on Facebook is that someone will share a link to an article on education that speaks to him or her, and/or that speaks to me, and/or that speaks to the public-at-large. The article from the Huffington Post entitled “The Hard Part” was one such article that appeared in my Facebook feed via a teacher-buddy. (Thank you, Hannah! And, check out Hannah’s amazing blog here.)
Peter Greene is right, the hard part of teaching is that there is never enough. Never enough whiteboard markers, or double-sided tape, or calculators, or desks. Never enough technology to go paperless, and then never enough paper in the copy-room. Never enough support from the general public and voters. Never enough support from the parents of students. Never enough time in a class period to check in with all students AND meet each student’s needs individually (AKA, not enough of the teacher to go around); never enough time to go to meetings during planning period AND plan for the next day; never enough time to get everything done that needs to be done AND have time at home to relax, decompress, make sense of the day, and refresh one’s mind before the next day begins. The hardest part of teaching is loving your job and making it work despite the “never enough.”
I loved reading Mr. Greene’s article because he gets it. He knows why we teachers are tired and why some of us burn out and leave the classroom forever — teaching is hard. Nate, a former student of mine, would often mess up a simple calculation and then say, “Man, the struggle is REAL, Mrs. K!” Truer words have never been spoken.
But to be clear: I love my job, and to quote Tom Hanks in A League Of Their Own, “The hard is what makes it great.”