Have you ever wondered what happens to teachers when they get together?
Lots and lots of laughing.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with some very dear friends. All of us had been in the same school district and many (save 2) were retired.
Annette was the host. She became a 4th grade teacher shortly after I began teaching. I remember her distinctly as a beautiful mother of identical triplets. She would come to school to pick up her oldest daughter like a mother duck, as the three identical ducklings trailed behind.
I focus on her today because she knows the meaning of connectedness.
She hosts our “tribe” that gets together this time, almost every year. This group picks right up where we left off.
We are older.
There are aches and pains.
Tragedies may have befallen us throughout the year.
But we still laugh.
Because we know we are safe, connected, and loved in this small group of people.
Who wants to even read about retirement when you are about to launch into a career in teaching?
I will tell you who.
It is those young students thinking about the quality of the career they choose.
One that becomes your tribe, family, clan, collection of human beings, “your people”,
The early career teachers who realize that there are people right in their schools who will never stop holding them up in good times and in bad.
In many ways they are so much easier to confide in than your own family.
Because they get you.
There have been heart ache times.
I will never forget heart attacks, student tragedies, cancer diagnoses, divorces, and life’s crappiest days.
Sure, one could run to mother, but first, a person will seek out the colleagues and friends who will ask questions and find answers on your behalf. A mentor.
At these teacher gatherings, there is always discussion about students and where they are right now. That part of the profession really doesn’t change.
I know I was very hesitant when looking into career choices when it was my turn to graduate. I figured I would try education for 2 years and if I didn’t get a job after I graduated (there was a glut of teachers back then) I would go to nursing school.
I didn’t get a job right away.
After a year, I applied to nursing school. I was ready to close the door on this profession, when I got the call in December to come in for an interview.
I ended up staying for over 30 years.
If you are looking for a place to go to everyday and become a member of an elite group of people who will bring you cake on your birthday, wedding and baby showers, attend funerals of your loved ones, or come and sit with you in the hospital, you will never find a more loving and caring profession.
As I listened to those teachers still teaching, who came from middle school, after putting in a full day with students the week before Christmas, only to leave our gathering early because of prior obligations, I thought,
“Man. How do they do all this is one day?”
It takes special people.
Someone told me the other day, that teachers shouldn’t complain because they get three months off in the summer.
That statement is not even worth my rebuttal.
We know what we do.
We are a group of elite super heroes.
Merry Christmas to you all.
(Oh and no one ever told me I couldn’t say that in school)
Thanks for listening and enjoy tons and tons of laughter this holiday.