“Ah summer, the time when teachers become human again.” If you are not a teacher, you may be cursing this in your head and think it’s ridiculous teachers have two months off in the summer! How dare they!
It took me one day out of the classroom away from the wonderful school where I teach to realize teachers really become “human” again in the summer. A Philadelphia Urban Educator evolves into a superhuman powerful being that is named teacher in September, but not only are we transforming into the role of teacher, we are accepting responsibility as a caretaker, manager, counselor, nurse, Mom, Dad, friend, janitor, secretary, IT worker and more without even knowing it, all the while having responsibilities outside of school in our own lives. I forgot, the office does not close at 3:00, our superhuman powers allow us to develop strength to carry or push stacks of papers around like we are traveling through an airport, our final destination is a trip that never ends, paperwork! When the teacher closes their grade book, tucks the stack of papers away that are still in need of grading, we are worried about a child’s needs or an upcoming lesson. Like I said, moving through the airport and our journey never ends!
I am proud to share these superhuman powers with fellow colleagues and students because I love the journey! The journey can be very exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically and although it would be great to go out to lunch with coworkers, our superhuman powers allow us to eat in a short time period, sometimes at our desk, finishing up paperwork, helping a student or most importantly rushing to the restroom or making a phone call because it could be hours before we have the opportunity! The journey of a teacher is met because we want children to succeed. We want them to succeed so much they suddenly aren’t just students but, “our kids” who we share our time, materials, support and become advocates for their needs academically, socially and emotionally on their journey of learning. Not only do we want the 28 students or more to succeed, we want to build a relationship with their caretakers to optimize their child’s learning. The journey never ends.
Did I mention our superhuman powers automatically turn us into Common Core warriors, differentiating our instruction to meet all learners and personalities and as a Philadelphia Urban Educator we use our powers to meet these standards and instruction with lack of materials. We love the journey and want our students to succeed, so we become creative collaborators and sometimes hoarders when we find the materials we need and guess what, it is a thrill because we know our students are grateful and need them.
The journey doesn’t end in the summer, our capes get tucked away, but the planning and preparation continues through the summer while we recharge our powers!
When did it occur to me I was “human” again? It was Sunday night, my school bag was empty and I thought about how my students must be enjoying summer and wishing they are safe!