an easy legacy

As you know, there is a crisis in education. COVID changed the white collar world. And well, teaching is a blue collar field. And in no other place in history is the difference between white and blue more keenly visible. We have to go to work. Every day. For 8 hours. On site. 
Like the nurses. The construction workers. The laborers. The manufacturers. And nobody coming up wants to do those jobs anymore. And, the particular paradox of our world is that we are running out of what we need, and have overburdened those who are left. 
Everyone's an expert about how a cashier should do his job. A waitress. A teacher. A trucker. A nurse. But no one wants to do these jobs. Nobody wants dirt on their white collar. 
But that's not really new. It's not a modern crisis. It's a slow mover. Like glaciers, the decline has been readily visible, for those willing to see. The decline isn't a surprise. And yet. The point of no return is. That's the house afire. 
And--to an extent--I wonder if teachers ourselves have contributed accidentally.
And teaching is hard. Like parenting is hard. But perhaps we forget to mention we wouldn't really choose any other path, though. 
Teaching is hard the way parenting is hard, but it's also funny in the way parenting is also funny. 
Teaching is hard, but it's also easy--in the way that parenting sometimes is a breeze. And wonderful. And touching. And lovely. 
This is my 20th year of teaching and I can say with absolute conviction that it is the same as always. "Teaching is hard," I say, "but it isn't THAT hard."
Some parents are hard. Someone once asked me if the hardest thing about teaching us having to tell parents their kid might he different than everyone else. I said, "No. The hardest thing about teaching is having to tell parents their kid is the same as everyone else." With the same expectations. The same rules. The same tendency to fall. The same resilience to get back up. Just give them time. Give these kids time. They will learn their way. Parents who can't give their child the room to fall, to fail, so they can learn to get back up. THAT'S hard to watch. 
Some admin are hard. And I don't mean the building. I mean the district people. The way ups who haven't seen a classroom in 30 years and make 4 times your salary. The same ones who need you to smile and nod when they act like they invented something you've been doing for ten years? THAT'S hard. 
Some kids are hard. Yes, they are. But they aren't THAT difficult. They are only young. Untried. "Hardwired," as one middle school teacher said recently, "to test the boundaries." And when we cannot reinforce the boundaries they so desperately need to stay in place--EVEN if that means bearing a consequence? Well, that's hard. 
That's hard when kids need the boundaries to play out, and no one seems to want to give them that gift anymore. And it is a gift--discipline is. An inverted relief for children to know that the adults around them are capable of being adults. 
But, ah. Teaching. Teaching isn't hard.
The sounds of teachers ringing again in the hallway. All the chatter or school coming to life again. That isn't hard. 
To sit among these mixed up classroom things and know I get to try again this year to be better than I was last year. That isn't hard.
To be beloved, and hugged, and missed even though you for sure don't deserve it half the time. 
To get a new start every Monday. Every first day back. Every August....that isn't hard at all. 
Our sweet new marketing person has been diligently working to keep parents and our community updated throughout the 60 Days of Summer. She was in my room the other day taking pictures (NOT CAMERA READY!)..and she said, "I will tell you this...if you ever want to feel good about yourself...talk to a teacher. You are all so kind, so laid back, so welcoming, so easy to be around. If you ever want to feel happy, and inspired, and like everything will always just be okay...Talk to a teacher."
And let me tell you...a legacy like that? Why, that isn't hard at all.

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