tips for a successful school year

miss-shieldsAs we’re diving back into the fray of school, I wanted to take a second and offer some advice, and dispel some myths, for those of you who are married, dating, roommates, brothers, sisters, friends, parents or children of a teacher. I speak as an education professional who was in the classroom for six years (that was all it took for me to choose a different path within the school community), and as the spouse of a 20+ year veteran of lesson plans and grade grubbing.

1. Watch this video.

Watch it again ten times without stopping.
Now put it on repeat for eight hours, and that is first period.  My point is that your whole day is never as cute, or as exhausting as first period.

2.  Teachers do not get off at 3:00 and we don’t get summers “off.”  Classroom teachers work 80 hour weeks, and a “week” is 7 days.  Most classroom teachers have 9 month contracts which means they have to get summer jobs tutoring, working at camp, or teaching somewhere else.  At the end of the school year, teachers have about a week of down time before summer work begins. If they don’t have to get a second paying job, they do professional development.  It’s required whether or not they are working a second job, that they seek out and attend conferences, workshops, and programs to enhance their teaching.  It can seem like they have a ton of free time because they dictate their own schedules but trust me, they are working their asses off.

3.  Mark your calendars for three weeks before school starts.
During week one, don’t expect your teacher friend to go shopping or to the beach or to lunch on any random day.  They are already back in the classroom in their minds.
During week two it’s best to just not invite your teacher friend to play with you at all.  They don’t have time for fun anymore, and they start getting snippy around this time.
The week before school starts, leave them alone.  It’s not that they don’t want to talk to you, it’s that they want you to stop talking. Period.  If you live with them, stop asking them to do things.  Also it’s time to start doing your own laundry, cleaning, landscaping, shopping, pet care, child care, and DVR every show.  If all adults in the household are teachers, children know how to do these things by second grade.

4.  During the first month of school, you might want to get a hotel room if you live with a teacher.  If you choose to stay at home, pay attention to their mood when they get home from school.  If they’ve had a good day, listen to their stories, serve dinner, then leave them alone while they work their second shift.  If they’ve had a bad day, fix them a cocktail and go away quietly until you are summoned to fix a second cocktail.

5.  This is important.  Do not, even a little bit, try to tell them about teaching or how messed up the education system is.  No one knows better than they do A) how to do their jobs and B) how messed up the system is.

Lots of love and luck to my teachers.
Have a great 2015-2016!

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