I once got into a huge fight with Seth when I was pregnant with Matty about whether or not Matty (who in this hypothetical situation was a Lebron-level basketball player) would go to college or go straight into the NBA. I, of course, said there was no way he would ever skip college. Seth, of course, argued that he could always go to college later. Pshhhhtt. The argument actually got so intense I was crying when it ended with me storming out of the room. (I was pregnant and we had just got done watching 12 Years a Slave, okay?!) At the time I was so irrationally worried that I had just procreated with a man who didn’t value education as much as I do, a man who would let our kids go through life uneducated just to make a couple cool mil(lion dollars). But, at the end of the day, the only person who can make that choice is Matty – if we’re lucky, he’ll respect our opinions enough to consider them.
But if we’re REALLLLY lucky, both of our boys will have teachers who’ll instill a love for learning within them. Teachers who, despite being paid crap and working longer days than most, will love our kids as if they were their own, push them to succeed, nurture their curiosity, share with us our desire for them to be better than we are and more than they think is imaginable. Teachers who will encourage them to imagine and dream and reach, even as they’re stifled by budgets and budget cuts, asinine expectations, regulations and extremist parents. Teachers who will still smile with them, laugh with them and find joy in them regardless of their personal and occupational circumstances. Teachers who will protect them in our absence and think of them in their absence, even as they drink cheap wine and curse their career choice. Teachers who teach because they want to do better and make a difference. Teachers who silently and tirelessly fight the good fight and bite their tongue when people justify their crappy pay and crappy hours with, “Well at least you get Summers off.”
Teachers who will inspire my kids to continue their education long after their formal education is over.
We’ve been lucky so far with our boys’ teachers. They have been such a blessing and they probably have no idea how much they’ve meant to us. In college, I worked at a childcare center and at the time I couldn’t have ever realized the level of trust those parents must have had in us to care for their children all day, or what a compliment it was to be asked to babysit. Nothing other than having to drop off my babies into the hands of near strangers could have made me realize what a magical thing it is to have teachers you trust and love. And because of this experience, I also realize how special it is to want to and to be able to love another person’s child like they’re your own. I have a lot of friends who are amazing teachers and they pay a big price to do what they love – emotionally, financially and socially. As a society, we take our teachers for granted. We treat them terribly and in doing so we do a disservice to our kids. I can’t change the system but I can say thanks. So…
THANK YOU to all of the amazing (and amazingly tired) teachers out there. I know it shouldn’t take a holiday for me to say thank you but, trust me, I’m thankful every day. You do deserve a holiday and then some.