You know you’re a teacher when… this post makes perfect sense! #teacherproblems

 There are days when I know that I have the best job in the world.
And those days typically fall between the middle of June and the middle of August.
 
Which is how you know that I’m a teacher.
 
 Because I am a teacher, I know that everyone brings his or her own set of experiences to the table.  We are all a unique part of the rich fabric of society and all that crap.

  

But the reality is, when you’re a teacher, you’re living a very different life from people who work in the “real world.”*
 
*Their term, not mine. Anyone who tells me that they have a “real” job when I tell them that I’m a teacher can expect a swift punch to the face. Seriously. Can you read this? Thank a freaking teacher. You’re welcome.
 
For those of you who are also in the trenches, I salute you. Enjoy.
 
For those of you who aren’t, use this as a guide to identify teachers and therefore know which individuals deserve your respect. Long gone are the days when teachers were required to be single women of virtue, but even without the schoolmarm dress and hairdo, there are certain tells that will allow you to spot a teacher in the wild.

 

You know you’re a teacher when:

  •   You have the strongest bladder of anyone you know. 
  • You know that yelling isn’t necessary. The power of your eyes alone can silence even the worst class. Looks may not be able to kill, but they can certainly tell you to sit down and STFU.
 
  • You think Michelle Obama’s side-eye is impressive… for a non-teacher.
  • You are an expert at hiding things in Facebook pictures. When scholars and historians look back at the social media revolution, they’ll think that standing with a hand behind your back at a bar or concert was a popular picture pose, such as the Napoleonic hand-in-the-coat stance.

Not so. It just means we’re held to a higher standard than normal people and are not allowed to be photographed near anything containing alcohol, even though we’re legally allowed to consume it.

  • You use more acronyms than a covert government organization. “Oh no, I can’t make the pre-BTSN IB/AP PLC during STEP because my RT booked me into a T2 MYP training with my AP and SDT about whether PARCC has BCRs and ECRs on it like the old HSAs and what the MOD looks like for IEPs and 504s.” THAT SENTENCE ACTUALLY MAKES SENSE TO TEACHERS! 
  •  You develop an ulcer from all of the coffee you need to keep you alive. Crippling pain in your stomach and sixty more Huck Finn essays to grade? Oh well, make it a venti, please!

  • You know that there is no hell worse than grading. Dante had no idea what he was talking about. The inner circle of hell is an endless stack of essays filled with grammatical errors and helicopter parents arguing every point with you.
  
  • You have an intimate relationship with at least one Xerox machine in the building and feel it should buy you dinner after the amount of time you’ve spent with your bodily appendages inside of it.
 
  • Any unlabeled food in your department office is fair game. It doesn’t matter if they’re stale, cookies are cookies. 
  • People who let you cut in front of them to run off 30 quick copies are gods. People who say they don’t have a lot to copy but actually do deserve to be thrown in a dungeon. People who jam the copy machine and leave it jammed deserve execution.
  • You get WAY more excited about snow days than the kids do.
  • You start hoping for snow in September.
  •  Back to School ads over the summer are scarier than horror movies.
  • Your signature has morphed into something completely unintelligible from the number of passes that you’ve signed.
  • You have become a human lie detector. “Oh your dog ate your homework? Nice try.” “Your grandma died? If I call your mom right now is she going to tell me the same thing? No? Didn’t think so.” “Your leg is broken? No way, that’s a minor fracture, I don’t care what the doctor says!”
  • You tell adults to put their phones away out of habit. And they do it. 
  • You have a Pavlovian response to bells of any kind. They aren’t the knell that summons Duncan to heaven or to hell—they mean you can run to the bathroom or that you have 45 minutes left until you can run to the bathroom.
  • You got the Macbeth reference above. 
  • Why yes, Diet Coke IS an acceptable form of currency. 
  • You have been exposed to every germ known to man and several that aren’t.
  • You spend more money on hand sanitizer annually than the GNP of many mid-sized nations. 
  • You ask a question and the entire class freezes, leading you to wonder if they secretly think you’re a T-Rex and can’t see them if they don’t move.
  • You can type without looking at the keyboard or screen. The computer has autocorrect, the kids do not.  
  • You’ve been called “mom,” even if you don’t have any kids.  
  • You have a preternatural ability to sense what’s happening behind you. This would make you an excellent driver, if you weren’t so sleep deprived.
  • You never sleep well on Sunday nights, even when there’s no school the next day.
  • You have students who tell you that they want to teach and you have to fight the urge to yell, “NO! Do something where you’ll earn money! Save yourself while there’s still time!” 
  • You understand that Murphy’s Law dictates that as soon as you are out in public someplace where seeing students and/or their parents would be disastrous, you will see students AND their parents. Who will post that they saw you on social media. Sometimes with pictures.
  • You despise light neon pen colors with an unabashed hatred. 
  • Calculating tips at restaurants is easy because 15% is the amount you take off for a late assignment. 
  • You know that taking a day off is much more effort than going to work sick.
  • You are the subject of someone’s dinner table conversation every night of your life. 
  • You love your kids, even on the days when they make you want to tear your hair out.
  • You make a difference every single day. 

     
     
     
     

    If Luck is a lady, Karma is her trashy illegitimate cousin (Back to School Night)

    Tonight is one of my most dreaded nights of the year: Back to School Night.

    I don’t dread it because I’m specifically scared of meeting my students’ parents en masse. (Although I DO sometimes worry that they’re going to take one look at me and start laughing hysterically and ask, “No, really, where’s our kids’ ACTUAL teacher?”)

    I dread it because I was the kid who used to send my dad after the teachers I didn’t like when he went to my school’s Back to School Night.

    And if I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that if Luck is a lady, Karma is her illegitimate cousin who’s too trashy to even be cast on Jersey Shore.

    In general, Back to School Night has been fine for me. Because I run the school newspaper, I wind up speaking mostly to parents who I’ve already known for a couple of years. So for my newspaper classes, parents usually come in, hug me, then ask how they can help support us. In other words, they’re wonderful and I love them.

    My English classes are a little scarier. With a room full of kids, it’s easy. I am clearly in charge. I know it. They know it. Piece of cake. With a room full of adults, some of whom are old enough to be MY parents, I don’t feel like I’m in charge. Especially because I get asked every year by at least one parent how old I am. And if you’ve been reading my blog faithfully, you know that I do NOT like to talk about my age.

     And in a couple of disturbing cases, I’ve been asked out.  Even if the parents are good looking and single (which hopefully they are if they’re asking me out), I’m not exactly ready for a high school aged stepchild.

    The trick is to have enough to talk about to fill the whole ten minutes without room for a lot of questions. Because if you talk too fast (which I am constantly guilty of), you’ll have six minutes left for questions. And no one ever has general questions about the class. The questions are always specific to their child (and you can’t answer ONE of those without answering all of them), or they’re policy questions about the county or the school, and I never know the answers to those.

    Usually I come away from Back to School Night knowing that I did a great job. But every once in awhile, a parent comes in with a grudge. The worst of those was at my old school. I was talking about the books that we were reading in the class, and one mother interrupted me to say that she found our choice of books inappropriate (Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird).

    I tried to be honest and say that while Of Mice and Men isn’t one of my favorites, I think To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best books ever written. This particular mother argued that the kids should be reading more contemporary choices. I said that I agreed that using books that they were already interested in reading, such as the Harry Potter books (which were HUGE at the time), would be useful in getting kids to develop a love of reading, I didn’t think that the county, who selected our books, agreed with that idea, but I encouraged her to take it to them.

    Apparently this was a big mistake.

    The next day, I was called down to my principal’s office during a planning period and told we had a serious problem. The mother who had criticized the book choices went up to my principal after my class, absolutely livid, and claimed that I was promoting Satanism.

    I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

    Then, my principal told me that we had an even bigger problem with her other complaint about me, and that it was something that I was going to have to deal with.

    Her complaint?

    I was too young.

    And my principal told me this completely deadpan. It took me a good five minutes to realize he found the situation funny.

    I’ve never had any situations like that since then, and I usually get emails from parents the following day telling me that they loved my enthusiasm or see why their kids love my class. Which is a great ego boost.

    But I’d still rather be home gearing up to watch Jersey Shore. If it runs late, I really hope the parents will understand that I need to get home to watch that. Their kids are my top priority from 7:25am until 2:10pm. The fight between Snooki and Angelina is going to be my priority tonight from 10pm until 11pm.

    I’m not going to tell them that though. If liking Harry Potter means I was promoting Satanism, I don’t even want to begin to think about what liking Jersey Shore is promoting.

    Team Snooki all the way!