Teacher, You Didn’t Sign Up for This


Dear Teacher,

Once you were younger and you decided to become a teacher.  You took your classes.  You did your practicums.  You student-taught.  You took your Praxis tests.  You got certified and then started off your teacher life.

Yes, you were younger once.

Whether it was 20 years ago or just last August, you were younger and you just didn’t know all that comes with being a teacher.

You just didn’t know what it was like to manage a class on your own.  And you didn’t realize you would not always be supported by administration for choices you are forced to make…or parents of students that would question your every move.

You just didn’t know what it would be like to keep up with planning deadlines, proving how everything aligns to standards, and making sure you have data-based evidence for everything you want to do… especially when it is for lessons that will change half-way through Monday because you are really great at monitoring and adjusting to the needs of your students.

You just didn’t know the struggles that some of your students would have.  And you did not understand how so many of the things that they do, say, and don’t do or say can stem from what is happening at home…and how hard it is to balance keeping class running while dealing with those things…and the decisions you would be forced to make because of it.

You just didn’t know that people who have never been in a classroom like yours would cause you so much stress in and out of your classroom.  And you didn’t understand how politics and bureaucracy would put up roadblocks and obstacles you do doing what is right for the sake of your students…forcing you to take a stand and fight battles that should not have to be fought.

You just didn’t know or  not see how difficult it would be to focus on student learning because the measurable results would be more important to the powers-that-be than the actual growth of the learners from year to year.  Standardized scores and data supersede what you know about students and what they need.

You just didn’t know.  You were too young to know.

And you didn’t sign up for this.

You didn’t sign up work through this.

You didn’t sign up for the struggle to be the teacher you know you need to be.

You didn’t sign up for this…

But…you do what you do anyway.

You teach.  You face the realities of your classroom, the education system, and the world.  And you fight, you work, you teach.  And because of this, you are slowly making a difference.

You might not be changing the system or the world…but you are changing the system and the world of each individual student that you show up for each and every day.  It is slow, but you are changing things for him, her, and them.

Everything that you didn’t sign up for is worth it.

Yes, it is not fair…but it is what you do.  It is what you are wired for…it is what you are made for.

DearTeacherLT2017 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

DearTeacherLT2017 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Don’t give up hope!  You are fighting a good fight.  Keep fighting and keep on teaching, Teacher!  This is what makes you awesome!  You rock!

Love, Teacher

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2 comments on “Teacher, You Didn’t Sign Up for This

  1. I may not have signed up for this, but I continue to teach BECAUSE of all of the rhetoric, political pressure, and people who just don’t get it that teaching is NOT a 9-5 leave the job at the job site, summers off, type of work!

    What do I make? Taylor Mali asks….

    I make a student who is in fear of not know if they will be taken out of my classroom UNDERSTAND that I am a momma bear (no pun intended) and I will NOT allow someone to come in to my classroom to take them away. If anyone wants to get at MY babies, they have to get through ME!

    I hope that I can make students who are fearful of family members not being able to come into the country a little less fearful and realize that not everyone feels the way that they see people acting on television.

    I make my room a sanctuary, when they are being done away with in these troubled times.

    I make my room a place where I still expect them to learn, even though they may be going through turmoil….I just let them know that they are able to take extra time as needed so that they can work through their issues but continue to learn.

    My students who I see turning into something that is not acceptable behavior-wise in my classroom, I talk with them myself, and when I feel like I’m in over my head I ask for help from my colleagues; the guidance counselor, the psychologist, my grade level administrator, and always, the parent.

    I let my families know that they have an ear that will listen to them and hold their hand when they just want someone to talk to and listen. I sit with the mothers during conferences, listening to their anguish when they talk about how much they want for their son/daughter to have a better life here in America; but they are unsure if they will be able to fulfill that promise in these times.

    I may not have signed up for all of the paperwork and heartache that a middle school teacher sees and experiences every day, day in and day out for 180 days (with her students) every school year; but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I LOVE my job, my kids, and my profession! I will NOT go down without a fight! I will NOT go quietly! I am a tiger, hear me roar!!!!!

    Michelle Behnfeldt Middle School Science Teacher Maryland

    On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 8:11 AM, Dear Teacher/Love Teacher wrote:

    > Dear Teacher/Love Teacher posted: “Dear Teacher, Once you were younger and > you decided to become a teacher. You took your classes. You did your > practicums. You student-taught. You took your Praxis tests. You got > certified and then started off your teacher life. Yes, you were you” >

    • Teacher Michelle, you ROCK! You said that better than I could. You are so right…many of us keep going and fighting BECAUSE of the things that we didn’t know. If we don’t fight these battles for the sake of our students and the future then who will? Oh, and thanks for making a reference to the Taylor Mali talk/poem. I love that! I have shared a video and comic book representation of it here at the blog, but I think it is worth sharing again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGKm201n-U4

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