First, I'll start with the parts of my job that I expected when I decided to become a teacher:
- Developing curriculum and planning lessons
- Delivering instruction
- Managing behavior
- Grading assignments
- Attending faculty meetings
- Being assigned to a variety of committees
- Triage nurse. You can often find me cleaning and bandaging cuts, looking at swollen eyes, rashy skin, and even occasionally extracting a finger from someplace it shouldn't have been stuck in the first place.
- Counselor. I deal with my fair share of tearful girls who have just been dumped by their boyfriends, or shunned by their former BFF's. I also watch for and report and suspected abuse that might be happening to a child outside of school.
- Nark. If you come to school high as a kite and reeking of marijuana I have to report it to the vice principal. I also have to report any rumors I hear about who smokes cigarettes or chugs Nyquil.
- HVAC technician. I work in a 52 year old building with no air conditioning and only 1 boiler. I also work on the 2nd floor where the heat tends to congregate all year long. I am constantly trying to keep the temperature of my classroom comfortable, even if it means opening my windows during a blizzard.
- Mediator. Between feuding kids and sometimes between a parent and child.
- Shameless self-promoter. I teach art. If kids don't sign up for art I don't have a job, so every year during registration I send letters home, hang posters in the halls and, beg, and plead for students to take my classes.
- Psychologist. Somewhat related to "counselor" but this one is more about observing behavior and figuring out why a kids acts the way he does and figuring out how I might be able to get through to him effectively.
- Decorator. Creating decorations for various school assemblies and functions. If my esteemed art professors from Westminster knew that I use glitter on regular basis they would take away my art degree.
- Special ed. teacher. This is one of my favorites. Sometimes in a sea of regular kids I get to work with some of the sweetest kids who are in a special ed. classroom all day with the exception of the hour they get to spend with me. I always look forward to seeing these kids because they can really brighten your day and change your perspective on life.
On particularly challenging days I stand in the hall during class change with my next door neighbor and we chant "we love our job, we love our job" over and over. Sometimes you need a reminder.