As a mom to a gaggle of kids, I’m a little consumed this time of year. I’ve spent hours at the store going over different school supplies lists and checking off stuff as I throw it in my cart. The total adds up in my head as I travel down each aisle, and I get a little sick to my stomach. I’m well over my budget and have a full cart before I even get to the aisle with the lunchboxes. I don’t even want to think about packing lunches for the kids each morning, and I’m exhausted just looking at the Pinterest posts on how all the good moms do it. I’m praying that no one laughs at my kids when they pull out their Lunchables.
We have six kids in our home that we are sending off to school this year—five of whom are girls. Do you know what it takes mentally to school clothes-shop for five girls? Aside from emptying our bank account at Target’s and Old Navy’s clearance sections, we also have to schedule eye doctor appointments for the teenagers because we fear they may have damaged their vision due to intense eye rolls.
My nights for the next nine months will be filled with trying to get dinner on the table at a decent hour while managing piles upon piles of forms I need to fill out, slips I need to turn in, meetings I need to attend, box tops I need to cut, and t-shirts I need to buy. And let’s not even talk about trying to find the lost library books that have completely vanished in the kids’ rooms.
Then there’s the emotional hit I’ll take when I drop my babies off with their new backpacks snugly hugging their bodies. I’ll quickly snap as many pictures as I can in an effort to catch this moment that will soon be gone forever. I’ll face an empty house when I return home, and while that can be a blessing for a few hours, it’s a quiet I haven’t experienced in months. I’ll miss my babies when they’re gone. The upside is that I’ll have a clean house, if only for a few hours, and I’ll have few moments to just sit and breathe.
Bottom line, sweet teachers: school just started, and I’m wiped out. I’m a little sad, and my bank account is definitely a little lighter.
Then I see you – and you’re not fooling me.
I see that you’re dressed in your nicest outfit, which I have no doubt you carefully planned and possibly changed a time or two. Your makeup is fresh, and every hair on your head is perfectly placed. Your smile is beyond inviting, and I almost blush as I walk into your room.
I see that you’ve gone all out. As I set my bags of supplies down on the desk, I see my child’s name written in the most beautiful handwriting, carefully added to her desk and sitting next to a princess cup to hold her pencils. Well done. I’ll admit that I’m completely overwhelmed by your room. Seriously, where does one get all of those alphabet letters, addition and multiplication cards, tubs for literally everything, and adorable banner above your desk? How many hours did you spend in this room before you decided it was ready?
I see every detail you’ve added to my child’s learning environment.
I see that you’ve spent a good amount of your summer and almost all of your “spare” money making sure your classroom is a warm and inviting learning place for all the precious children who walk into it. I know you had a supplies list that was much longer than mine and carefully checked off each item as you put it in your cart, knowing that you were well over budget. I’ll bet your cart was full with teaching supplies before you even made it to the lunchbox aisle and that you pray the other teachers won’t laugh at you when you pull out your Lunchable.
I see that the next nine months will be filled with trying to get dinner on the table at a decent hour while you manage piles upon piles of forms you need to fill out, slips you need to turn in, meetings you need to attend, box tops you need to count, and papers you need to grade. And let’s not even talk about trying to recover the lost library books that haven’t made it back to school yet.
I see the emotions behind your pretty smile. You’ve been anticipating these students since the bell rang on the last day of school last year. You eagerly awaited your class list and carefully went down and checked it out, name by precious name. Your classroom has sat empty for the past three months, and you’re excited to have it filled with tiny voices again. I see you patiently pose for pictures with each child as their parents fumble with their cameras, trying to focus through the tears. It will be a while before you get to just sit down in the quiet and take a deep breath, but I see you rejoice in that.
Bottom line, sweet teachers: school just started, and I’ll bet you’re wiped out and definitely a little lighter in the bank account; but I see you.
I see how hard you’ve worked before the first day of school even started. I see that you chose this job not to get rich or famous. I see that you chose this job because you love it and the kids, and because you know that the sacrifices you’ve made, money you’ve spent, and hours you’ve dedicated outside of that building are molding our younger generation to grow up to do big things.
Wonderful teachers, we’re in this together, and I see you.
This article was originally published in August 2015. It was updated to correct links and to reflect the current ACM and CMC branding.
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