My Annual Pity Party

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It doesn’t get any easier. Today marks the 10th first day of school that I don’t have butterflies in my stomach. I’m not full of nervous energy; I’m not second guessing my first day plans; I’m not worrying about spilling coffee on my carefully planned outfiIMG_2016t; I’m not frantically learning names; I’m not wondering if the online attendance program will work; I’m not wishing I’d paid a little closer attention to the SOP meeting; I’m not doing the most important job there is. I miss it desperately.

What am I doing? Moping. It’s an annual event.

Don’t misunderstand: I love my job. I believe it’s the 2nd most important job there is because I support teachers—the people with the most important job.

This year, I celebrate the first day of school vicariously through two special teachers, each beginning their careers teaching junior high. Meet Mr. Matt Smith and Ms. Sarah Stanley.

I grabbed the chance to be with them the Friday before school started. (You know, the day when you think 10,000 times, “I can’t get all of this done,” but somehow it gets done because the kids are coming on Monday either way.) They worked on walls, arranged and rearranged desks, laughed, worried, tried not to panic, gave each other moral support, welcomed nervous students who were picking up their schedules, and drank a lot of coffee.  It was beautiful.

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It’s the story of every teacher. In the weeks just before school starts, they participate in meetings and professional development, politely (OK, mostly politely) complying (OK mostly complying) and trying to be attentive, all the while thinking of the thousands of things they’ll do after hours in order to be ready. They work until they’re too tired to move, and then they spend two more hours doing “one more thing” before leaving the building at 8:15 p.m. Their spouses, kids, families, and friends know to either get busy helping or get out of the way because these teachers will not stop until they are ready to welcome kids.

Finally, the kids walk through the doors, and the teachers come alive with energy, pretending they aren’t bone tired, and push everything out of their minds to focus on kids. Lots and lots of kids, each with a different story, a different challenge, a different strength, and a different need.

Teachers, whether it’s your first year or 40th, thank you. You accomplish remarkable, heroic, unfathomable deeds.

Maybe someday I’ll find myself back in the classroom. Until then, I’ll play second fiddle to you any day.


Kay Shurtleff, GT/Advanced Academics @R10

Kay Shurtleff

Kay Shurtleff

Although my day job is educational consultant for GT/Advanced Academics and ELAR, I also spend ridiculous amounts of down time drinking tea and reading, blogging, tweeting, and playing with language. Writing is a natural outlet, mode of thinking, form of entertainment, and illuminator for me. I'm working on a PhD in gifted education right now, and I appreciate having this forum in which to kick around ideas. Thanks for stopping by G/T-time!

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One Response to “My Annual Pity Party”

  1. Judy O'Neal says:

    Well said Kay! I agree, teachers have the most important job in the world!

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