Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy (Lack Of) Teacher Appreciation Week

So did YOU know it was teacher appreciation week? 'Cuz I didn't.

"But you're a teacher!" is what I'm sure you are thinking.

And yes, yes I am a teacher. However, it seems as if that alone does not qualify one for participation in this much needed celebration. I guess you also need to teach in the right place at the right time. Or perhaps I've been voted off the island. Either way, this week did feel so celebratory.

Not that it was particularly bad. It was the usual shananigans this week. Which normally, would be bearable....but during Teacher Appreciation week....oh hells no!

And before you go there, no, I am not another teacher complaining about my job. No siree. I will never be "just another teacher."

And before you go to that other dangerous place, it's NOT all about the intrinsic rewards of a child learning something new. Yes, that is lovely, but sometimes you just want a gold sticker for yourself.

I can only speak for myself, but I think there are a lot of other teachers out there who are extremely type A like yours truly. When I was little, I lost my shit for a shiny sticker. And if it was scratch and sniff (or scratch-'n-sniff if you want to be totally correct), well, that was just the motherload. It was a form of praise. Acknowledgement of my achievements. No, wait, PUBLIC acknolwedgement of my achievements. The public part was important. Everyone could observe that I had clearly done something to merit a sticker. And the bigger, shinier and smellier it was, the bigger, smarter and more wonderful your deed must have been. It was like the elementary school equivalent of stuffing your bra or sticking a sock down your pants. It gave you that (false) sense of self-worth.

Today, I liberally apply stickers to my students. On their foreheads, hands, papers, folders...if it stands still, works hard and behaves, I will lavish it with sticker-related praise. And yes, I am the only teacher who hands out the coveted scratch-'n-sniff.

So is it any wonder that I would like a card, a smile, a pat on the back during a week specifically designated for just such activites?

I don't think it is. And really, I don't need a huge gift or catered luncheon (unless you're offering, because then, I'll take it)...but would it really kill the administration to give a specific compliment? Or would it be too much to ask the PTA (who regularly bitches for a larger voice in school politics...evidently this voice is not loud enough or it is not praise-oriented) for a card? Again, I don't think it is.

Let me tell you about the highlights of my days this week:

Monday - The photo copier was broken. In addition to being in located in the furthest reaches of the fact, it may actually be in an "annex" or ate all my paper including my original. Once I wrestled the orignial from the vice-like jaws of said photocopier, I brought my crumpled work to the office where I was told by an aide that I need to learn my place which is evidently no where neat the nicer, newer, functioning copy machine. She neglected to wish me a happy Teacher Appreciation Week.

Tuesday - The Weave came into my classroom to ask if I had any drawings that my class had done after a field trip we had taken to a ballet. Oh, it was a trip we took SIX WEEKS AGO. She didn't understand why I no longer had any of the children's drawings (um, maybe I sent them home with the kids Einstein?) and then demanded that I come up with a class set of ballet trip drawings by the end of the day. Maybe AFTER I rustle up some drawings, she'll wish me a happy Teacher Appreciation Week....

Wednesday - As I sat in my classroom, correcting work on my free period, three mice decided to make an appearance. Yet, perhaps in honor of teacher appreciation week, instead of simply darting across the classroom, they chose to run around on the carpet in an ellaborate dance. Maybe it was just for Teacher Appreciation Week, maybe it was to welcome the new spring weather, maybe it is just becuase my clasroom is now totally infested and they have nowhere else to go.

Thursday - I was treated to a meeting with the Bacon Hunter in which our team was supposed to collaboratively plan our upcoming math lessons. All good, right? You would think so...but then the Bacon Hunter dominated the entire meeting and blew us away with her suggestions. She actually spent our time informing us that we should teach lesson 9.1, then 9.2, follow up with 9.3, move into 9.4 and then (gasp) end the week with lesson 9.5. Seriously, how does she come up with this stuff? It's like she was JUST READING THE MANUAL OUT LOUD. And then she wished us a Happy Teacher Appreciation, she didn't, she just continued counting by ones.

Friday - I avoided most of the adults I work with like the plague, only allowing myself contact with my colleagues who are lovely, hard working and make me smile. I threw myself into the day and decided that I would wish myself a happy Teacher Appreciation Week by having a fabulous and enjoyable day with my kids. At the end of the day, Curly came up to me and said, "Thanks for the compliment you gave me during Writers Workshop today, Mrs. Mimi. I've learned so much from you this year."


And there's my teacher appreciation.


Em said...

You've gotta love Curly! At least you know that not everything you do goes unnoticed. Curly is your gold star. :)

sandy shoes said...

I'm sorry! Gah, the PTA at your school sucks. We put on a big breakfast on Monday and lunch today for our teachers. My Bean made a little card, and everything.

Just so you know: I appreciate your work, and I don't even need to know where you're doing it. I wish there were more like you.

(Also, I hope you will not find this obnoxious -- I'm only telling you because I think you'll care to know. It's mother lode. Comes from mining... striking the "mother lode" of mineral-bearing rock.)

Jen Barney said...

From one kick ass teacher to another....

John Deere Mom said...

Dude, that sucks! Real teacher appreciation week begins the day after school is out, right? I know you will appreciate that!

K. Karr said...

Click on the link above! I love reading your blog. I too used to work in a setting like yours. And had many teacher appreciation weeks that went as you described. I moved to another district and am still astounded at the "immense festivities"! I shared your "Curly" story with several friends! They absolutely loved it!

Anonymous said...

As a former teacher, I also liked being appreciated, but I have to say that I think some of these made-up weeks have to go. I mean American Education Week in the Fall, Teacher Appreciation Day (which I actually think was Tuesday) was also Nurses Appreciation Day, Charter School Week, etc.

Good schools appreciate their teachers year-round and don't need a special a week or a day. Sort of the way I feel about African-American History month - it shouldn't be segregated off to one month (the shortest one interestingly enough) but included all the time.

You are so right that it can be something small that makes the difference.

17 (really 15) more years said...

Clearly your teacher appreciation week was as good as mine. In all fairness, our PA did do a (very) little something for us each day, and gave us gift cards yesterday. Administration, on the other hand, did absolutely nothing, which, come to think of it, is a total travesty.

My real teacher appreciation? When one of my lovelies e-mailed me a picture of the dress she wants for the senior dance and asked me if I thought it was pretty because, "she trusts what I think".

abcr123 said...

Well, I was blessed then. Our PTA was great. The admin, did nothing, not even a word of thanks.

The best gift=a note from a former student who lives out of our district.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. In my school this year we were given an outside-the-school-lunch with a twist; we got to pay for it ourselves out of our forever shrinking salaries. As that was not enough we come to find out that next school year I will have to "share" my miniature classroom(about a quarter of a regular size classroom) with several other teachers. Where am I supposed to place my students and/or my materials??? By the way, I am one of your beloved out of classroom teachers :)

Anonymous said...

Our student council bough lunch for all the staff on Wednesday. It is a short day. My team did not show up (except me) They made an announcement too. The Super was there and made a short speech. Nice (and boring). Everyone noticed the 4th grade team was missing and kept asking me where they were.??? I don't know. Well, they did come. About an hour later. All the food was gone and everything was cleaned up. They were mad. Can you believe it? They were working in their rooms, heard the announcement and ignored it and then were mad because they didn't get any food. Bums
Mystery Teacher

Jules said...

aw, happy teacher appreciation! i certainly appreciate your hard work in the classroom as well as your hilarious blog!
i'm glad curly gave you such a nice compliment. :)

I hope you told the Weave you would NOT be giving her those drawings!

Cathy said...

loved this post!! i can sooo relate to everything you write even though i'm on the other side of the world :)

Anonymous said...

well Happy Appreciation week! It's amazing how caught up and busy we all can become. I have worked with some teachers because I am still in my undergraduate program but I completely know where you're coming from. I've been with teachers who've had these kinds of weeks, if not even worse. However, I don't think they were having these weeks on teacher appreciation week! Take some time off for yourself!!

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