Lately it seems that, everything I read or see on the news focuses on teachers and education.
I know there is other news happening, the Middle East is always in the news, earthquakes in New Zealand, The Oscars, the weather, but when I hear the words, teacher, education, and budget cuts, my interest is suddenly piqued.
There is constant debate on whether or not our public schools are doing a good job educating our nation's children. People in authority who claim to be experts in what our schools need put unrealistic benchmarks in the way and in the process take the creativity out of teaching.
Teachers in Wisconsin are fighting for their negotiating rights, but more so their livelihoods and their ability to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Can the rest our state governments be far behind? The education issues are endless and they aren't going away anytime soon.
I read a very discouraging blog post this morning titled I Don't Want to be a Teacher Anymore. It's a good read, but a sad one. Thankfully I don't feel this way, I love my job. I hesitate to even call it a job because I don't think of it that way. I go to school each day and know I'm going to love being there. Even when I have a particularly difficult day and believe me, those happen, I can't wait to go back the following morning. It's been a tough year with a lot of changes but I love what I do because of the amazing people I get to do it with, and of course because it's all about the kids.
Because of all the negativity I see and read it's very easy to become disenchanted with the profession and although I've never questioned my choices to become a teacher I can certainly see how others do.
However, a very interesting thing happened to me yesterday in the most unexpected of places.
I took a trip to Target for a few essentials. Conditioner, laundry detergent, band-aids. I always take a quick trip down the bargain aisle in the front of the store. There are deals to be had there and you just never know what little treasures you'll find. I found a package of flower seeds, some gardening tools for a school project, two strings of light up Easter eggs to decorate the playhouse, and 18 adorable little metal sand pails for my Have you Filled a Bucket Today project. One for each child in my class. I put all of it into the carriage without a second thought of the twenty-three dollars I was about to spend. I never go to Target without purchasing something to be used in my classroom. Sometimes it's little metal buckets, sometimes paper towels and cleaner. Like most teachers I do it knowing reimbursement will never come.
I made my way to the check out aisle to the cashier. I've seen her here before. She's talkative and friendlier than most. It's apparent she loves her job too so we had something in common.
She noticed my 18 little buckets and Easter lights and said, "you must be a teacher."
I told her that I taught kindergarten here in Salem and then...she thanked me. Thanked me for being a teacher!
She acknowledged the money she sees teachers spending on our classrooms. She told me how most people just don't realize how much teachers spend and the dedication they have in making sure our children have the things they need to succeed. She said, you are making a difference in the lives of those children and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.
This cashier, this friendly woman gets it. She understands.
As I grabbed my bags to leave I thanked her.
She said, "Oh, don't thank me and don't forget what I told you, you are making a difference."
You can't put a price on appreciation, but yesterday I'm pretty sure I got my $23.00 worth.