In one of my less productive moments of the day, I showed my husband a Facebook illustration of a woman turning her face in distress and the caption said something like For teachers, August is like one long Sunday night.
He looked at it twice–blankly. I said, “You can tell that you never taught school. You know, Sunday nights for teachers. They start to think about what unexpected things will pop up during the week.”
“Oh, okay,” he said, but he didn’t really get it.
You have to teach to get it and if you teach in an urban district taken over by the state (maybe Camden?), you really, really get it.
No matter how much you love to teach, how much you love the kids, what a great teacher you are, you will have those Sunday night butterflies.
I’m not going to say that you worry that your car window might get smashed, that a mouse will run across the room or that the pencil sharpener will stop working. Nor would I say that you might have a great lesson that will change the lives of your students, but there will be a fire drill or a lock down. Who would believe me if I say that every day new and unexpected demands appear on your school e-mail?
Would your co-workers or you get transferred or laid off? Would evaluators pop in? Would all the excessive testing prevent your students from learning enough to pass the tests?
This is a tiny peek of stress producers that might produce those Sunday night anxieties.
However, when you walk into school on Monday mornings and you greet staff members and the students, you lose those butterflies because you will be too busy.
I’m not going to have those Sunday night butterflies or month of August butterflies because I retired. However, I won’t forget them.
Written from Camden, NJ, Marguerite Ferra, retired teacher ( Ah! )