There are a lot of things most people don’t know about teachers. Most people don’t understand that non-essential classroom decorations (posters, quotes, extra materials) are not paid for by the school. At times they don’t realize that teaching isn’t a 8-4 job, even if those are the hours for school. They see the long summers, the Christmas breaks, the consistent weekends off and they believe that teachers have it made. My dad used to say that teachers complain about their pay but they only work for nine months out of the year. After seeing me endure my first year of teaching, I think he re-evaluated and commented that teachers work pretty hard. Every job has its difficulties but people think they know everything that teachers must do because they have all experienced classroom teachers. The other side of the desk is a bit harder, I’ve learned.
The school year is just beginning and I feel tired already. Tonight was open house–where the parents go through a mock day and are in each class for 5 minutes. I’ve never been a big fan of it and always get nervous to speak to the parents. Tonight I was the least nervous I have ever been but there were still moments of anxiety.
The best part was when I would thank the parents for being the primary educators of their children in regards to the faith. My intention was to challenge them, encourage them, and applaud them for their efforts. It was wonderful to see the parents hear what their children probably never say to them. They see the battles to get their children to Mass and I catch a glimpse of the greatness of that action. One of the parents thanked me for what I do for the students. Despite my dislike for the open house in general, that makes it worth it. I love that I was able to encourage, however briefly, the parents in their vocation as parent. The rewards may not seem obvious but they will be eternal.
Since my older sister came home for home visit, I am realizing that I love the idea of the lay vocation. It is the leaven in the world. The sanctification of the world will only be possible, I believe, with the sanctification of the laity.