“You Get Summers Off”
Last week, I was at a get together catching up with people I don’t get to see often, but that I truly love. It’s a hard time of year; I had been busy all weekend with family obligations, it was report card time, and I was overall exhausted even without contemplating everything else on my to-do list before the end of the school year… but I was there at the party. As I was saying my goodbyes, I was explaining how I had to head out early because I had to go work on report cards. One person replied, with a bit of sass and an eye roll that was a bit too obvious, “You get summers off…” meaning, don’t complain, you have it pretty darn good. Another person quickly added “your summers probably aren’t long enough, though”. Two very different responses. Two very different views of what I do.
As I drove home, I kept thinking about that first little comment, and just how much it bothered me. I finally went to bed and when I woke up the next morning, it was the first thing that I thought of. I couldn’t shake it, so I did what I thought might help me process. I reflected and talked to some close friends and family about it. Why did it bother me so much?
Here’s the thing, unless you’re a teacher, you don’t understand. Even if you’re the spouse of a teacher, you don’t truly understand. No one can understand how much heart, time, and energy teachers put into their every day, unless they too are a teacher. And your comments, no matter how innocent you think they are, can be like a dagger to the heart. I know I am not the only one who’s heard comments like this, it happens far more frequently than I’d like, and we often just brush it off. I don’t, however, go around putting down other professions, nor do I feel the need to compare them. No matter what your work is, it is important, and dismissing what I do doesn’t help any of us. Just because you went to school, or have kids going through school, it doesn’t mean you understand.
I am not looking for sympathy, nor am I going to try to explain what my day to day looks like, because that would be pointless. Like I said, unless you’re in it, you don’t get it, and I won’t waste my breath trying to convince you (because chances are, if you’re one of those people who makes comments like the one above, my words won’t ever convince you).
My point though, is that we should always be kind. Always. Whether you understand my reality or not.
And hey, you just might find that by being kind, you get an overwhelming sense of joy yourself. Give it a try.
Oh, and one more thing, you could have become a teacher. 😉