I think it’s the time of the year. Almost summer vacation, but not quite close enough. Still lots to do. State tests still on the horizon, and getting closer by the hour. Then there are the issues children are facing in their homes. Crowded homes. New babies. Unemployed parents. The need for new spring clothing but no money. More neighborhood violence. There have been three killings in the southwest community in the last month. Many shootings. It all adds to the trauma.
The teachers are feeling the trauma, too. It affects their classrooms. Outbursts. Meltdowns. Inappropriate behavior. Inattention. Some of the teachers are asking for leaves of absence. The testing season is here and they just can’t handle it. How will that affect the scores?
I have no solutions, and that hurts my heart. I want to wave the magic wand and make it all better. I really hurt for the teachers right now. In a couple of weeks, California has what it calls, Day of the Teacher, when all teachers are shown some appreciation for what they do. In the well-to-do schools, parent clubs put together lovely breakfast or lunch buffets. The children bring gifts to the teachers. The administration makes a big deal of their teachers. In the hardscrabble inner city schools, not so much. It’s the tyranny of the urgent, and while attempts are made to honor the teachers, more pressing items must be attended to. Site funds must be spent on the students’ urgent needs.
I found a gift box of post-it notes with a super hero theme. The store was able to get four boxes for me to give to the four first grade teachers with whom I work on a weekly basis. I would love to give these super hero notes to all the teachers, but I’m a retired teacher on a pension. The funds just aren’t there for that extravagance.
Although planning to give these boxes to the teachers the week of teacher appreciation, I changed my mind after seeing the disposition of the teachers. I wrapped the boxes, selected some special note cards, and then wrote this on each one:
Super heros are asked to save the world.
Super héros go to the hardest places.
Super héros are tasked with the impossible.
Super héros use their wit and instinct to overcome chaos.
Super héros never give up.
YOU are a super hero, saving the world, one child at a time.
Not much, but I hope it keeps them coming back for a few more weeks. That they will know there are those who see the hard work they are doing.