Growing up in Bellevue, Nebraska I always considered teachers as the role model, a person of trust and care. And in all my life, I have one teacher that will always be my favorite and stay dear to my heart. Her name is Mrs. Knight. She still to this day asks me to call her Janet, but I could never get myself to call her that lol.
I fast forward about 17 years of my life and I am now a Special Education teacher for one of the most over populated growing districts in San Antonio Texas; or should I say most known district. I think about how much has changed since I graduated from high school (which was eight years ago) and what my mentality and expectations were (for myself and what expectations my principal had for the students). Our high school had a graduation rate of 99 percent. Our principal, Mrs. Custard, bent forward and backwards for the students and was in the hallway each and every day.
I look at my daily obstacles, successes, mistakes, and relationships, I have as a teacher. The responsibility and lack of respect, feels infinite at times. These days, especially here, in San Antonio, my job seems to be at the bottom of the barrel. Everyone is covering their asses FIRST before anything. I am always pulled from a class to cover another teachers class or to hall monitor for a test or to administrate a test. My name is never on a child’s class schedule because I am considered a “collaborative teacher or special education teacher” and the content teacher (subject teacher) is consider to be the “teacher of record”. So in other words, their job is more important than mine. Even though we both have equal obligations to kids. I am not provided a desktop computer or printer in the classroom, even though I have to print ARD paper work, failure reports, weekly progress reports, lesson plans, and other daily expectations. I am expected to find a computer lab (that is not taken up by other teachers and classes) that I can print all of my paper work.
How can my students consider Mrs. Rodriguez to be on the same level as the content teacher when I am not on their schedule, I’m called away from classes, and the respect is far less (as if I’m incompetent, or ignorant). I wish we were valued and truly not taken for granted… I enjoy learning about students and their endeavors. I see myself as I saw Mrs. Knight in my life. But society is changing, and our importance and impact is not valued or appreciated. Bring an apple for a teacher the next time they cross your mind. It may be to your surprise what little difference it makes to their life; because at least they know, you thought of them.
The truth is, every doctor, lawyer, social worker, engineer, astronaut, teacher, philosopher, therapist, entrepreneur, plumber, carpenter, interior designer, are ALL educated through a classroom before college.