Teachers should have warning lights similar to those found on a car’s dashboard system. I drove my husband’s car out of town this past weekend; at one point it flashed a light in the dashboard and a message popped up saying “Ignition two hour warning.” I called my husband to ask what that meant as I have never seen such a warning before. He said it is just a warning to alert the driver that they need to take a break. That made me think about teachers – we need a dashboard alert system!! If only we had a message pop up that told us to take a break!
Everyone knows a teacher’s day is full of nonstop action: talking, thinking, redirecting, direct instruction, recess duty, grading papers, pulling small group, putting bandages on 57 fingers every day for the most miniscule of injuries, answering the phone, picking up trash off the floor (again!), mediating arguments, and the list just goes on….. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a warning system to let us know we were reaching the breaking point? A little light that flashed so we could sit down for 5 minutes in silence, someone who automatically showed up so we could run to the bathroom after drinking 34 cups of coffee (if you actually get to finish your first cup!), perhaps a chance to sit in a recliner and put our feet up after walking 2.8 miles inside the classroom before the kids even go to specials. Am I dreaming? Or just plain nuts? Probably a little of both.
The reason I was out of town is because it was Veteran’s Day weekend and we had an extra day off from school (THANK YOU, VETERANS!! For more than just an extra day off, but for the ability to HAVE a day off). So up to the mountains the family went for a little fresh air, pretty scenery, and much needed family time. I ended up being able to take the day before our school holiday off, so I had four days in a row off (sweet!!!). However, I worked almost 14 hours the day prior to not working to make sure the day went smoothly for my grade level team and the sub that was covering. I had to make sure the students had plenty of work – and then some – to keep themselves busy so the sub could just focus on classroom management. I made copies, printed off extra articles in case someone’s computer didn’t work, left notes on each class for the sub, etc. In addition to that, I had to water the plants, feed the snake, fix the jammed pencil sharpener, restock the personal needs drawer and the bandaid bag, find a new box of tissues, put the lab tables back in position as they tend to move closer to the front of the room by the end of the day, and finally make sure that my desk was presentable.
I was definitely running on “low fuel” by the time I left. I’m pretty sure I also had low tire pressure, and the check engine light was on. Makes you wonder how long we ignore all the warning lights, doesn’t it? But the extra work was worth it – my students were in good hands and I had a great family weekend.