By Noel Hincha – A long day of crying, boogers, laughs, and academics. Today, the teacher yelled at you for not sharing properly. Today, the teacher scolded you for not staying in line. Today, the teacher told you to not forget your homework. Kindergarten is rough, but the day is done.
You hop into the car as your mother habitually details, “How was your day? Oh – well today, I gently told a child to share, guided a rambunctious first grader back in line as we walked down the hallway, and reminded everyone about their homework.” In this moment, you remember you can’t escape: your parent is a teacher.
Alas, here are a few memories to reminisce:
- You were perpetually caught off guard hearing others address your mom as Mrs. To be honest, as a child, your parent was actually a celebrity. Everywhere you went, be it the mall or a restaurant, you were bound to run into people – former students. Mrs. this, Mrs. that; however, it was never addressed to you, and now, only mildly confuses your senses. Should I be calling you, “Ms. Mom?”
- While still out in public, your parent commanded the attention of small children. There was a child misbehaving in line? Supermom-teacher to the rescue. A temper tantrum in the middle of the mall? Superdad-teacher to the rescue. Your parent knew how to brainwash even your second grade friends into using sanitizer or taking turns.
- You never had to shop for school supplies because they were hoarded at your house. Back to school shopping meant wander around the house and pick up a few extraneous academic utensils: safety scissors, double sided tape, binders, loose-leaf paper, pens, markers. Anything and everything was available and hoarded from previous years because your parent knew there was bound to be budget cuts in the future – save now.
- On that note, stickers were the choice of decoration. If there was ever need for a reminder or random note, it was sure to have stickers on it; even calendars had stickers on them. There were packets of every variety: animals, plants, letters, smiley faces, and the newest fad of pop culture – a side-eye to Frozen. Further, your friends envied you for your decked out notebook, obviously covered in more stickers. Not everything that glitters is gold.
- Mailed coupons were not for groceries, they were for teaching essentials. After a strenuous day, the mail lay by the front door. Most people found coupons for their local grocery store, BestBuy, or delivery restaurants; however, if your parent was a teacher, the coupons were for the local teaching supply store. In essence, this meant frequent, domestic field trips to the nearby Learning Shop.
- Before you went back to your school, you went back to your mom’s school. It involved heavy, manual labor. Why? Because whoever stored the room away for the summer never puts things back where they were supposed to go. Why was there a table in the corner and a cabinet with its doors facing the wall? Where did all the puzzles and posters go? These were all valid questions for you to answer, and then, fix.
- Every room in your house had secret compartments for sanitizer, lotion, and animal crackers. You walked into your room after another stressful day at school, without realizing it, you reached for the sanitizer placed conveniently to the side of the door. You walked from your room to dinner, animal crackers in hand, and sat down; “Go, wash your hands. You just touched the door knob.” Don’t fret, if the sanitizer dried out your hands, there was always lotion lying around. Please, wash your hands.
- The home was a commendable library. Every open surface area was covered with books. Basically, it was no surprise that you started reading Harry Potter by age five. If one were to stand in the middle of your home, every degree and angle a body can turn would meet a book. A plethora of dictionaries, fiction, biographies, newspapers, children’s literature, textbooks, and notebooks. The amount of paper was probably an immense fire hazard.
- There was a family excursion to Madison when the unmentionables happened. 2011 – Remember when your mom called for a future budget cut? It happened. Teacher unions, among others, were battling a small problem, which is a slight understatement. Luckily for you, this meant a few days off of school to visit Madison. In consequence, during this memorable era, you may have even been on TV.
- You appreciate education. Complaints are acceptable every now and then, but because it is engraved in your mind, you know you are the future and education – although it should be a right – is a privilege. Through everything, it is almost innately known that you are where you are because of your education, and you don’t take it for granted. In fact, you advocate for education and further value its role in society. You understand that literacy creates power of the individual and that education creates a holistic being. Teachers are the respectable individuals that foster the future of our world.