Blood, Sweat, Tears and Many, Many, MANY Dots

Of all the non-teachers in my life, Mr. Mimi really does seem to understand the life of a teacher as well as any non-teacher can.  The ups!  The downs!  The rants, the raves, the late nights, the so not 8-3 and summers off life that we live as teachers.  I really believe that spouses of teachers….wait supportive spouses of teachers deserve a trophy, a medal, some sort of bonus – anything for being the sounding boards that they are.  Seriously, Mr. Mimi is a troooooooper.

And then this happened:

Me: Ugh! 
Him: (continues to read his email)
Me: UGH!
Him: (still reading email)
Me: (clearing throat to maximize volume) UGGGGHHHHH!
Him: Something wrong?
Me: Oh, what? With me?  Where did you get that? 
Him: Seriously?
Me: Well, since you asked.  I am exhausted!  I have spent the last few days trapped in a room putting together classroom libraries.
Him: You love books.
Me: Yeah, but…I mean, this is intense!  Box after box after box…and they all have to be checked in, leveled, labeled, sorted…it’s insane!
Him: You love organizing.
Me: True.  But this was A LOT even for me.
Him: You almost have a doctorate and find putting dots on a bunch of books challenging?
Me: Wait, I’m not sure you understand.  We’re talking about at least a thousand books.  Every single book has to get a dot, every single dot needs to have a piece of packing tape put over it so the kids don’t pick it off.  Every.  Single.  Book.  Do you see my fingers?  I have literally bled all over that room!
Him:  It still doesn’t sound like a hard day…
Me: We need to stop talking now.

People can sympathize with the behavioral issues.  They can sympathize with the hours of grading papers.  They can try and understand how unappreciated teachers are.  They can feel for our early wake up times.  They can. 

But I don’t think any non-teacher will truly understand how much time and energy teachers spend organizing, cleaning, lifting, moving, hanging, stapling, taping, cutting, running, bending, wiping and basically doing anything and everything that needs to be done.  Whether it feels professional, in our job description or even clean.  We just roll up our sleeves and get it done.

So, to all my teacher peeps who are not only killing it every day in front of their friends and then doing more behind the scenes work than a group of four eager interns who are literally working for their next meal, I take my hat off to you. 

Although I don’t really do hats…

Can I salute you with a fabulous high heel?

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  • So very true. My husband is actually a teacher too, which helps- but he teaches PE and I teach kindergarten, so there are definitely differences about our jobs that we don't 100% understand.

    January 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm
  • I SO get this. As a techy and a librarian there is so much behind the scenes, cleaning, labeling that no one has any clue takes place. In and of themselves, these tasks are not difficult, but boy are they time consuming!

    January 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm
  • So true! My desk/lab bench is always a mess – stacks of papers, folders, work basket, soap, tissues, the usual! Yesterday the custodian told me she wanted to clean the desk top and asked me to clear everything off it. It took half an hour to sort and organize in the hopes I could find it again. This morning, I came back to the same dusty desktop I left last night. By the end of the day today, it was a mess again. But you KNOW I had to take time to clear it before I left in case she cleans it tonight. (Our custodian is truly awesome, and takes super care of us.)

    January 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm
  • Ugh. Stickers on all the books reminds me of when I worked at a daycare… they were in the process of merging with an after school program, and they wanted to make sure that all the toys owned by the daycare weren't mixed up with the after-school toys.

    My task? Label. Every. Toy. Seriously. Each and every Lego, each and every block…. it was insanity. I think I still am overly susceptible to getting high off of permanent markers…

    January 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm
  • Very true. I don't think my marriage would have lasted as long it has if we hadn't both been teachers. Now that I'm retired I listen to hours of stories from the working member of the family and I breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have to lose all that skin off the end of my fingers anymore.

    I've started volunteering in two different elementary schools – first grade. I go in…the teacher hands me a folder with "This is what I want you to do with the kids" stuff in it. After all the years of teaching I know what to do with all that stuff so I do it. Then I hand it back to the teacher and leave. No paperwork…no stress…just the fun of being with kids and helping them learn.

    These teachers rock…hard working, patient, loving, professional…all the things I strived for as a teacher…and they beam when I tell them how impressed I am with what they're doing.

    Here's an idea…Catch a colleague doing something awesome and let them know their appreciated.

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • OMG, I spent my Friday after school putting colored dots on the kids journals and reading bags, since I changed their reading groups and their literacy groups. My parter teacher and I have been "work wives" for 7 years, and we have a geat idea that if a sticky falls off a book in the class library, or if a page comes out of place, it just goes away…into the "creatabox"!!

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • Yup, just spent this afternoon with my own personal 5th grade son Book-Wizarding four tubs of books while he marked the GRL and binned them for me. Then I had to run to the book room to sneak off with some labels so I could mark the book tubs. Then, when he thought we were FINALLY leaving, I had to make copies for Monday's word study sorts. And – oh yeah – somebody has to feed the African dwarf frogs! I'm so thankful for my 11-year old secretary. 🙂

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • Oh so very true! I used to take a friend or roommate, then later my husband and eventually my teenage son to school – just once – for a full weekend day of "cleaning up & organizing" my classroom. It only takes once. THEN they get it!

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • I am new to your blog and just wanted to give you a shout out. While I haven't read all of your posts (yet!) I am really enjoying what I've read so far…especially your posts about testing. I teach 1st grade and I've about had it with all the testing, too. Keep up the great work…in the classroom and here on your blog, too. You make me laugh…and that's a good thing!

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • What you just described is EXACTLY the reason I have 6 boxes of brand-new books still sitting in my coat closet, not even opened. The thought of labeling each one of them is so daunting, that I can't bring myself to do it. Hey, you wanna come visit? 😉

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • One of my teacher friends likened it to laundry. You think you have the last load of laundry done, folded and put away. Then you realize you are wearing clothes that are dirty…and so it begins again. Just when you think you're done, you're actually not.

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • I love this post! You are so right! One year I got a grant for a very large listening center. I was spending soooo much time organizing and my wonderful husband made one comment too he spent his next day off doing inventory, labeling, organizing, etc in my classroom. He has NEVER complained since. 🙂 Those men, they have to learn the hard way. LOL

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • I think teachers have one of the most difficult jobs ever – Most of the women on my husband's side of the family are teachers and to hear their stories – wow..

    Love to you
    I've Become My Mother

    January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
  • LOL! "We need to stop talking."
    Spot on, as usual! My husband is (almost) understanding why I need my own personal bucket, sponges, Pine Sol, Lysol and tool box for the classroom. Almost…after 15 years.

    January 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm
  • Amen, sister! I think I get my room just so and then…….I come up with an idea I think would be more efficient . Always changing and organizing ………

    January 30, 2011 at 2:54 am
  • So totally true! My husband is pretty good, thank goodness. Would LOVE to know how you organize your library, level your books, etc. Plus if you have any great ideas for not "losing" your brandy new books that you spent hours labeling, leveling, etc. (and spending money on!)


    January 31, 2011 at 12:06 am
  • OMG!!! so we just switched over the the F& P leveling system last year, and of course we were using a different colored dot system before that so we had to take all the "OLD" dots off before we could put the NEW colors on! It has taken almost 2 years and I only have 2 tubs of books left to do!!!
    IF we switch leveling systems again… I will go COOCOO!!!

    February 18, 2011 at 3:48 am
  • As I'm sure you know, you are definitely NOT alone. I am so with you on this. *sigh* It's nice to have other people who really get your life as a teacher!! 🙂

    February 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm

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