Back-to-school time means stocking up on school supplies for your kids: notebooks, pencils, you know the gist by now.
When I was a teacher there were always school supplies I wanted to add to the list we sent my students’ parents, but I never could get up the courage to include.
During the first few days of school — aka, the honeymoon period — the kids are quiet and well behaved. Then reality hits. The weeks leading up to Christmas vacation and spring break are the worst and ear plugs for teachers are almost a requirement. They block out overall noise and eliminate hearing repeated questions like, “Can I use the bathroom?” and “Does this need to be done in complete sentences?”
Bottles, gallons, buckets — whatever quantity you can find. Face it, kids are disgusting (except yours — I’m sure they’re perfect). Classrooms are filled with nose pickers, scab pickers, scab eaters (yep), cough-in-handers, post-potty non-hand washers and free-range sneezers. After all that nastiness, they pass up their papers to the teacher and he or she gets to touch every one of them.
Every day, someone needs a Band-Aid. I eventually had to enact the “No blood, no Band-Aid,” rule in my classroom.
Helpful for those Friday afternoons when students are a little out of control. Or after you have told the same kid to stop talking for the 500th time in a row.
Teachers have to eat, too.
Teaching is one of those crazy jobs where you can’t even decide for yourself when you get to pee. When that three-minute passing period between classes arrives, you battle it out with a dozen other teachers in need of a bathroom. Portable toilets. Porta Pottys. Porta-Johns. Call them what you want; I call them “problem solved.” A Porta Potty could also double as an effective timeout room for misbehaving kids.
A mini fridge in the classroom would eliminate mysteriously disappearing Diet Cokes, sandwiches and leftovers in the staff fridge.
So if you’re feeling extra generous this year as you fill up your shopping cart with folders, colored pencils and other school supplies, buy your kid’s teacher a box of snack crackers. Or an extra bottle of sanitizer. Or maybe that Porta-Potty they’ve secretly been dreaming of.