Last weekend I was spending time with some friends when the conversation turned to work. We shared our perspective re-caps of the exciting, frustrating or droll events of the past work week. After the sharing, one friend pointed at me and said, “You know, you never call it work, you always just say ‘school.'”
I didn’t think much about it at the time, but in retrospect, that observation could not have more significance. I have never met a passionate educator whose life is not profoundly defined by their profession. My “job” has never been just a job. It is the heartbeat of my life, and the only ones who can fully understand what I mean by that are other passionate teachers. I believe this so strongly that it always gives me pause when I meet teachers who are married to non-teachers. It doesn’t seem possible that someone outside of education can truly understand how a profession can flow like blood through your veins.
The first thing that drew me to my partner was her passion and brilliance she brought to her “job” as a teacher. Thirteen years later, it remains one of the strongest, most important bonds we share.I can’t imagine not sharing hours grading and trading in the evenings and over the weekends. Or not having someone who knows your pain when your heart breaks for a student. Or not being able to share stories or triumph with someone who has experienced those same magic moments. And what about the sleepless nights spent trying to figure out how to get through to that ONE student? Or the nervous insomnia before the first day of school – Every. Single. Year! Non-teachers might be quick to write those things off as “weird little quirks.”
School was cancelled today for most of my state. Ice and snow have made roads nearly impossible to navigate. But search the hashtag #oetc11 on Twitter, and you’ll find hundreds of passionate educators who elected to brave dangerous roads for an opportunity to spend a voluntary day learning and sharing for the sake of their students. They aren’t people who are “going to work.” They are people following the heartbeats of their lives. They are teachers.