I know you are coping with a wildly increasing workload. Your working conditions are probably a lot like mine: more demands, fewer resources, fewer people (or elves) with which to handle more difficult tasks. We jolly old elves and not so jolly teachers keep facing the challenge of doing more and more with less and less.
Santa, I don’t ask for things for Christmas. I don’t ask you to fill my stocking. I put something out for my students so they can enjoy a little seasonal specialness at school. You don’t have to help with that part of the celebration.
But Santa, I’ve been feeling a little down lately. I could chalk it up to “Kids these days” or the worsening economy, and both are parts of the problem. My job is stable and employment secure, even though my salary is more likely to shrink than grow in today’s reality. No, Santa, I’m not asking for money.
You’re in your furs from your head to your foot, and your beard may be covered with ashes and soot. I’m clad in a holiday sweater that makes fashionistas cringe, but makes my students smile. The problem is this.
If an ice cream maker gets in a bad batch of blueberries, they can send them back to the plant.
If a television producer gets a poor script, it gets revised or rewritten.
When I add a student to my class, I teach that student. I can’t send him back home to re-learn how to behave, send him to his former school to learn to read, or simply say to the principal, “No, I’m sorry, this one just doesn’t measure up. I can’t take him.”
But the Joe Q. Public thinks it’s my fault if the kid doesn’t make it. Mine and mine alone.
Santa, here’s the point. All I desire for Christmas isn’t a new teacher mug or a package of caramels, although I’ll love those, too. Instead, I’d really appreciate respect. A little respect from the families of the children in my classes, a little respect from those who might not understand the challenges I face every day. A little respect from the energy-saving czar who keeps complaining that my computer uses too much electricity; a little respect from the parents who think their child is an angel, even though he’s probably getting a lump of coal from you, if you’re honest.
So Santa, you can bypass the World’s Best Teacher coffee mug for my stocking this year. I don’t even need a Congressional bail-out. I’ll take a new Public Relations director, one who can tell the world what I face each day, one who can let the lawmakers and community members know how much knowledge and passion I inject into my fascinating and exhausting work.