I sometimes wonder what my school would be like without me in it. Without me here every day, greeting kids and visiting classrooms and walking through the hallways and meeting with teachers and talking to students and… the list goes on.
And I wonder what teachers feel as well. Not about me, but about themselves. If they wonder what their classrooms would be like without them. If they wonder about the school they spend so much of their lives in,
and what would happen if they were no longer there.
If they care about that.
Because they should.
I have a feeling that I know what most teachers would say. And if they won’t say it aloud, I know what they are probably thinking. I would bet they have this crazy notion that they are replaceable; that someone else could come in here and do this job, teach these kids, put their heart and souls into this work – this important, awe-inspiring, work of giants – and that if they were to leave, if they were to no longer be here one day, then life would just go on and these kids would continue to come to school every day and learn with someone else standing in front of them, next to them, with them.
I know that there are teachers out there who feel that way. And perhaps with good reason. Perhaps, over the years, they have been made to feel this way – that they are replaceable and that anyone could come in here and do what they do on a daily basis. Some may have even lost some of the spark that drew them to this work in the first place. And I would say I understand that.
I understand why someone would feel that another body could come in and pick up where the previous teacher left off. Because, indeed, that is truly what happens, right? I mean, there can’t just be an empty classroom left behind. Right?
But it is. It is an empty classroom. And sure, it might fill up over time; it might fill up with energy and warmth and all of the good stuff that is created when the synergy of a passionate teacher combines with kids to create an excellent teaching and learning environment. That might happen.
But the SOUL of that classroom.
The soul of that classroom left hollow by YOU,
the MOM or DAD they don’t have at home.
YOU might be the only thing she looks forward to seeing each day,
the ONLY one that keeps her coming back through these doors every day.
So I know what you might be thinking, teacher. But you’re wrong. You can’t be replaced.
And if you haven’t thought about how your classroom, your school, looks or feels like without you in it, read this again.
Let it sink in.