As much as we love the kids...teachers need friends, adult friends. I have taught on four different campuses and will tell you point blank, I would not have survived for 13 years without my colleagues turned friends.
No one understands you like a fellow teacher: they just “get it.” And, if you don’t tap into this free therapy, life in the classroom becomes tough. My classroom phone rang the other day and I answer to the melodic tones of our art teacher. She wants to know if we were to (hypothetically) put a girl band together, which iconic 80s group could we emulate? Bananarama in overalls, the punky-pop of the Go-gos, or the seductive stare of Susanna Hoffs in the the Bangles. This was a very serious conversation. Then, of course, we had to cast the group using our fabulous females in the English, Science, and Math departments. It took about four minutes, the kids had no idea what I was talking about but did witness me cracking up and returning the receiver to the wall with a huge grin. “I love my job; let’s get back to work!”
Spending time together is a luxury because it is the one thing teachers DO NOT HAVE. Lunch is 45 minutes and usually eaten up by club meetings or make-up work. After school, teachers are cleaning up today, prepping for tomorrow, or, if lucky, grading (that usually needs to happen at home). However, dragging yourself away from these duties for 10-20 minutes can be so invigorating.
Yesterday, I had three soft cookies left in a plastic container - You know the ones. Soft white flour, refined sugar, cake-like ooie gooies with a thick coat of processed pink frosting frozen in currents of sweetness...rainbow jimmies surfing the sugar wave. I stood up, left my messy desk and walked across the hall ambushing my BFFs in the English department. We sat for 20 glorious minutes, nibbling our naughty snack, and breaking down the day: who would be our new principal next year, what kids surprised us that day (both good and bad), and how are we going to end the year with a bang when we are t.i.r.e.d.
Well, I didn’t get all of my piles sifted through, and I was little late getting home to my own kids, but the 20 minutes with my pals across the hall made me feel not so alone in this insane profession. Ironically, we are never alone...but you know what I mean.
So, in conclusion, create those girl bands, eat those cookies, and talk and laugh with your colleagues. We need to fill up so we may give hard each and every day.