Summer Is Upon Us: Let's Take The Time To Acknowledge That Teachers Are F*cking Saints

by Meredith Ethington
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My kids have two weeks left of school, and OMG, I just bought them all fidget spinners. The buzzing whirl of their little fidget spinners rings in my ears at night, and they’ve owned them a whole three days.

I feel it appropriate during this dark time to call the world to action — let’s just have a moment of silence for the teachers who have been putting up with fidget spinners and so much more this year. Because school is almost out, and our kids are going to be with us 24/7 and teachers not only deserve this break, but they deserve to not see a kid dab, or flip a water bottle, or make slime for a solid three months.

They also deserve a glass of wine, or all the chocolate in the world, for putting up with our kiddos all year long.

And nothing will remind us more of the grace, beauty, and incredible Mother Teresa-like patience of our teachers like the approach of summer. Teachers of the world, parents of the world want to say thank you.

Because while we know that you’re not a babysitter, and you actually teach our kids math, science, reading, and social skills, you’re basically our hero. And it takes the summer approaching to remember that we literally could not survive without you.

Somehow the summer snuck up on me this year. I bet it didn’t sneak up on the teachers though. They’ve put in their time and are probably giddy with excitement. I mean, can you blame them? They put up with our kids not listening, and talking back, and not staying on task almost every single school day for an entire school year.

Teachers are like a second mother (or father) to every child in that classroom, teaching them everything from not touching their neighbor, to math, to “it’s time to start using deodorant, my dear one.”

They comfort and encourage and patiently wait for their attention when my child is acting like a heathen.

They are the unsung heroes of the universe and I appreciate them all year long, but as summer approaches, I want to buy them all the things, and hug them, and say, “Please don’t take a break, even though you totally deserve one, because I’m not sure I’ll survive the summer without you.”

But I know it’s summer that will help me fully appreciate what they go through and how truly underpaid they are, as I listen to those fidget spinners whirl in my ear all day and want to scream profanities.

Summer is approaching, and teachers, it’s my turn for nonstop arguing, complaining, and asking, “Who did this?” to a room full of people who aren’t going to fess up anyway.

Now I get to pick up after the same slobs that litter the floors of your classroom with crayons they just have to peel, and candy wrappers, and mysterious chomped-on erasers. Except it’s my house, or their bedrooms, or my front yard full of bikes, toys, and wet towels.

I get to try to get them to follow the rules of summer, not that different from the rules of your classroom by repeating to myself 3,291 times things like, “Why is this wet?” and “Put away your towel!” and collapsing in bed with exhaustion each night, tired of the sound of my own voice.

It’s my turn to try to be the patient one all day long when they “forget” something. Again. Even though they’ve had a reminder every single day.

It’s going to be my turn to have kids in and out, and under and around, nonstop as the neighbor kids camp here too, and I try to figure out who left the missing sock behind. Probably not that different from you when you try to figure out who forgot to put their name on that homework assignment they just threw lazily onto your desk.

It’s my turn to not be able to escape that one kid who’s driving me bonkers, because that kid is probably my own, and I deserve a little quality time with him after you’ve survived it all school year long.

And this summer I’ll think of you as I try to scarf down my lunch in five minutes before my kids are begging me to take them somewhere or fix a boo-boo or break up yet another fight.

I’ll sigh wistfully all summer long as I wonder how you do it. How you dealt with the complaining when they didn’t want to do that math worksheet, or the groans when you tried to plan something fun and they ruined it with disrespect.

I’ll think of you fondly as I try to do that one educational thing with them so their brains don’t turn to mush this summer playing video games, and we all last an admirable three whole minutes before someone is crying (probably me).

When we attempt a craft this summer, I’ll shake my head and wonder how you put up with kids covered in paint, and every surface sticky with unknown goo, and remind myself that you’re a saint for all you do.

As summer is approaching, I’ll have a moment of silence for you because what you do is not only a lot of work, time, and effort, for little thanks, but it’s a lot like mothering 30 kids at once, and I’m not sure how you make it look easy.

I’m hoping time will slow down the next two weeks as summer approaches because I’m not sure what to do with my three, and I’m not sure how I could possibly thank you properly.

But we’ll figure it out, and we’ll survive, just like you do all school year long, and when it’s time to send them back to school, I’ll look to the heavens and say, “God bless teachers!” as I get back into my car in the fall and peel out of the parking lot.

Because as the return of summer approaches, I’m reminded of one important truth:

Teachers, you complete me.