Hi, if you are new here my name is Jennifer and I am a former Arizona teacher.
But I am so much more than that…
I am THAT teacher who went into teaching because I loved working with children.
I am THAT teacher who loves inspiring children to learn new things.
I am THAT teacher who thrives on finding new and fun ways to do that.
I am THAT teacher who gets excited over the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and books.
I am THAT teacher who spent hours each week on Pinterest searching for new ideas to make learning meaningful and fun.
I am THAT teacher who would drive 30 minutes to a Lakeshore store because the lamination would last longer.
I am THAT teacher who could not leave Lakeshore without stocking up on more learning materials for students.
I am THAT teacher who spent well over the $250 teacher tax credit amount of my own money to make sure I had the necessary materials to effectively teach my students year after year.
I am THAT teacher who has taken over a class midyear because there were 45 third graders in a class.
I am THAT teacher who had to teach on the cafeteria stage for a quarter because the school had no more open classrooms for a new teacher.
I am THAT teacher who has been short eight chairs and students desks leaving eight of my students to sit on the floor or share a chair for weeks.
I am THAT teacher who has had to rotate through other classes during my contracted prep time to cover teachers who were out ill and there was no substitutes available.
I am THAT teacher who wrote grants to pay for projects because the school’s budget did not have the funds for basic materials, let alone in-depth projects that inspire creativity and innovation.
I am THAT teacher who would bring the community into my classroom because we could not afford field trips.
I am THAT teacher who would send myself to professional development conferences because the school district did not have the funds to do so.
I am THAT teacher who would welcome new students with a smile and open arms even though I had 28 students and the class next to me had 24.
I am THAT teacher who has had 28 kindergarteners in a classroom with no aide.
I am THAT teacher who would take challenging students with open arms and a smile.
I am THAT teacher who would meet students in the parking lot every morning and help the parent transition their child into the school for the morning.
I am THAT teacher who would pick up Happy Meals at lunch for students to celebrate accomplishments.
I am THAT teacher who has helped a child pee in a bucket during a lockdown in such a way that is not demeaning or embarrassing.
I am THAT teacher who would let students sit on my lap to do assessments because that was the only way they could get over the anxiety.
I am THAT teacher who would not let children define themselves by some of the ridiculous things we are forced to do with students like standardized tests in kindergarten!
I am THAT teacher who would close the door and tell a parent what they REALLY need to do because the special education process was not helping. (Lived and learned on that one).
I am THAT teacher who has been threatened by a parent to be punched in the face because she did not like an action I was legally obligated to take.
I am THAT teacher who created my own materials because the district provided materials were dated, unengaging, and ineffective.
I am THAT teacher who would hoard glue sticks, paper, and crayons because I knew that by the end of the year the supply room would be empty.
I am THAT teacher who would beg her uncle who owned an out of state printing business to send me paper because the school had no copy budget left.
I am THAT teacher who was given an overhead projector as the appropriate technology to prepare our students for the 21st century and beyond.
I am THAT teacher who has had a SmartBoard in my room and not be able to use it because the school could not afford bulbs to make it work.
I am THAT teacher who would pay student charges off so that my students did not have to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for what was probably their only hot meal for the day.
I am THAT teacher who would make TWO Mother’s Day gifts with her students because a child should never have to choose which mom to give a present to. (Which meant paying for twice as many supplies with my own money).
I am THAT teacher who would beg my own family year after year to sponsor a student of mine who was in need.
I am THAT teacher who would make sure all of my students had holiday gifts.
I am THAT teacher who collected wrapping paper from friends to wrap those gifts.
I am THAT teacher who delivered presents on Christmas Eve with Santa to make sure those gifts were given directly to the kids.
I am THAT teacher who would pick students up on weekends and take them to see Disney on Ice because they had never had the opportunity to go. (Long ago, this was still allowed LOL).
I am THAT teacher who would ask her own mom for money for treats for her students on these outings.
I am THAT teacher who put my students’ overall wellbeing first.
I am THAT teacher who would sing Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to my kindergarteners every day as we waited in line for lunch. (I danced too but that probably should not be noted LOL).
I am THAT teacher who knew who to call to get counseling services for her students outside of the school because school counselors don’t have time to work with most students who need it.
I am THAT teacher who would drive my husband nuts by cutting laminate in the car. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
I am THAT teacher who has missed events for my own children because my students and my career came first.
I am THAT teacher who would beg people for class sets of things like promotional items or paper hats for my students because I knew they would love them and they were free.
I am THAT teacher who had to work two jobs outside of teaching just to make ends meet.
I am THAT teacher who would stay in college to defer my student loans.
I am THAT teacher who did not make enough to make a student loan payment while I was a teacher.
I am THAT teacher who did not realize when I decided to be a teacher that I would be entering a profession that would not be given the funding to adequately provide the public service we are expected to.
I am THAT teacher who has marched at our state capital many times over the last 10 years to fight for funding for schools. (Although the Red for Ed Movement is new in Arizona, the issue with school funding has been around for over a decade and teacher have been fighting it).
I am THAT teacher who was literally losing my hair over the pressure and stress from being a teacher and trying to do everything for my students.
I am THAT teacher who has had to sit in meetings over student growth expectations that are ridiculous and unrealistic.
I am THAT teacher who has sat in the car of my school parking lot and cried. And cried and cried.
I am THAT teacher who year after year questioned if I had it in me to do one more year.
The thing is, teachers are all THIS teacher. Until…
I could not do it anymore. I had to walk away and now…
I am now THAT teacher who had to make the hard decision to leave the classroom.
I am now THAT teacher who decided my health was at risk and something needed to change.
I am now THAT teacher who stepped up and said my family is equally important.
I am now THAT teacher who had no choice but to take some financial control of my life.
I am now THAT teacher who wants to make sure that NOT ONE MORE TEACHER has to follow in my footsteps and leave education because they have had enough.
I am now THAT teacher who is HOPEFUL that we can use our voices to get to finally get the funding they need to effectively teach our children.
I am now THAT teacher who is proud to be part of this movement that will create the much-needed change for the children and educators in our state.
What is your THAT teacher story?
Please share it below or on your own social media.