Teacher Perks

As a teacher I am used to the age-old line I get every time someone finds out what I do for a living. “Oh, you get SUMMERS off!” I’m not denying that having summers off is a perk, but it comes at the end of a nine-month marathon we run with 24 children strapped to our backs.

Not only are we exhausted, most teachers are involved in school related classes or projects during the summer. We teach classes to other exhausted teachers; we teach summer school; we re-write curriculum; we take classes to maintain our permanent certification; or we receive new units and new initiatives that we must become familiar with and be ready to teach in the fall. Most of these activities are not exactly optional, if you know what I mean.

But teaching has other less obvious perks, like all the amazing people you get to know over the years. For example, on the day that your credit card is denied approval at the grocery store, it’s always fun to look up and find that the check-out clerk is a former student. Like when you go for your mammagram, and the woman putting on your “stickers” is the mom of one of your students. Or, how about when during a fun-filled day of tailgating you run into one of your students and her extended family. That’s always exciting, especially when you’re standing there holding your ice-cold refreshment! And, I always enjoy running into students and their parents when I’m at Target purchasing certain unmentionables.

In all honesty, I really do love running into people I know when I am out and about. (Maybe not so much when I’m at the pool in a bathing suit….) It makes me feel like such a part of this community, and gives me a great sense of comfort to know that this really is a small town. (Of course, my children refuse to go shopping with me because they claim that it takes me an hour to get through any store. )

However, there really are some teacher perks worth mentioning. One of the coolest teacher perks is having a parent offer a class trip! Over the years we’ve visited many different Oregon State colleges, toured the Ice Cream Factory, eaten delicious food at the College of Hotel Management, and seen beautiful displays at Smith Museum of Art. (It was a bit awkward rushing the kindergarten students past the huge anatomically correct statues, if you know what I mean, but we managed!)

Last year we experienced the trip of a lifetime!

We happened to have in our class the grandson of a certain football coach, who happens to be royalty in this town. We won’t be naming any names. Well, this young fella’s father (our parent of the year, after this trip) arranged a trip to you know where. Yes, I’m talking SMITH FOOTBALL STADIUM! We boarded a bus, zipped across town, and landed in a little slice of heaven. After a wonderful tour of the stadium museum (anyone who is a fan should go) we headed to the locker room-home to all the young athletes, so many of which this community has become so proud. We stood where they stood, and tried to imagine just for a moment the excitement they must have felt as they headed down that long corridor to the field of dreams.

Then it was our turn to march down that corridor. And, on a beautiful, bright, sunny afternoon, Smithfield Elementary kindergarten ran screaming out of the tunnel at Smith Stadium and onto the field. It was an incredible sight. We ran with outstretched arms onto the grass, a shade of green that even Crayola couldn’t name, under a blue and white sky.

It was an unforgettable trip. The children may not remember morning meeting or story time- they may not remember the cool science projects or math time - they might not even remember the name of their teacher. But I have a feeling they will always remember that glorious day when they ran out onto the grass at the stadium. I can’t speak for all the kids, but I can tell you that it made me feel like a million bucks!

Now THAT’S a teacher perk!


DKC said...

Whoa - new font! Am I really first?

DKC said...

Hot damn! I totally cheated and didn't even read yet though. Off to do that now!

Sandee said...

Yes, new font and I like it.

I'm so happy that there are great teachers like you out there. I couldn't/wouldn't do what you do. I would hate it. So thank you for teaching our future leaders.

Have a terrific day. :)

Anonymous said...

Field trips are one of the many things I enjoy.

I also had a grandson of the owner of our local football team and although we never went to the stadium, his show & tells were out of this world. I would say, "where did you get this?" and he would say, "oh, my grandpa's office. or "insert famous football name here, gave it to me at dinner."

The worst part is running into kids and you can't remember their names....that happens to me ALOT!!

DKC said...

What an awesome experience for those kids! First, having you as a teacher - then getting to go to the stadium!

(Yes, I'm sucking up)

Unknown said...

I always think of Summer vacay as maternity leave! :)

9 months of carrying 24 kids..
Try doin' that without a break!

Peace - Rene

Honestly, have you ever driven around a store parking lot because you didn't want to talk to a parent?


Desert Songbird said...

Now that is a field trip I TOTALLY would have signed up to chaperone!

Mrs. E said...

I love this post! So true about teaching. (My least favorite teacher mug: 3 reasons for teaching-June, July, and August. Seriously, if you think that--get out now!) And then there are those WONDERFUL moments!! Here's to more of those--and fewer moments like when the former students who pull us over for speeding!

Unknown said...

That does sound like an amazing trip. The kindergarteners are going to remember it for a lifetime.

Deb said...

-->Even though I'm not a big Penn State (um, Oregon State) fan, I would HAVE loved to run down that tunnel too. I think they will always remember that day in Happy Valley.


Mrs. C. said...

Field trips are fun, especially when the parent chaperones come. You can really see WHY some of the kids act as they do... ha.

And small town life as a teacher is the coolest, sometimes. They run to you in the store, or wherever, and are so excited to SEE YOU, and you shop at the hardware store too, and go the movies too, and "Hey, the officer from DARE said BEER was BAD, Mrs. C!"

One of the little ones I remember from first grade greeted my daughter's third-grade class at the front door of this year's field trip. Now she was the all-grown-up park ranger about to lead us forth on the voyage of Lewis and Clark. Can you really feel so proud, so nostalgic, and so OLD all at the same time?

Pseudo said...

If we did not get summers off, they would have looney bins for teachers and there would be a wait list a mile long.

Mimi Lenox said...

Don't you love the "summers off" gandering? It's totally amusing.
And while you mentioned a few biggies left for teachers to do during the summer, you and I both know there are many more!

And yet, summers are mostly for exhaustion therapy. Otherwise, no one would return in the fall to teach the children.

Kathy B! said...

I think you are a wise woman to have run past the large, anatomically correct statue in the museum... Send me an email if you want to read what happened to us in the Smithsonian this past April :)

How lucky for you and your class to have such an experience. I bet they will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Sharon Rose said...

That is a great story! And what a wonderful opportunity at the football stadium. That is my favorite sport to watch, unless my son is playing soccer.

I love your stories!

only a movie said...

My favorite perk so far is having kids who have graduated come back to visit and say thanks. That's better than a bunch of summers stuck together.

Although. Summer is a very very necessary perk. For staying sane, as Pseudo mentioned.

Off to maintain sanity right now...

Anonymous said...

Sweet, Joey Pat's grandson???? Cool! At least one of your little boys will grow up remembering that moment forever as they make a college career or pro career out of football. And they'll remember YOU taking them there. Great post.

Unknown said...

I guarantee you.. kids always remember their 1st 2 teachers. I remember mine. With teachers like you and others you have written about, you can be assured they will remember you all too.

I can imagine what it must have felt like to go to a stadium of a beloved team and romp and play! Even if Crayola doesn't have names for the green you described.. I can still see it!

Your students are very lucky to have a teacher like you.

Michele R said...

My husband is an elemtary school teacher and I can relate to what you've said. His motto is: I get paid for 190 days of the year.

anymommy said...

Well deserved!

LPC said...

And here I was thinking the perk was gonna be free beer...

The Mother said...

I don't know how you do it, running into people you know from the school all the time.

I'm such a loner. I hide all day, and I'm always ducking from my kids' teachers when I run into them in public.

Rick Daley said...

Did they get to give Mean Joe Green a drink of their Coke?

cw2smom said...

Now that's a perk worth all those years of college and ongoing education credits! Lucky you....y'all! I had to laugh about you running into people in your community...like in Target. When my youngest was very little...now 17, used to trip OUT when we would run into HER teacher in a restaurant or in the store of our very small town! She just couldn't wrap her little brain around the fact that teachers actually HAVE lives outside of school. I guess she really thought the teachers LIVED at school! Ummmmm... You don't really.... do you? LOL! Lisa

Anonymous said...

I'm a former elementary school teacher and a current stay-at-home-mom. A few years back, I was "caught" at the grocery store with nothing in my basket but a bottle of wine and condoms...ah, LOVELY memory!

Expat mum said...

A far cry from the field trips we used to have I must say! Sounds fab!

Bobby G said...

Where the hell is Smith Stadium? GO BLUE!!!!!!

Keyona said...

Don't worry....awesome teachers like you are never forgotten.

blognut said...

I totally would've signed up to be chaperone for that trip!

Everyday Goddess said...

I wish I could have that run down the hallway moment!! How wonderful!!

Jeanne Estridge said...

How cool would that be?

Stephanie said...

From a parents point of view. Running into a teacher in some place like a bank or grocery store is a true thrill for my little ones. When they are so young it's almost like they can't fathom teachers have a life outside of school or kids of their own!
Thanks to all the teachers who go the extra mile and make our kids days worthwhile :)

Suzy said...

When I was in kindergarten we went to a brewery and got drunk.

The teacher puked.

Best day ever.

Christy said...

Wow that sounds like an awesome day regardless of your age. What a fun memory!

Stesha said...

I always wanted to teach pre-k because they took a nap. Then I realized the teacher can't take a nap. The teacher has to work why the kiddo are in lala land. Bummer!

Hugs and Mocha,

Lesha said...

Because I am such an incredible fan of this AWESOME football team, I actually had tears in my eyes thinking of you and all those kindergarteners running out the tunnel onto the field. I was there once, when I used to work for that same university and I was in awe just standing on that grass.

What a very very cool field trip!
And how cool to have such royalty in your class!

Mags said...

Awesome field trip...one my kids would DEFINITELY appreciate! :)

confused homemaker said...

What an awesome perk! I also love running into students, but I usually seem to run into them when I look my worst.

Toni said...

Wow, now that is a perk. I have to admit, when I was at college, I helped to counsel younger students and seeing how some of them turned out was so rewarding and made me feel part of 'the bigger picture'

Captain Dumbass said...

When I went to pick up oldest today on his last day of school I realized that we'd forgot to get her a present. We remembered the little guy's, but with all the excitement of a recent weekend trip, we forgot to get the other one. I feel bad now because she helped our little guy SO much this year. Is it ok if I give it to her in September?

Ann Imig said...

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Especially if it comes with a tiny milk carton on a cafeteria tray.


Unknown said...

When I was a director of a preschool, I always tried to avoid the students and their parents. It never failed but the one parent I ran into always wanted to talk about something she was meaning to talk to me for a while. Makes for a long shopping trip.

AmyK. said...

From another teacher...Amen! Yes, summers are perks. I take them as time to spend with my own kids :-).

I live in the community as well...and my kids attend my school. It is really a family sense for me. I like running into people for the most part. Although I do tend to put other stuff on top of my "unmentionables" in the cart while at Target, just in case ;-).

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

That IS a great perk!

And I only like seeing people when I am out and about if I am wearing makeup, otherwise I hide behind the produce and hope they don't see me...

Unknown said...

LMAO@ suzy!

Irish Gumbo said...

I am not that guy from China...

...I am that man from Nantucket :)

"...green that even Crayola couldn't name..."

You make me jealous, my dear, and what a lovely post!

me in the pink said...

Awesome. That sounded like a top ten day.

Joanna Jenkins said...

That is an awesome trip the kids (and you) will never forget. Nice perk!

San Diego Momma said...

You are my very favorite kindergarten teacher.
Because you experience wonder just like the kids you teach. I love that!

Plus, you're funny as hell.

Beth said...

Enjoy that time off! You richly deserve it.

I love your love of life and the way you really *get* kids. You are awesome like that.

Lee Ryan said...

Excellent post!!

But don't forget - sometime in the *distant* future when former students visit to chat about *their* kids grades; you knew them when they forgot their homework too.

That's some excellent ice cream they make there; but you already know that. :-)

Annie said...

As a young high school teacher I have to say the most difficult was running into kids at BARS while they were using fake ID's. Thankfully I'm older and asleep by the time they go out these days.

Fancy Schmancy said...

That's awesome!

Anonymous said...

watching those kids must have been so cool

Brenda Susan said...

I'm a teacher too & I get so tired of that "summer off" comment! I spend all summer taking apart all we did the previous year & with a team of people we discuss everything that worked & did not work & adjust for the next year.
I also am pressured all summer by the need to recruit new students for the coming Fall. ours is a ministry school, college age.
As the end of August comes closer I am so ready for school to just begin already so I can relax & enjoy the students!

Halala Mama said...

Oh my goodness. I KNOW what you mean about running into people. I teach in a K-8 school and have for 13 years. There are a lot of people who know me, whom I do not even know! My pharmacist is a school parent - which I found out after picking up my umpteenth prescription for gestational diabetes. One of the technicians who was scheduled to give me a vaginal ultrasound introduced herself as a school parent too. I was a little mortified - but hey, she got to see my baby before the rest of the school did.... So now, I need to go work on my Moodle for next year.. during my "vacation." Enjoy yours!

American in Sydney said...

I had no idea they sold adult toys at Target-- that is what you meant by "unmentionables", right?

AS Amber said...

That makes me laugh about your kids saying it takes forever to get through a store. My sister is a teacher in a small town in Southern Utah. So not only does it take us forever to get through a store, but she and I look exactly like each other so we go through that,too. And when I go to the store without her, I have to be nice to everyone because they all know her and think I'm her!

I hate being nice to people...

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