Attending LM can be a roller coaster ride for students, with both ups and downs. What’s rarely considered, though, is the daily life of teachers. Students don’t always make their jobs the easiest, but the rewards are similar to those we experience after a particularly accomplished day as an Ace. In fact, there are more parallels between students and teachers than are usually recognized.
Of course, there’s always a palette of varied responsibilities for both groups. While some parts of the high school lifestyle are certainly daunting for students—there’s that huge test, tryout, audition, or friendship to worry about—LM teachers also seem to have their fair share of daily obstacles. Some particular struggles popped up in almost every inquiry in my teacher interviews. Long meetings certainly seem to be a staple frustration, since they take time away from working directly with students and indirectly refining lessons, detailing notes, and furthering the students' education in other fundamental ways. Answering emails is also a common complaint; multiple teachers who were interviewed stated that in the period of one day, they spend over an hour responding to emails from administrators, colleagues, students, and parents. And to think that students complain about having to check their school accounts a couple times a day!
Grading and lesson planning are other responsibilities that can really fill up time between teaching sets. Lunch and learns (which students can use to study, go to club meetings, or hang out with friends) can be quickly sucked up by students seeking extra help, or administrative tasks. Alone, these duties may not take a surplus of time individually, but “collectively they can really add up and feel overwhelming,” according to Biology teacher Lisa Murphy. “But it’s worth it for the great interactions we get to have with students.”
Despite these challenges presented by the teaching job, there’s also gratification. Flatteringly, every teacher interviewed for this article said that the LMers in the classroom each day are what make the occasional frustrations worth it. On the individual, class, and grade levels, there are unique ideas and fresh interactions that keep every day new and special. Communication and humor between teachers themselves also appeared to be a great upside. Friendship is not mutually exclusive with students; experiences with the other adults in the school set the stage for a great working environment, making the day feel a little enjoyable.
So the next time you’re talking to a teacher in class, try to sympathize and realize that they are Aces just as much as you are, and they have their own fair share of daily struggles and triumphs. My point can perfectly be summed up by the words of Math teacher Kerry Connolly: “When it comes down to it, working with the community, the teachers, and administrators, it really just makes me feel lucky to be here; it makes me really happy. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”