Friday, November 27, 2015

Year 6: Week 13 – Being Married To A Teacher

Why was I shopping for fruits and vegetables that had seeds 9pm on Monday night at the grocery store? Because I’m married to a teacher.

Diana’s third graders were doing a science project exploring different kinds of seeds and I decided to pitch in and help by going out to buy some fruits and vegetables. I like going to grocery store anyways and we needed some other food. And it’s a good feeling knowing how my contribution will benefit Diana’s students.

While I’m in my tenth year of being a teacher, Diana is in her first year as a teacher. Throughout my career, Diana has provided incredible support. There is no way that I would still be a teacher without the hours of conversations we’ve had about school and my students and the countless number of tasks she has done to help me with my job. Every school that I have worked at owes Diana a salary as an educational consultant. Her ideas, insights and expertise consistently enrich the educational experience of my students.

Diana’s efforts as the spouse of a teacher while meaningful and special to me are not unique. Supporter partners of teachers are the unsung heroes of education.

There are teachers who can only afford to be a teacher because of their spouse’s financial support. Spouses of teachers do extra housework as their spouses grade paper late into the night due to an unreasonable amount of preparation time. They make bulletin boards, sift through stakes of used books, put together bookshelves, make costumes, clean classrooms, pack snacks, edit emails, help create lesson plans and more, making the overwhelming job of being a teacher manageable.

Now I know first hand, after being the recipient of Diana’s support for a decade, what it’s like to be the one on the other side. There’s always something I can do to help Diana. We talk about her lessons, problem-solve concerns and we laugh about the things that kids do that only teachers find hilarious.

I support my wife’s career because I love her but also because I know that my help is positively effecting Diana’s students. There is great satisfaction in the work I do with my own students but there is a different type of gratification knowing that I am able to assist Diana in doing the same thing. Empowering the people that you care about is one of the most meaningful way to show love.

So, to the spouses: Keep at it. Support you wife or husband who is a teacher. Be their strongest ally, and be their most enthusiastic supporter. Every little thing helps.  No job is too small.  In sharing this work, you will more acutely experience tribulations of being an educator, but you will also find more meaning in sharing the joy of teaching.

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