By Teresa Valerio
It’s 5:30 on a Monday evening, I’ve been in my classroom since 7 am. While looking through some of my old textbooks for an upcoming lesson I stumble upon an intriguing quote:
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”
-Donald D. Quinn
I re-read the quote once more and look at my class library that is basically bare. I begin to write yet another list of books and supplies I need to order, pushing my stress aside saying “It will all get done in due time”. I glance around and think “Gee, I need more books here” or “Oh, this book would be awesome as an audio book, my ESL kids would start picking up some more vocabulary with it”. It makes me emotional, as if I’m not doing enough. As if I shouldn’t be doing this job.
Sometimes I think if I would have taken a different path would I be happier? The answer has never been so simple-Nope. I pause and smirk. In this moment, my life makes sense. I am in my calling. Everything in my life has led me to my little classroom, with my bigger than life 4 year olds. I can’t think of many doctors, dentist or lawyers that can go into a room of 4 year olds with one book and address every child and all their levels of learning. What they do is something wonderful, a wonderful that was never for me. I’m a teacher- I settle debates between 4 year old arguments of who had the pretend bacon first. I am the first one they run to when they have gotten a “boo-boo” . I am the first classroom experience some of them have and sometimes I am the second language they hear.
This is my first year in Pre-k, I have never been happier. I am also very sad. There is only so much a teacher can buy or create to help their students, especially those with various needs. Through my studies and experience I have seen great things come from books, audio books and technology. I want my students to experience all of it.
No child is created equal, so we can’t say that all learning is equal. I am in a school full with eager 4 year olds ready to learn. Most times, teachers aren’t able to supply the students with materials they may need to boost their learning. As teachers, we take it upon ourselves to supply these materials out of our own pockets. Most often than not, it becomes extremely expensive.
There is only so much a school budget can do, and only so many friends you can ask to give away old furniture and toys for your classroom. Did you know most schools no longer have libraries? I actually don’t remember the last school I worked in that had a library. Each classroom has a small section dedicated to books but, is it ever really enough or interesting to all the students?
DonorsChoose.org is an amazing site that helps teachers fulfill their needs for the classroom. Teachers can create projects that can be donated to or you can even donate straight to the classroom for simple supplies. So many teachers have had such positive experiences with Donors Choose; I decided to create one of my own to help build up my library. Another awesome thing about Donors Choose- if you enter the word SPARK at checkout, they match your donation! Must be an awesome feeling to know a class full of students is about to get materials much quicker… It’s an awesome feeling for me to see my students excited over books.
I can’t wait for my room to be filled with books, and to hear my kid’s progress with their language. It’s a wonderful thing to watch a child learn. It’s even more wonderful to know you’ve had a part in their learning.
Below is the link to my Donors Choose page. Any little contribution goes a long way. Don’t forget to enter SPARK at checkout for them to match your donation! There are so many teachers that could use a little help, why not start with a site that shows you exactly what you’re helping towards?!