Every year, teachers prepare to meet the parents of their students. This includes the students, who do their work and behave, the ones, who try so hard, but just cannot grasp the concept, and the other students, who just never do anything. The teachers dress nice. They have their tables set up ready to talk to parents. Most often, they spend weeks preparing for this event. However, this year was different. 

I am definitely not saying that my teachers still did not do these things. However, instead of having a table set up and being able to see each parent face-to-face, teachers spent all evening emailing, calling parents, and talking “face-to-face” over Zoom calls (which, if you are not familiar with Zoom calls, they are very boring and require a lot of patience because of technical difficulties). Our Student Council members set up a potato bar for all of our teachers to come and eat during the course of the evening. Let me tell you, I learned a LOT about what I have to look forward to as a teacher. As a student, I have always heard my teachers talk about how long the day of parent teacher conferences is. It’s almost a twelve-hour day, in which they sometimes spend that time with obstinate students and subsequently angry, confused, or rude parents. Who would not want to do that? 

So, after spending the evening with my teachers last night, here is what I have learned:

1. Being a teacher is HARD. Teachers are some of the most underappreciated people in our society. A good paying teacher position is hard to come by, even though they spend hours pouring their heart into student well-being, even after 3:00PM each day. However, the reward is great. Knowing that they have impacted so many lives is incredible. They get to live their life knowing that even if it does not feel like it, they have made a difference. 

2. Teachers really do know how to have fun. We all had that one teacher that nobody thought was cool, but after spending time with my teachers outside of the classroom, I realized that they really do care and just want to teach me what they need to. It is so cool to see the teachers, that are considered “boring,” laughing and enjoying themselves. It is so important for students to take an interest in their teachers, but not only this, to respect them and realize they are just trying to do their jobs. 

3. This school year has been extraordinarily hard on everyone involved. For students, it is so stressful not knowing what to expect next. Will we come back to school next week? Will we be quarantined again? Will we go to a hybrid schedule? For teachers, these same concerns are present. They worry about these things, as well as having to comfort students, keep tabs on quarantined, virtual, and in-person students, and try to also spend time with their own families. 

Teachers are some of the most incredible people ever. They love, educate, and support their students like no other profession on this planet. Watching my teachers at Parent Teacher Conferences this year, I have begun to truly appreciate them more. The hard work they put in to make sure parents are informed and students feel included as well is incredible. I am so thankful for all of my teachers. They have inspired me so much, and I know one day I will have really big shoes to fill.