Tuesday, May 6, 2014

God Bless the Teachers and Nurses

I've been reminded that this is Nurse Appreciation and Teacher Appreciation Week.  Everyone crosses paths with teachers and nurses at some point in their lives, so their work can be appreciated by all of us.  I feel that it would be appropriate to pay tribute to these professionals today.....probably because if I had to list all of the professions in order according to my own aptitude, these two would be at the very bottom of my list.      

Let's talk about TEACHERS, first.  Can you think of a more haunting nightmare than 28 mothers dropping their children off at your door at 7:30 am and telling you that they'll be back at 3:00?  I get sweaty just thinking about that.  Let's not even talk academics yet.....let's just talk about the differing needs of 28 children.....and you're the grown up, who has to keep up with it all.  Johnny is scared of bad weather.  Suzy still wets her pants.  Mark is a bully.  Kate cries a lot.  Janet has a smart mouth.  Mike has asthma.  Becky has peanut allergies.  Ben has trouble at home.  Jimmy throws up when he gets nervous.  Lisa needs help wiping her nose.  Joan can't tie her shoes.  Lee can never get his pants unzipped in the bathroom.         

You've got a few kids who can count, a few who can't, a few who don't even know what you're talking about when you say "count", a few who can already convert decimals to fractions, and an engineer's kid who claims that his dad says....you're doing it all wrong.  How are you supposed to get all of that on the same page?    

You've got parents, who complain about everything.  Parents who never send what they're supposed to.  You've got parents with too many questions.  Parents who know it all.   Parents of children who do no wrong.  You've got the Pinterest parents, who bring cookies decorated like the planets during the unit on space.  There are parents, who don't have a clue which planet they're on and parents, who you wish would relocate to one of the other planets....one of those that can't sustain life.

Lesson plans.  Reports.  Complaints.  Testing.  Evaluations.  Conferences.  Dress codes.  Discipline.  Fire drills.  Substitutes.  Notes.  Fundraisers.  Flu season.  Paint.  Glue.  Progress Reports.  Plays.  Programs.  Awards.  Certificates.  Snacks.  Birthdays.  Regulations.  Prizes.  Buses.  Continuing education.  Field trips.  Permission slips.  Paperwork.  Grading.  Bulletin boards.  School pictures.         

I don't care how many months you get off in the summer....it's not enough.

I have friends and family who are teachers.  I see the hours and hours that they spend at school......hours that go long past 3:00 and summers that end well before the children's break is over.  I've seen the stacks of papers waiting to be graded. I know all the money that they spend out of their own pockets.  I've heard them talk about their students like their own children.  I've heard them talk about kids who get more love at school than at home.  I see how they get attached.  I see how much they're loved.  I see how they make a difference.

I remember my own first grade teacher being so warm and making me feel welcomed and secure at my new school.  I remember that when my third grade teacher hugged me, it made me feel like I was her favorite student that she'd ever had.  I remember my fourth grade teacher was very complimentary of my work and made me think that I could succeed at anything.  An eighth grade teacher challenged me and gave me confidence to try something new......and on and on and on through college.  Even though I'm almost 46 years old, I still remember the faces of my teachers and the words they spoke to me when I was 6, 10, 13, 17, 21.

A teacher's influence goes on for years and is never forgotten.  It's no small thing.       

NURSES.  Let's talk about them. 

Can you imagine a more haunting nightmare than having a herd of sick people with a bunch of different illnesses dumped off in your care for 3 or 4 days?  I get nauseous just thinking about it.  All these people have different needs and you're the one who has to keep up with them all for the next 12 hours.  Room 312 is dehydrated.  313 won't eat.  314 is alone and dying.  315 is constipated.  You wish 316 was constipated.  317 needs a sponge bath.  318 would like nothing more than for you to give him a sponge bath.  319 is contagious.  320 needs a bed pan.  It's too late for a bed pan in 321.  How are you supposed to keep all of those balls in the air?

Urine samples.  Pap smears.  Shots.  Instructions.  Paperwork.  Enemas.  Medication.  Blood pressure. Phone calls.  Paper gowns.  Hazardous waste.  Lab results.  Band-Aids.  Catheters.  Rubbing alcohol.  Disinfectant.  Immunizations.  Release forms.  HIPPA.  Wheelchairs.  Bodily fluids.  Alarms.  Blood.  Latex gloves.  Specimens.  Intercoms.  Codes.  Insurance.  Reports.  Prescriptions.             
I don't care how much money you make.....it's not enough. 
I have friends and family who are nurses.  I see how long and tiring their days are.  I've seen the full waiting rooms at closing time.  I see them being patient and loving to the elderly.  I've seen them cry when the outcome isn't good.  I've heard them talk about their patients like they're family.  I see them treating people like they'd want to be treated. I see how they get attached.  I see how much they're loved.  I see how they make a difference. 
I can still picture the nurses that worked for my pediatrician when I was little.....with their white hose, white hats, and squeaky shoes.  I still recognize them when I see them around town and am flooded with memories.  They saw my backside on countless occasions.  I remember the name of the nurse who confirmed that I was having my first baby.  I can still hear the voice of the one that held me and cheered me on as I birthed that baby.  I remember nurses who took care of me when I had surgery.  I remember the nurses, who treated my Daddy with love and respect in his final days.  Even though those are events of the past, I still remember the comfort of their compassion and the feeling that they had a gift for what they were doing.
When someone cares for you when you're sick, you never forget it.  It's no small thing.     
Teachers and Nurses, you're a lot alike.       
Thank you for what you do.                




  1. Loved your job descriptions! :) My hat's off to both these professions!

  2. Dear Joni,
    I so appreciated reading your words about teachers and nurses. I am a teacher, was an elementary teacher for many years and now the director of a computerized Alternative Program for high school students. Your words are so true and boy when you list all we do, it's amazing anyone of us can handle it all but it's a calling and I'm thankful to be apart of this profession! Thank you for honoring me and others by your words. I just recently found your blog and have loved reading every one! Yes, I'm one of those that goes back to the beginning so I don't miss a thing! You have such a delightful way of sharing your thoughts and experiences with those who know you well and those of us that would love to meet you! Another confession, when I'm frustrated with one of my students, or my classroom for that matter I click on your link just so I can have a little laugh and get things into perspective. You do that for me! Thinking of and being thankful for my peers in this world of education and to my nurse friends who do so much for others! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!! I really appreciate that more than you know! And my hat's off to you for the work you do!

  3. AMEN! My parents are educators and you speak the truth! What a wonderful tribute to two noble professions that aren’t recognized enough but criticized often. So well said!

  4. I was completely in tears by the time i got to the end. Thank you for such a beautiful, eloquent post. Teachers and nurses just do not receive the appreciation and admiration they deserve. You have certainly corrected that for many of us today!

  5. Thank you for your words. They were very touching. I am neither a nurse nor a teacher, but my daughter is studying to be a nurse and her fiance' is studying to be a teacher! I will try and show this to both of them. We don't realize at the time how much we are influenced by both of these professions.

    1. Wow.....best of luck to both of them! Thanks, Carol!