My STEM Units

Saturday, August 2, 2014

How to Support Your Spouse When They Go Back to School

I smelled the crayons well before I walked into the store.  It must be Back-to-School time in America.

Normally, my posts are for teachers and/or parents. This post is for the spouses of those teachers.

Spouses, we know that you are our biggest supporters.  You listen to us cry when we tell you about "that one student".  You pick up our kids because we will be home late after Parent Teacher Conferences.  You let us question your choices and ask, "was that a good choice?".  You allow our dining room table to be overwhelmed with papers.  We love you and thank you for your support.

Soon, we will be "going back to work" (as if we were ever really "off work").  But, we will be getting our new kids to love up on, reassuring dozens of parents, and reprogramming our bladders.  It's a lot on our bodies.  So, we have compiled a little list of things you could do to support us when we go back to school.

#1.  Shop with us

Malcolm ran around Lakeshore Learning Materials and brought choices to me so that we were not in there for hours... I think that helping to get supplies was helpful. Susana Taylor
flickr photo by ario cc
"Back to School" starts well before the first day with kiddos.  We would really appreciate if you went back to school shopping with us.  If we double up in the Teacher Supply Store, we can get out of there twice as fast.

#2.  Don't look at the bank account

Don't look in the checkbook too closely.  Donna Neil
flickr photo by Ken Teegardin cc
Thank you for helping us select just the right markers and binders.  But, there are some things that we want to buy for our classrooms that we might not tell you about.  For instance, those yards and yards of fabric for our bulletin boards, those lamps to make the room cozy, that amazing rug (gasp!) to encourage reading, and the endless orders on "pay teacher" sites.  Believe us, you really don't want to know how much we spent.

#3.  Decorate with us

Actually spending some time in the classroom helping set up is always a plus!  Annie Kalous
flickr photo by Jennifer Finley cc
Now that we have those awesome school supplies (and yes, we did have to test every single marker), it's time to decorate!  Although we would rather spend our days with you, the reality is that we will be in our classrooms for more hours than we will actually be home.  We would really appreciate it if you would help us set up our home away from home.  "a little higher....a little to the left.....there!  That's where I want the anchor chart."

#4.  Make us breakfast

flickr photo by Dave 77459 cc
We will need that energy to make it through the day.  We will thank you when someone brings a box of donuts and we can honestly say, "No thanks.  I'm full."

#5.  Do the grocery shopping

If he stocked the fridge and pantry with extra healthy food during the week before and the week of the first day, then all the unhealthy choices I tend to make during that time would be counteracted. Like, tons of salad stuff and fresh protein because, you know, it's all drive thru and complimentary pizza.... Sharon Salcido
flickr photo by Ginny cc
Speaking of food, it would also be nice if you did the grocery shopping.  Not the "frozen pizza" kind of shopping (because someone will also bring a box of pizza to the Teacher's Lounge too), but healthy food.  The kind of food that sustains us and will cancel out that cake we will eat in the staff meeting.  I hear that red wine is full of health benefits.

#6.  Don't let us work too long

If after a certain time in the afternoon, say 4:30, he started to pester me with phone calls and texts telling me to leave the workplace, and for that first week of students being there he would promise not to take "in a few minutes" for an answer, then I might keep my sanity for the first week of school.  Sharon Salcido
flickr photo by Dan Klimke cc
If we are honest, we will never be 100% ready.  There is always something that needs to be laminated, something that needs to be stapled, and something that needs to be hot glued (don't ask).  We could stay in our classrooms until the wee hours of the night.  We actually need you to beckon us home when we lose track of time.

#7.  Let us pee in peace

When we get home, please, if you do nothing else, let us make a beeline for the restroom.  Chances are we have held our bladder since 10:00 in the morning, and we probably drank way too much coffee and pop to give us energy.  It will seem like we are hiding from you.  It will seem like we fell in.  Trust us.  It takes a long time to empty a bladder the size of a teacher's.

#8.  Give us a few minutes to decompress

Helping with the kids' homework, paper signing, or just keeping them company. I also love him picking up the kids after school so I can get some alone/quiet time before I reach home to another full house of kids! Michelle Colelay
flickr photo by Amin Sabet cc
We love our jobs.  Don't get us wrong.  But, it's very demanding to wear restrictive clothing, to listen to 25 children talk at once all day long, and to fill out tons and tons of "beginning of the year" forms.  Please let us change into something more comfortable.  Please entertain our children and help fill out their "beginning of the year" forms.

#9.  Make dinner

My husband cooked dinner for years, mostly because he got hungry earlier than I got home!  Lorie Marchant
flickr photo by Molly Sabourin cc
Even if you followed #6, we will probably still get home late.  It would be super amazing if you made dinner the first week of school.  We really don't care if it's lobster tails with drawn butter or simple chicken on the grill.  The fact that we don't have to decide "what's for dinner" that is the real winner here.

#10.  Give us a foot rub

flickr photo by Amy Messere cc
You might think that we sit at our desks and put our feet up while our students read quietly.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  Chances are we walked over one mile, from the copier in our wing to the copier that actually works, only to find that copier with a line a mile long, so we walked back to our classroom.  We walked another mile in our classroom, touching base with students and keeping others on task.

#11.  Listen to us

Listen. Listen. Listen.  Zoe Bole
flickr photo by Julia Benbow cc
We spent all day talking with children.  It would be heavenly to talk with an adult.  Please let us talk about the placement of our mailbox, the tenth time the copier jammed, and our kids students.  But then again, we did spend all day talking with children, we might not want to talk at all.  We might be hoarse by the end of the first week.

#12.  Turn off the TV

flickr photo by Nicole Mays cc
Even if you did all of the above, we will still be exhausted.  Researchers have determined that teachers make between 1200-1500 decisions per day.  That's a lot of brain power.  We're exhausted.  We will probably fall asleep on the couch watching TV.  Please turn off the TV and cover us with a blanket.  We're going to need to rest to do it all over again tomorrow.

****************What would you add to the list?*************
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1 comment:

  1. This was absolutely me during my 43 years of teaching! My husband was a wonderful help, especially during my last 10 years of teaching when he was retired from his full time job.