Scarcity and Surplus

Tricia Koechig
5th Grade Teacher

Teachers are infamous for ALWAYS using up any and all resources. Teachers can NEVER have enough glue sticks. Teachers can NEVER have enough paper clips, file folders, paper, pencils, white-board markers, sticky tack, tape, and the list could go on and on. Teachers are experts at depleting materials, resources, time, and even their own relationships and their own health. In the teacher's world, there is never enough. It can be easy to focus on all the deficiencies in a classroom, and more specifically, in our own classroom. However, there are MANY attributes of our classrooms that we will never lack.

First of all, there will ALWAYS be an opportunity to practice patience. Students of all ages require patience. For the elementary teacher, many of our students have barely been alive for a decade. They have had 10 years or less of life, and sometimes we expect them to be able to handle themselves like adults. Elementary students can be characterized by having an extremely literal outlook on life. How many teachers out there have told a student, "Don't touch that," only to have the student put their hand in their sleeve and touch the object with their sleeve. (insert facepalm here). How many teachers have heard the countless excuses for why homework isn't done or why they weren't able to work on their classwork. Every single day in the classroom, students need and give patience to their teacher. Every single day in the classroom, teachers need and give out patience to students. Simply to say, there is no lack of chances to practice patience.

Another aspect of the classroom that there will always be an overabundance of is paperwork, assessments, and data. As I write the words, I can hear the groan of every teacher reading this. The teaching profession is one of constant growth. In order for growth, teachers have to be continually assessing their students and keeping records of student learning. Though student learning is not entirely indicative of a teacher's abilities; assessments do give teachers an insight for future teaching strategies and methods to improve student learning. Realistically, teachers cannot wait until every student understands the concept before going to the next concept. However, if student performance and understanding is below average, a teacher may want to evaluate his/her delivery and strategies to create a different way to present the concept. Planning, recording, evaluating, and assessing students will NEVER be a deficiency in the classroom.

Lastly, teachers will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, have someone to love. Each and every day, students from all walks of life and all types of backgrounds populate classrooms all across America. Sometimes, the classroom and the teacher are the ONLY constant and stability that a student may have. Even when the students are not in the classroom, there is always an opportunity for a labor of love. Everybody wants to feel loved and accepted. Even a student who is loved at home, still needs love in the classroom. The sad reality is that many students do not come from a loving home. Students will learn in a loving environment and that loving environment depends on the teacher-created classroom atmosphere. Even if teachers ever had a day where they loved each student well, there would still be more chances to demonstrate that love to every student. Recently, the news has been filled with the tragedy of school shootings. As a teacher, I hear of these events and I can literally feel my heart breaking. I hope and pray that I will not have to face the horrific trauma of a school shooter, but if I do, I would like to think that I would demonstrate the gift of ultimate love. One of the most revered books of all time says, "Greater love hath no man than this, than he that lay down his life for a friend." Teachers may not always be given the opportunity to lay down their life for their students, but every single day, teachers are given the opportunity to lay down their love and time for their students. Students can feel the love or lack of love that a teacher has for them. As a teacher, may our love be an aspect of our classroom that never runs dry. May our love brighten the classroom and guide the ever-changing culture and way of life for children across the world. Show your students you love them by not bringing attention to the lack of funds, materials, time and energy that seem to accompany the profession. Show your students you love them by focusing on all the aspects of a classroom that there is an overabundance of. Focus on the surplus of your classroom and not the scarceness of your classroom.

Tricia Koechig

Tricia Koechig

I was born in West Chester, PA. I graduated college in 2011 and attended Bob Jones University. I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and an add-on degree of Middle Level Social Studies in 2015. In the fall of 2015, I started my first year teaching as a 5th grade teacher in Fairfax, VA. I have loved my first year and I plan on seeking higher education as soon as possible.
Tricia Koechig

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