Teacher Duties. They tend to be front and center during contract negotiations. During my years as a teacher, mine included lunch duty, mezzanine duty, and 2nd floor hallway duty. Lunch duty was cool because I could visit with lots of kids in an informal way and even remind them about an assignment or ask about other classes in a relaxed setting. There were certainly days I dreaded the job —and even days I forgot to head down to the cafeteria and the assistant principal had to call me down.
I was an outspoken advocate for teacher duties during my teaching days because I firmly believed that they helped in the building of relationships with students. Even when I was tasked with rounding up our hallway wanderers, I always knew that there were quick moments to be shared, encouragement to be given, and even laughs to be had while we made our way back to class.
Fast forward fifteen years and I discover a new duty that isn’t the norm at most schools with which I have experience but has been a game changer for me this year.
Pick up duty.
Every day, rain or shine, one teacher walks through the pick up loop and compiles a list of who is being picked up so that they can call them up from the cafeteria in the same order in which the cars have arrived. I hit the jackpot because this year, my 2nd grader’s teacher had this job. And while I imagine there have been more than a few days on which she dreads this responsibility —when it’s freezing, snowing, raining, or blazing hot—I do not for one second pretend that I’d be able to manage this duty at all, let alone with a smile on my face every day.
Meet Mrs. Cooper.
She has done this job all year. I’ve seen her bundled in winter gear, clad in rain gear, and dressed for summer while the sun beats down on the pavement. She has stood at my car window countless times and I have enjoyed the remarkable privilege of a quick check in with my son’s teacher every day. Some days I’m on a work call or reading on my phone and we don’t visit. Other days, we do. She shares updates, funny anecdotes, and even concerns. It allows me to ask questions and raise my own concerns as well as remind her to let me know if she or her class need anything.
So thank you, Mrs. Cooper, for being there every day, rain or shine (or snow!). It was an absolute gift to me.
I hope you are having a restful summer. God knows you deserve it.