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Larry Efird: How to know when you’re a teacher

You know you’re a teacher when you want to call the television station after a reporter overcorrected his grammar, actually making a mistake while thinking he was correct.

You know you’re a teacher when you’re the “almost victim” of an IRS scam, and while fearing you are going to be arrested in the next 20 minutes, you’re more worried about who is going to cover your afternoon classes.

You know you’re a teacher when you spend the last $10 of your paycheck on school supplies, rather than for gas or food.

You know you’re a teacher when you can’t force yourself to throw anything away in your classroom because you might need it later — and you will.

You know you’re a teacher when designing a bulletin board is actually fun — or not.

You know you’re a teacher when you finally realize the title “Mr.” is for you, and not for your father.

You know you’re a teacher if you can’t retire until all your student loans are paid off.

You know you’re a teacher when your students think you have no personal life outside of school. (And the truth is, maybe you don’t!)

You know you’re a teacher when you watch a movie and think how much your students need to see it too.

You know you’re a teacher when you can’t sleep the night before a new school year begins.

You know you’re a teacher if you can eat faster than you can talk.

You know you’re a teacher if there’s always one more set of papers to grade.

You know you’re a teacher if you can say the Pledge of Allegiance in your heart while taking the roll in your mind.

You know you’re a teacher when you can’t remember someone’s name, but you can still remember the research paper she wrote 10 years ago.

You know you’re a teacher when the thinking of your students suddenly makes more sense than the thinking of those who are your own age.

You know you’re a teacher when halfway through the summer, you start planning for the next school year.

You know you’re a teacher when your spouse knows your best and worst students personally without ever having met or seen them.

You know you’re a teacher when the success or failure of a student feels like your own.

You know you’re a teacher when a random person asks you if you’re still teaching.

You know you’re a teacher when you keep going back to Hobby Lobby to see if the item you wanted is still there after six months, and if it’s been marked down 90 percent before you buy it.

You know you’re a teacher when you can’t go to a fast-food restaurant in your hometown without the person at the drive-through window knowing your name.

You know you’re a teacher when a student’s smile is worth more than a pay raise, and because they’re not as rare.

You know you’re a teacher when your worst nightmare or dream is a classroom filled with kids who are out of control.

You know you’re a teacher when you still get a knot in your stomach if you’re called to the principal’s office.

You know you’re a teacher when you tell people who are talking at the movie to be quiet, regardless of their age.

You know you’re a teacher when you can see a child’s soul, not just his or her face.

You know you’re a teacher when the other people you work with are your heroes and are your extended family.

You know you’re a teacher when you believe your words and actions will live on through the lives of your students.

You know you’re a teacher when you understand that professional awards and recognitions don’t mean as much as personal relationships.

You know you’re a teacher when you have no doubts that you were chosen by God to be one.

Larry Efird teaches at A.L. Brown High School.

 

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