Dear Teacher Crying While Pulling Into School

Dear Teacher Crying While Pulling Into School

Dear Teacher Crying While Pulling Into School,

I got mixed up in the morning elementary school drop off traffic. I usually try to avoid school zones during drop off and pick up, but I’m visiting an unfamiliar area. While stopped at a red light I noticed you in the other lane waiting to turn into the school. You were obviously crying.

Sobbing, actually. I saw your shoulders heaving and you were holding a ball of tissues to your crumpled face. I was torn between looking away to give you privacy and continuing to watch in case you happened to glance my way so I could give you a smile of encouragement. The light turned green and we went on our ways, but I couldn’t stop thinking about you.

Dear Teacher Crying While Pulling Into School

You were alone pulling into the school, so I’m assuming you’re a teacher. My guess is you were running late this morning. You were probably holding on by a thread. Then you got caught up in the drop off traffic and hit the red light, making you even later. It was all too much and you pulled into the school parking lot in tears, unsure how you’d make it through the day.

If I’d caught your gaze I would have tried to telepathically assure you “You aren’t alone” and “You’ll get through this.”

No, I don’t know what your “this” is, but we all have a “this.” 

You were probably up way too late last night grading papers, reviewing lesson plans, writing reports, cutting out letters for a new bulletin board and researching best practices in differentiated instruction. I’m guessing you were exhausted after teaching all day, attending meetings after school and then going home to cook, clean and care for your own family, while feeling guilty for not having more time and energy to give them. Maybe you were tackling late-night work while trying to balance a sick kiddo or teething baby. There just never seems to be enough of you to go around, does it?

Dear Teacher Crying While Pulling Into School

Then the alarm came just a few hours after you finally dozed off. Or maybe it didn’t go off for some reason and you woke up in a panic. Maybe you got up on time, but life happened. Your dog ran out the door. You couldn’t find your keys. There was a toddler tantrum or a diaper blowout. One of your daughters’ shoes was missing – the only pair that currently fits her because you haven’t had time to shop. You spilled coffee all over yourself and had to change. You got halfway to school and realized you left everything you need for the day at home. 

Whatever happened, it has you pulling into school completely frazzled and it’s not even 9 a.m. You’re probably beating yourself up for whatever mishap led to being late. You’re overwhelmed and exhausted, but desperately trying to pull it together because you have another full day ahead of you. You are relieved when your search for sunglasses is a success and hope you can get away with “forgetting” to take them off until your eyes are less red and puffy.

I can imagine all of these things because I’ve been there. There were many days my floorboard was covered with wadded up fast food napkins wet with tears and snot after an ugly cry in the car. I’ve had way too many mornings where I didn’t get nearly enough sleep, struggled to get my own child who has special needs in the car to drop her off at early care at her school and then rushed to get to my job across town where dozens of other people’s children and heaps of responsibility were waiting for me. The weight of feeling like I wasn’t measuring up as either a mother or teacher has felt like too much to bear many times. I’ve left one school parking lot in tears and arrived at another still crying more than once. 

So, yes, Teacher Crying While Turning Into School, I get it. I’ve been you. I hope you have someone you can lean on to help you get through the day, someone who has hot coffee and a muffin waiting for you at your desk, someone who will tell you it’s okay to fall apart sometimes and that you’re doing great. 

Because you really are doing great. You’re stretched way too thin, but you’re still making it work. That’s amazing. You’re amazing.  

I hope your day gets better. I’m cheering you on. You’ve got this.

Also Read: 5 Tips to Avoid Teacher Burnout

Dear Teacher Crying While Pulling Into School

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed., an editor at Bored Teachers, is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She's been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga. Connect with her at [email protected]
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