It Never Fails – Teacher Version

It never fails when you are a parent, am I right? You get past MILE ONE in your car, and a sweet little voice pipes up, “I have to go to the bathroom! It’s a ‘mergency!” Or you spend all evening and patience and tears doing the math homework because your child is frantic about getting it done by the next day, only to have the teacher extend it one more week.

Or you buy an entire Costco FLEET of crispy seaweed because it’s your kid’s only snack, except they made a New Year’s resolution never to allow that green horror to pass their lips ever again (it is truly horrible, but why didn’t they know that yesterday?).

Well, let me tell you, teachers have their own ‘it never fails’ list. One is that the children will always find the glitter before you can explain how to use it without bathing in it. Another is that when one child is successfully allowed to blow their nose, all of them will suddenly need a Kleenex.

And, it doesn’t matter that you are exposed to little kid germs all day for months on end; you WILL NOT get sick until Day One of vacation. IT. NEVER. FAILS.

Now, truth be told, I may not have noticed if I was sick with the Bubonic Plague for the last few weeks of school. It was busy BUSY, as all schools are around this time of year. We were rehearsing preschool Christmas concerts, finishing projects, planning lessons with glitter, and cleaning up the glitter.

The Christmas concert song we learned had cute props, which meant I needed to gather the props, fill the props with air, disperse the props and re-disperse the props because orange is her favorite color and fix the broken props after rehearsing too hard.

On top of that, children actually do need to learn in December. We don’t get a month off learning, guys. So we compelled the children to put on their listening ears and stay sort of calm even though they were being told every morning at home that they had LIVING ELVES in their houses. Not only that, these elfen roommates were creating mischief all over the house, uncapping their toothpaste and scattering their laundry on the front lawn.

So, I don’t know the science behind this, and maybe there is none. Maybe there is only magic. But somehow my brain tells my body to stuff those sick signals down and save it for someone who cares, and my body does that until the last child goes home to discover the family elf ripping up all their toilet paper (moms and dads, why is this a thing?).

Every year, I go home feeling tired and brain foggy. In other words, my brain stops thinking, so my body gets to work with the end goal of forcing me to sit down for a second. And I get sick, even though from September to December I’ve been as fit as a fiddle, which I suppose is a positive thing. But still. It never fails.

So here I am at home, Day 1 of vacation still not at an end, and I’ve stayed as close as possible to my bathroom, hoping tomorrow I will get to drink a leisurely coffee on my patio maybe (or at least an electrolyte). I’m not happy about that, but I am content in the knowledge that my students got the very best of me for four months straight.

And that’s most definitely a win.


  • Leza Warkentin

    I have been living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the turn of the century. I am a Canadian with a musician-Mexican husband and two Mexican-Canadian patas saladas who are growing up way too fast.

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