Teacher Self Care

How Teaching is like Shopping at Aldi

If you’ve ever shopped at Aldi, you know that it is a one-of-a-kind experience.  It’s something that can’t be explained without experiencing it for yourself.  The same is true with teaching.  There are just some things you can’t understand unless you’ve been in the classroom, like:
Always come prepared.  You can’t just show up at Aldi.  You need two things:  a quarter and your own bags.  Show up without one of these and the whole trip is shot.  Come to school unprepared for the day and what will happen?  Of course, your principal will come in for an observation (and probably bring a special visitor, like the superintendent).
The simplest things are often the most difficult.  On your first Aldi visit, it’s very normal to experience shopping cart-related trauma.  Who knew that someone with three degrees would have such a hard time figuring out how to unlock the carts? It’s a lot like figuring out how to teach elapsed time or the difference between to, two and too.
Things have crazy names.  Most of the things you buy at Aldi will have brand names you won’t recognize.  Usually, that’ll be just fine, but there are those items such as Goldfish or Cheez-Its that just don’t work as off-brand.  We educators have more lingo than Aldi has unfamiliar brands. Like Cheez-Its, there are a few things in education that just shouldn’t be messed with. Click To Tweet
That middle aisle, though.  There’s always this huge aisle overflowing with completely random things you’ll never need but are priced so low you can’t resist.  In the teaching world, this comes in the form of emails and endless snacks in the breakroom.  A filing cabinet, 43 toothpicks, and a feather duster?  Count me in.  Leftover cake and Doritos at 8:30 a.m.?  Great idea.
Aldi Cashiers and Teachers are the boss.  I mean seriously; watch an Aldi cashier.  You’re carefully sorting items as you place them on the conveyor belt and she’s scanning at lightning speed, flinging fruits and vegetables into the cart like there’s no tomorrow.   There’s one checkout open and the line snakes around to the frozen section.  That’s teaching in a nutshell…. but we don’t get to sit down.
Everyone is just as baffled as you are.  The super-hero cashier rings your groceries up in thirty seconds flat and you’re off to the counter to bag your own.  It feels like thirty minutes pass as you worry over putting the tortillas with the spaghetti sauce and you ’re certain that everyone is watching from the check-out line. Reality is, they really aren’t watching and they don’t know how to fit the food in the bags any better than you do.  Same with teaching.
Little things make you feel like a million bucks.  I love to pass off my empty cart to someone in the parking lot or leave it unattached when I return it to the front of the store.  It makes me feel like I’ve saved the day.  Teaching is made up of nothing but little moments that will add up to a big difference. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for the ones that bring you a smile and remember that it’s okay to feel proud of yourself (even if it is over a quarter).
When the going gets tough, wine is only $2.89.  Enough said.

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