Only years after we started did anyone outside of schools begin to wonder. After all, teachers had been doing so much with so little for so long that people had forgotten that we, too, were subject to the basic laws of physics. Let’s be honest: most people had forgotten the basic laws of physics, so it was easy to forget the rest.
No one questioned how our classrooms were set up, the computers charged, the rooms tidied. No one wondered how teachers were able to give exams, grade all the final projects, communicate with parents, write report cards and start an entirely new semester with an entirely new set of classes and students all in the same week.
When politicians or parents or the public added another thing to teachers’ plates, they never wondered how it would get done. “This isn’t much,” they thought – if they thought about it at all. Soon we were able to give epipens, handle both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures, monitor blood sugar, stop bleeding, re-start hearts and more. We could identify and support students with any and every learning need because we seemed to have endless time to read the latest research and put it into place in the classroom.
Every English teacher read hundreds of books per year so they could always recommend the latest ones. Science teachers set up perfect labs, day after day, week after week, month after month. History teachers never lacked for primary sources. Art rooms were constantly clean. Teachers called home for every absence, every missed test, every concern. We all returned student work the day after it was submitted.
No one really noticed. “After all,” they thought, “that’s what teachers *should* do.” The less generous grumbled, “It’s about time they did their jobs” while the more charitable thought, “teachers seem much more relaxed than when I was in school.”
When the first scientist suggested that maybe something unusual was happening, teachers basically ignored it. “Oh,” we laughed, “don’t be silly. Teaching is easy. We have plenty of time.” When the second voice joined the first, a few of us started to worry. Luckily, it was a long time before our secret stash of time turners were revealed and we had to confess just how many hours all of this actually took…
Sorry. Just kidding. Today we had about three hours to tie up loose ends from last semester, tidy our rooms – or change rooms or even schools – and prepare for all new classes. But fear not, we have three whole days of teaching full time before our report cards are due. Totally normal.