Even after the school day comes to an end, a teacher’s work doesn't stop. Their commitment to the profession doesn’t only exist in a classroom — many often drag piles of papers home with them or spend their own money on classroom decorations and school supplies so every one of their students has a fulfilling learning experience. It’s not your standard 9 to 5 job, and this viral photo of a teacher about to give birth working from her hospital bed perfectly demonstrates just how dedicated educators are to their work.
Andrea McDonald of Rooted In Love Photography captured the beautifully candid moment when new mom and second grade teacher Jennifer Pope was finalizing her lesson plans just one hour before she gave birth to her daughter on April 23.
“No, she is not doing her taxes. Those papers would be her lesson plans her husband is about to go drop off with her sub in the parking lot,” McDonald captioned the photo she posted on Facebook last week. “Spoil them rotten because even in labor, they care. No lie, she gave birth less than an hour later.”
On Monday, May 1 — the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week for many schools across the country — the photographer’s post had received over 20,000 likes on Facebook and hundreds of uplifting comments, many from fellow teachers sharing the amazing things they've done for their students as well. (One teacher wrote that she once went dumpster diving for a student's missing retainer, so they really do it all.)
“Teachers’ jobs are far from finished when the bell rings,” McDonald, who was a teacher for many years, told HuffPo. “Many have tutoring, lessons plans, meetings, loads of paperwork, grading, etc."
She continued, "I have a lot of family memories in my mom’s classroom helping get her classroom ready each school year, and I remember doing the same with my kids in the summer. Teachers are extremely dedicated and love their children as their own."
Although there is a conventional idea out there that teachers work shorter days than other working professionals, a real teaching day is actually around 12-16 hours, according to an infographic put together by BusyTeacher.org. That number includes one extra hour before or after school to offer extra help to those in need and three to five extra hours at home grading, lesson planning, answering emails, and making phone calls and home visits.
And the moment McDonald captured is a perfect example of the work that goes beyond the traditional job description.
“To many ― perhaps all ― of us, this is so much more than a job. It’s an all encompassing passion,” Pope, the photographed teacher, told HuffPo. “It’s who we are, fueled by a love for children. Seeing and celebrating the successes of our students is comparable to watching our own children succeed. It really is a remarkable thing.”
It is indeed. Make sure to give thanks to all teachers this week (and beyond) for the incredibly important job they do, day in, day out ― even when they're in labor.