No bathroom breaks: A day in the life of a teacher

My mom is an educator. Growing up, she always told me that she – and all my teachers – had eyes in their back of her head. She also said that she never had time to use the restroom, to each her lunch (or dinner for that matter), to check her email or voicemails, or even to take one of those deep yoga breaths she so loves.I tended to have a meaningful, teacher’s pet relationship with my teachers. I remember thinking they had plenty of time to eat lunch, use the toilet, chat with their fiances on the phone and play with us in sports after school. Apparently, I did not believe my mom and I also seriously took my sweet teachers for granted.

The past few months I have spent time in a diverse array of schools cross the country filming success stories of our non-profit partners empowering students, teachers and families through education. Everyone who meets me thinks I have this huge enthusiasm for life and a love for my work which gives me an immense amount of energy. Well friends, I am exhausted. These teachers work. so. hard.

Suzie in rural Oklahoma, Justine in San Francisco, Suzanne in Georgia, Kristen in New York – none of them sit down. They are on their feet from 6am to 8pm prepping, planning, creating, caring, listening, lecturing, reading and reviewing. Repeat. Their hearts are huge. I am starting to think teachers are born with bigger hearts than the rest of us. And much more patience. Oh my goodness, the patience! Teaching the same lesson over and over again to that student who just refuses to listen. These teachers don’t give up on their kids. They give just as much attention to the ESL students freshly arrived in America as to the honors International Baccalaureate students who strive to attend Stanford.

These teachers have grace. They give dignity. They are educating our future. They are the best chance we have at world peace, love and prosperity. Yet what are they given? A discount code for Better World Books? Decent health insurance? A “stable” job? They have student loans. They have families. They have laid off husbands and wives and children serving in the military overseas. They have hopes and dreams to travel and help educate those even less fortunate around our planet.

I want to give teachers more. I want to give them whatever Better World Books and our community (yes, you!) can do to make teaching a little bit easier. I want to give them thanks.

Please take a moment to write a note to a teacher that changed your life. That helped your children. That inspired your work. Share the messages below and hopefully you can also track down your teacher to personally thank him or her too!

What teacher was most influential in your life? Please share your thank-you note to him or her below. 


  1. Lovely post!

  2. Haley Kilpatrick says:

    right on! so thoughtful too.

  3. I was drawn to your lead comment – no bathroom breaks! What other profession has that problem? Thank you! Teachers are so maligned these days that it’s great to see someone giving them the credit they deserve. Now if only the ‘powers that be’ would realize this and help rather than hinder education!!

  4. Thank you! I appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  5. Erin,
    Thanks for this message. It means a lot.

  6. What a beautifully written article and a beautiful tribute to those who do so much for us but get so little recognition in return. And you’re right, if we all told a teacher who had a great impact on us how much we appreciate them, it would be a way to give back a little of what they so selflessly gave to us. Our teachers need to know that they are appreciated and that they DO make a huge difference. I am extremely grateful to all the wonderful teachers that helped guide me in the right direction throughout my life.

    I am especially grateful, however, to one teacher I had the great good fortune to have twice. She not only changed my world, she rocked my world. She loved her students (and still does) with all the love in her heart, and this made all the difference. She knew exactly what her students needed and never hesitated to give them exactly that. I am fortunate enough to have kept in touch with her (so I can tell her this in person) and she continues to teach me about life, love, and inspires me to be a better person, just as she did all those years ago.

    Our teachers deserve not only our gratitude but our love, for all the love and effort they put into their craft… not their job, their craft, because teaching for them is not just a job, and it shows.

  7. It is a very educative book I want to discuss about this book with my friends

  8. It is a very educative book I want to discuss about this book with my friends. Previous comment has gone in wrong

  9. Pingback: Teachers: NPR Wants to Share Your Story - Better World Books Blog - Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Community Outreach & more

  10. Concerned_Reader says:

    Wow. First of all: I’d strongly recommend an editor. Things like ” had eyes in their back of her head ” just look sloppy.

    Second: I’m glad you discovered that teachers work hard: It’s right up there with discovering the sun is that ball of hydrogen in space, but good for you.

    This post is incredibly smug and patronising. Your “insight” into the value of education is neither original or incisive. It might have been insightful had you let them speak, rather than keeping the spot-light on you and your wide-eyed disbelief as your rose-tinted world is shaken by the grim reality you so bravely uncovered.

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