The Problem With Teaching
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The Problem With Teaching

It isn’t the’s everything else.

Tra Nguyen on Unsplash

Let's get one thing straight: Teaching. Isn't. Easy.

We don't share our frustrations simply to complain. Don't get me wrong, teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. I wouldn't change the path I chose in life for anything...but I would change a few things about this profession and how it is perceived:

1. I would change the idea that teaching is simple. It is anything but. We are constantly forced to change our methods and everything we know simply because others think it is the best option. We must always be on our toes, because you never know what could happen.

Take the pandemic for a very strong example. We were not prepared for such a tragic time, but we made do. We were forced to adapt to the new conditions, with no extra training or any sort of extra pay. We were simply expected to do what was right (though we aren’t 100% sure that is), and knew we’d be blamed if anything went wrong. Yes, I understand there are other workers out there who are adapting and risking their lives, and I appreciate them all so much as well. We all need to be one during a time like this, but it does not appear that way at all.

Teaching is about learning to adapt, but not being taught how to. Teaching is about putting others’ needs before our own, and being happy to do so. It doesn’t matter the cost; we are going to make sure the students are happy above all else.

2. I would also change the idea that teaching is a part time job.

“Must be nice to only work 9 months out of the year”

“Teaching is the highest paying part time job I’ve seen”

“I wish I could get a vacation every few months, then have 3 months off every year”

Listen: we do not only work 9 months out of the year. First of all, summer isn’t even a full 3 months. Teachers often go back weeks before the students do, for planning and professional development. During the summer, we are planning on our own time. We are thinking about different ways we are going to teach a unit, or how we might alter what we did last year. I was taking a required ESOL course all summer to ensure I keep my teaching license. I was studying for tests that I need to renew my license. Summers are great, but they aren’t JUST spent relaxing on a beach with a margarita in our hands.

During school vacations, we are grading finals, or essays, or projects. We are answering emails from confused students on “vacation homework”. We are simultaneously trying to enjoy our week away from the classroom, while worrying if our students are understanding what they need to do. Worrying if they are safe at home. Worrying if they are getting enough food, because not everyone is so lucky.

Our jobs just don’t end when the bell rings, or when we walk out of the classroom. We have 504/IEP meetings and paperwork, lesson/unit planning, grading, professional development, training, staff meetings, parent and student emails, administrative emails, constant backlash on what we are doing right vs wrong, and so much more. It is a rare occasion when a teacher only spends 40 hours at school. We work for free after we hit 40 hours. Don’t even get me started on pay.

We wish we could truly show others how challenging it is to be a teacher. We are not simply sitting in a classroom all day watching your children. We are up in the front trying to engage them in every way possible. We are trying to adhere to all learning styles; changing up plans to ensure all students are getting the most out of the lesson.

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