- Real Teaching Resolutions - January 5, 2017
- 23 Times I have Questioned My Sanity While Teaching - September 7, 2016
- Part 3: Adventures in Real Word English/Language Arts – Let Them Be Great - August 23, 2016
- Part 2: Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: Making Them Care - August 4, 2016
- New School Year Advice from a Ten Year Teacher - August 1, 2016
- Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: The Planning Stages - July 18, 2016
- Dispelling Myths about Teachers - July 8, 2016
- The Triangle of Support All Students Need - June 7, 2016
- Am I Enough as a Teacher? - May 31, 2016
- One Standardized Test, Many Different Student Stories - May 17, 2016
“Oh, you are a teacher? It must be so nice to have two months off. I just have a normal job with only two weeks’ vacation.” We have all heard it. And to be honest, we are sick of it. Sure, we get summers “off.” I do not need to mention about the workshops, lesson plans, and reworking curriculum to meet the ever-changing standards, but I did. Here are a few things you may not realize.
1.Free time. Our free time is spent grading papers, lesson planning, and researching new ways to teach an old concept. The majority of us are tutors, coaches, and sponsors. We spend time after school helping develop talents and skills, for no pay.
2.Emotional distress. Being a teacher is an emotional roller coaster. We cannot “leave it at work or leave it at home.” We deal with children. We care about each and every one of them. Click To Tweet Teachers spend more time with our students than their parents spend with them. Brutal, but honest. I have a son. I know his teacher sees him more than I do. We carry your child’s emotions with us. I hear about heartbreaks, failing classes, and even trouble at home. How could I leave a situation like “My girlfriend gave our baby up for adoption without telling me” or “My mother keeps selling my shoes to get money for drugs?” and just report this and push it from my mind? How can I teach Macbeth, when I know why the boy in the back is near tears? I wish I could figure it out and if you can, please let me know. We carry guilt with us. It is hard to balance work and home with just one or two kids to worry about. Imagine having to worry about thirty or even seventy-five.
3.No privacy. We cannot go to Walmart in shorts, no make-up, and a pony-tail. We might run into a student and parent, then we will have to have a parent-teacher conference in the cereal aisle. Or a student might see that bottle of wine in our cart. Then Monday comes and surprise, Ms. So and So is a wino or Ms. So and So, you didn’t listen to the DARE lady.
Social Media has become a dangerous land mine. You have a bad day or a bad customer? No problem. Rant. Teachers do it, and we get pulled into the office for our negativity or a lecture on why a friend posted an… Click To TweetEven with privacy settings, things get out. So if it is not PG, it doesn’t go on my page. Everyone says we have freedom of speech, but anything can be taken out of context and lead to a dismissal. Oh and did I mention homecoming week? Everyone’s house is victimized. If you are loved- only toilet paper awaits. Hated? Get ready…
4.We can’t get sick. It is more trouble to miss than to actually go. When most people miss work, a desk is empty or a register stays closed. We have thirty souls that need something to do. Something they understand and keep them busy for ninety minutes so they don’t torment the sub or in my case, our coworkers. If a teacher is absent, we have to give up our prep time to cover that class. Then we have tons of papers to grade, that were rushed through and more than likely, incomplete.
5.We save the world. It is not all bad. We save and guide our students’ lives. Teachers help choose majors, guide interests, and build confidence. We inspire and redirect. We don’t have superpowers, but our kids see them. We are thanked, years later. Our students remember us when they are forty-five. They are at class reunions and say remember when Ms. So and So said that? She changed my life.
That is why we cannot live a normal life. We are not normal people.
To read part II of this article, click here.