Ask any teacher the worst part of their job. Less than 5% will say ‘the kids’. Non-educators can moan and groan saying things like, “I don’t know how you do it” and “No way could I deal with bad kids all day”. You’re definitely right. YOU couldn’t deal with kids all day–so you don’t. However, those of us that choose to be teachers knew we would deal with kids all day. We knew that some of them would not be as good as others. We did NOT know, however, how much other crazy stuff we would deal with on a daily basis. If you are entering the teaching profession, especially in a low-income, inner-city school, here are some circumstances you are likely to face.

Before their first job, most teachers do not know they will be…

  • Disrespected, in some form or fashion, every day.
  • Expected to give up my time, for NO pay…”because it’s for the kids”
  • Expected to plan every family and personal event around the school calendar because ‘they get all that time off’.
  • Possibly docked in pay if I sign in one minute past the expected arrival time.
  • Unable to use planning time to plan and grade papers.
  • Dealing with endless policies created by people far removed from the classroom.
  • Sitting through hours upon hours of pointless meetings that have absolutely no tangible effect on enhancing education for students.

These conditions are the norm in many inner-city schools around the country. The teachers who don’t completely lose their passion often leave for schools that promise better conditions. The students who benefit the most from the structure and consistency a school can provide, often don’t have that. Such conditions contribute to the large numbers of teachers who leave within the first few years of teaching. See next week’s post, How Teachers Rebel, to learn how those teachers that remain in the classroom often resort to other ways of dealing with the stressful conditions of the workplace.

What do you wish you would have known BEFORE you entered the classroom?

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