I’m going to do a soapbox here and I generally don’t do that kind of post, so forgive me in advance.
I am a substitute teacher. I have been teaching kids in some capacity pretty much constantly since I was about 20 years old. I have taught everybody from preschoolers to college freshmen, and I feel the need to address a few “issues” regarding teachers.
Teachers don’t work during the summer.
Teachers DO work during the summer. Planning for next year. It takes the entire summer just about, to re-do lessons based on curriculum changes and beaurocrats in the education system. Nobody can leave well enough alone. Ever. So everything changes a lot from year to year. The only time teachers can do this work is during the summer. During our “break.”
All they do is teach kids, how hard can that be?
Yes, we teach your little darlings five days per week for about nine months of the year. Roughly 30 of them at a time in elementary school, well over 100 different kids per day if you teach middle or high school where the kids change classes. Please remember the feelings of relief all you non-teachers get when school starts again in the fall, or when you put little Jenny or Joey on the bus in the morning. WE take your kids all day every day and teach them academics, social skills and control. We hug them and tie their shoes and band-aid their owies. We give them part of our lunch when you forget to feed them in the morning or forget to send lunch or money, or if the school lunch is gross and lets face it, school lunches definitely tend to have a gross factor. We spend our own money to stock our rooms with things that will help your kid learn. We often spend our own money when we have a student who needs a notebook or pencils and you can’t or don’t provide it for them. We dry tears, cheer for them and cry our own tears for them at night when we think about the ones with hard home lives or if one of them is sick, or hurt, or bullied.
Teaching is incredibly hard, physically, emotionally, spiritually. If I took home all the wounded ones I’ve seen over the years, they’d be stacked up like cord wood in my house and I’d have to change my last name to Duggar and/or get a couple of sister wives.
Teachers don’t care, they are only teachers so they get the summers off.
See issues 1 and 2 above for your answer.
These are only a few of the issues I’ve heard people talking about lately. There are a million more. I get irritated when I hear people talk about how teachers make too much money. Again, the kids that so many of the parents out there can’t wait to send back to school, come to us in droves day after day. We are expected to make sure they do well on standardized tests, make good grades and have friends and don’t pick on others. We are expected to be sweet and kind and gentle. We are expected to maintain a constant level of understanding and patience, for thirty kids at once, when SOME, not all but SOME of the parents we see regularly, can’t maintain those qualities at home with only a couple of kids who are related to them by blood.
We live in a culture where no one thinks a thing of someone like George Clooney making millions of dollars for pretending to be other people in largely crappy movies. We live in a society where sports athletes who play GAMES for a living are paid millions of dollars, and on their off time, get into bar fights, DUI accidents and drug deals gone wrong, get their hands slapped and keep getting their big bucks. We live in a culture where teachers and nurses make fifty thousand dollars a year and when all is said and done, pay about half of their salaries to taxes and union dues and fees, only to find out that the people who WORK FOR THEM (ostensibly), i.e. elected officials etc. earn four times more than their bosses (us) and then have the balls to tell us we need to do more because they have screwed up. We live in a culture where vice and bad behavior makes you popular and well paid. We live in a culture where a teacher can lose their career for something they do outside of work that has nothing to do with school, but a politician can embezzle money and hide it in their freezer for years and then get re-elected. The world is upside down.
The next time you trash teachers as a whole, stop and think for a second that maybe the problem is the system, or parents who don’t take care of their kids. Yes, there are some bad teachers, just like there are some bad people, but overall, we are not bad. We try so hard to take care of your kids and teach them what they need to know. We get attached to your kids, I dare say, we come to love them and it breaks our hearts when a child begs us not to tell you when they are in trouble because they are afraid of what you will do to them when they get home. It breaks our hearts when first and second graders come to school and tell us all about the violent, sex-filled horror movie they watched last night with their parents. We really do care, we really do work very hard and what we do really DOES matter. I’m not complaining about the low pay, or the long hours or the heartache. Every single one of us knew what we were getting into and all of us did it gladly. We don’t ask for much in return, maybe just a little respect would be nice.
So, be kind to one another, including the teachers in your life. You don’t need to give us a gift, we’d be happy with a smile, we love it when a parent says thank-you, you’ve made a difference to my child. Have a great night and the countdown to summer continues, eight more days. 🙂