It is the middle of September and you are already tired. It is scary isn’t it? This tired feeling so early in the school year. If this is what September feels like, how will we ever make it to Thanksgiving? How will we ever survive until May? There is just so much to do. So many new programs to learn, new formats to master, new IEPs and 504 Plans and accommodations to keep track of. It isn’t that you don’t want to do all of things, it is just. There are all of the things. All of the things all of the time, and every year it seems as though there is a new system in place. It will get easier, they say. Once you get used to it. You would like two years with the same program and the chance to get used to it all.
In the midst of all of this you have names, personalities, and needs to learn whether written down officially or just recently discovered. It is all you can do to keep it all straight. You remember what it was like to be sure that you could save kids one desk at a time, one lesson at a time. You remember, vaguely why you took this job. You remember the teachers who made school great for you. You still hope to be that for some of your students. You still hope you can make a difference; you just wonder if there is time to make that difference when you are so busy making lesson plans, and making sure your instruction is data driven.
You wonder if doing all the right things is really what it takes to do right by your kids. You’re tired, and you feel a little bad about that. You don’t want your students to have a teacher who is tired. You want them to have the best.
I know it is hard right now. But please remember, what you do matters. Desperately, you matter. I don’t want that to be one more thing that exhausts you. One more reason you do too much. Just showing up matters. You are doing a good thing.
Education is the quickest way out of poverty. It is still the best way to get a leg up in this world. 75% of prisoners don’t have a highschool education. The more success a kid can have from kindergarten all the way through high school, the more likely they are to avoid jail. I need you to remember that, you keep kids out of jail. Wanting to be there, showing up coffee in hand and a little low on sleep is making a huge difference in the world. You matter.
I know your classes are maxed out in a way they have never been before (and three years ago wasn’t even legal). I know the curriculum gets pulled out from under you just when you are able to stand on it without wobbling. I know that the paperwork is enough to drown in. I know. But I also know you matter. What you do is important. It saves kids from going to jail. I just want to make sure you know you make a difference.
AMEN!!!! Thank you, Abby. Truth here, good and important truth.
Teaching is not stressful.
Stress is being at the top of a 40ft ladder. With no one at the bottom holding it. At Night. In Winter. In Rain. In the wind. Holding something with one hand and nailing it down with another, hopeing you don’t fall off.
Stress is being in the military, working 3+ weeks, on 12 hour shifts, with no days off, repeatedly.
Stress is having an a air conditioner blow up in your face, sucking down asbestos, and not being able to breath, hopeing you don’t get cancer.
Stress is having a business, and not being able to trust dozens of contractors to not screw you, and having to watch them every step of the job to make sure it gets done correctly, so you don’t go broke.
Stress is driving a semi, being away from home for weeks on end, in all weather, night and day, living in a little box, and dealing with dispatchers, and state patrols wanting to catch you doing anything at all they can give you a thousand dollar ticket for.
Teaching is THE GREATEST JOB IN THE WORLD, and has NO downside, WHATSOEVER. In a fair world we would have to pay to work with kids.
Count your blessing and stop whining. In Particular, and Especially, if you’ve never done anything else.
You are obviosly NOT a teacher…You are ignorant. Thanks for your support…NOT!!!
I agree – you are obviously not, nor have you been, a teacher – otherwise, you would know that it IS stressful. While it is a wonderful privilege to hold the life and development of our future generations in hand, it is also stressful; knowing that fingers will be pointed at YOU when they do not succeed – not at the parents/caregivers who don’t help them at home, and trust me, there are many. It is stressful when you are expected to teach effectively when your classroom has several students who are extreme behavior problems. There are many of those, too. Kids throw chairs and other furniture, curse at the teachers, threaten teachers and other students, bite, kick and yell; yes, even in elementary school. They will flat out tell you “I don’t have to listen to you!”…and you know what? They are right! They don’t HAVE to do anything we ask or tell them to, because so many of them are no longer raised to respect other people or their property. That’s not how they do it at home, so they don’t have to do it that way at school. Suspension is not always the answer because some of these kids WANT to be at home, so they can sleep in and play their XBOX or PlayStation all day.
Trust me when I tell you that teaching is a stressful job, in addition to being one of the greatest jobs in the world. And sir, I previously worked in the Criminal Justice field, so I can attest to the stress that exists.
You need to have a personal relationship with a teacher. She isn’t saying this is the only stressful profession; just the one she is speaking on today. Get a life. And a heart.
LOL…Judging by the responses, I am ‘obviosly’ not a english teacher; Don’t support you because I don’t agree with you; don’t have a heart; and am supposed to ‘trust me’ someone who self-confirms as a whiner. I am a teacher, and my opinion is at least as valid as yours. Boo-Hoo.This is the most awesome profession, and has no downside.
Tim, you have clearly not been responsible for the safety, nurturing, and education of other people’s children.
Obviously you have never been a teacher – we aren’t whining we are working hard for your criticism – taking time away from families to better yours – is it war – no not that stressful, is it business,- no a different kind of stressful – no one tells the people in the jobs you have mentioned not to be stressed – it would be unkind and unrealistic to do so – so why is it ok for you to tell me that as a teacher I cannot be tired and stressed when I feel the importance and weight of the trust you put in me (along with 30 other parents per class period) to educate, mold and protect the most important accomplishment in any parents life?
I can’t believe you. It is 9 pm. I have been up since 5:30 am. While I have not been at school that entire time I have been working that entire time: prepping materials, planning lessons, grading work, meeting with students, meeting with parents, meeting with teachers, meeting with administrators. I did have a dentist appointment, and no, I didn’t do work while driving (while I have called parents while driving in the past) and the entire time I wished there was a way I could be on my computer at the same time working on tomorrows lesson.
I am not saying that those other jobs are not stressful, and teaching IS the greatest job in the world. But I am tired. Every good teacher I know is tired. And rightly so.
You need not belittle our dedication in order to justify your own insecurities about your work or stress.
Tim you sound stressed. 🙂 Just curious but have you ever taught? If not then how would you know if its stressful or not? There are downsides to teaching just like ANY job has downsides. However, there are amazing benefits too. Teachers work many hours (unpaid) outside the classroom grading papers, writing emails to parents, buying items for their classroom, and figuring out which professional development classes they need to take. Many teachers have families of their own in addition to the 26 first grade students that depend on them during the week. They have kids with special needs and some have behavioral issues in their classrooms and they must create a classroom that works for every single child. Teachers often have to work towards their masters degree and take ongoing professional development classes. They need to know each child and differentiate learning to meet individual goals. Ongoing education and a masters degree that costs a pretty penny on a teachers salary are also common. Working with kids is the amazing part but its all the other stuff that make the profession stressful at times and often makes teachers feel discouraged.
I dare you. Come try. You won’t last a week, IF you get through the paperwork.
I’m just completely shocked by what you had to say Tim. If you are a teacher, I feel bad for your students. You obviously don’t work like you’re supposed to. It’s a shame that this devotional was meant to encourage tired teachers (Which hello…is every teacher) and you turned it around to teacher bashing. Teachers, it is exhausting. It is tiring, but the benefits are truly wonderful. Teachers, you matter! We matter! Don’t let this idiot comment ruin that.
Wow, thanks for the benefit of your ‘other lives’-skills! True, not many have well-rounded life experiences of “other work-worlds” to have the perspectives you’ve shared here. Appreciate you. I agree… Love teaching!
Oh and your post is at 8:53am, why aren’t you at work on your latter? No wonder it’s so dangerous you are texting while “standing on a 40ft latter, installing an AC and driving a semi” all at the same time. You know what, your right, your job is more stressful than mine!
Tim, I am assuming you are not a teacher and have never had any teaching experience. Please do yourself and other non-educators a favor and do not speak of something with such confidence that you have had no experience with yourself. Thank you. -A Teacher
I was in the US Army for 3 years, worked for TSA for a year and have been a teacher for 5 years. I can tell you there is NO STRESS like TEACHER STRESS! You see, when I was driving a HEMTT in the Army, if I screwed up and crashed it would have injured me and cost the government some money…it wouldn’t have affected 25+ children for YEARS. When I worked for TSA, if I screwed up and didn’t catch the pen knife in a carry on I could have been fired, and maybe somehow that pen knife might have injured someone…but it wouldn’t have potentially caused children to be incarcerated down the road. When I was in the Army, we had “Family Time” on Thursdays when we got to leave work early. If I had to work late I usually didn’t have to go in early. Sure we went to the field, we pulled CQ or Staff Duty and those things sucked, but guess what? I didn’t have to pay for my own bullets when I went to the range to qualify. When the HEMTT needed to be refueled I didn’t pull out my own credit card to pay for the gas. When I worked at TSA and I needed more swabs for the explosive testing equipment I didn’t have to decide which bill to put off so I could purchase them. In my classroom this year I had NO BOOKS. Let me say that again…NO BOOKS. Yes, I’m supposed to teach reading to a class of 20 kids with NO BOOKS. My district didn’t have $ for them, my school had no $ for them, so guess who’s kids didn’t get school clothes until the end of September so I could buy books, crayons, paper, etc for my classroom? My own kids went without (temporarily) so I could DO MY JOB. Would we ever ask a nurse to buy the band aids for her patients? Well I buy band aids, cause when a kid falls and is bleeding, I’m the one who has to tend to them and the school isn’t handing out band aids. Heck, I buy my own staples and paperclips too. I buy my own copy paper – can you imagine a lawyer having to bring in copy paper to his office to print his briefs? Of course not! So yes, teaching is stressful because it’s a money sink. It’s a time sink too – I spend way more time working on school related stuff than I EVER did in the Army – even including field problems! I have to do two book studies this year, present to my colleagues about them, present to my colleagues about other topics, attend trainings, attend more trainings, meet with admin and parents after school hours. I grade papers, compile assessments, design curriculum (did I mention in addition to NO BOOKS my classroom also had no cds/dvds, no textbooks, no workbooks, nada, nothing. I get to print off my standards and figure out how to teach them!) use my assessment data to plan interventions, write IEPS, attend IEP meetings, keep a ton of records just in case we get sued down the road. AND I have to go in every day and make hungry kids, tired kids, sad kids, mad kids, kids who’s mom/dad just left the family, kids who’s mom/dad just passed away, kids who’s mom/dad or both are in jail, somehow I have to make them WANT TO LEARN! I have to make my lessons interesting, keep my kids motivated, and do it all while trying not to spend TOO MUCH of my paycheck so that I still have enough to pay my own bills. And what happens if I fall down on the job?! Those kids suffer. Those kids who break my heart every year, who I fall in love with and wish I could take home to my house where at least I would know they had something to eat over the weekend. The kid who screams and cries “Don’t let him get me!” when step-daddy comes to pick her up and even though I have made every call I can make, he still gets to come pick her up. The kid who walks in with holes in his shoes so large its more sock than shoe and there’s a foot of snow on the ground. That kid might not make it in life if I don’t do my job well! If I can’t somehow turn on his brain and get that knowledge in there – spark a love of learning so that he’ll turn down he easy lure of drugs/alcohol/gangs. If that’s not stressful then maybe my definition of stress is wrong.
You’ve obviously done everything but TEACH! I’d like to see u say that after teaching a full week of any grade, but u should definitely start with 22 kindergarteners! That should do you right in, and then you’ll have another stressful career to add to your list of most stressful!
So…it’s okay for you to “complain” about other profession’s stressors, but it’s not okay for a teacher to do the same? EVERY situation you mentioned involved a choice…to include being in the military (for which I am eternally grateful for those souls, but being a soldier is a choice…just like teaching.) You are right…it is the best job in the world, but it’s also ONE of the hardest in the world! You state you are a teacher? Then if you can’t relate to this post…you aren’t doing you job right…maybe teaching just isn’t for you…I think I “hear” a 40 foot ladder calling your name. BTW…I was in full blown teaching mode at 8:53 this morning…no wonder you think it’s the best job in the world! You are getting paid to troll the internet…good for you buddy!
Tim, why don’t you got climb a ladder….. I am in year 18 of teaching, I walk the halls with teachers, you my friend don’t have a damn clue because if you did you wouldn’t be making light of this woman’s encouraging words. When you care about something as much as these women do, there is constant stress. An elementary school is semi controlled chaos in a box and if you don’t believe me go sit in your local cafeteria for one lunch period. I’m a highschool coach, I teach a full day myself. Friday night 5,000 people came to our game and saw us fail on the last play of the game. It has taken me 2 full days to recover from the stress. Have you ever had 5,000 people judging your output at the convenience store you work in? Teachers have a WHOLE CITY on them. If you’re a teacher it must be in Mayberry. Buzz off buzzard.
SERIOUSLY… ya… nothing in the original writing was about how you are NOT stressed… walk a mile in a teacher’s footsteps… 24/7 for a full week… then maybe you are justified in posting the above statement!! Go for it .. I dare you!!!
I have to disagree with your post (even though its from a year ago). Teaching is stressful, because as a teacher we want the best for every student in our classroom. ‘Every student can be successful’ has been my motto since I started teaching ~ now, let me give you a little bit of rundown of a personal note.
When I came out of high school, I joined the Navy and was stationed aboard an Aircraft Carrier for 3 and 1/2 years (and recently discovered that the ship was covered in asbestos). That was stressful, given the fact that a year in we were involved with Desert Shield and then Desert Storm. When I exited the Navy, jobs were not lined up for me and that was stressful, so I decided to return to school. Working odd jobs and having a family at home made this time period extremely stressful. I did not finish my schooling until I was 30 years of age, and there were many years in which my income was below 20K.
Thank you for your post Mr. Higginbotham; however, if you do not feel that teaching is stressful, then I question where your heart is within the teaching profession, as well as your commitment toward your students.
Apparently, you have never taught. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You wouldn’t last a day! Yes, all those jobs are stressful too, highly stressful! However, you try managing 25 plus students all day with no parent support, continuous meetings, planning great lessons plans until 6, then taking more work home! Which takes time away from your family! Oh and by the way getting paid peanuts for all you do! Did I forget to mention the constant change of curriculum and standardized testing. Oh, and little Johnny or Susie that didn’t get any sleep last night because of horrendous home conditions. Oh wait there’s more, they didn’t eat either and had to take care of their younger siblings because mom and dad are boozing or stoned out of their mind. Your comments are insulting! Summers off, don’t go there. That’s a joke! Most, if not all teachers work a second job during the summer, or go to conferences.any work second jobs to make ends meet the whole year long. So, as I said before you have no idea what you are talking about.
You do not know what you are talking about. Until you’ve walked in my shoes, don’t tell me what a blessing my job is.
Did you ever go to school?
Everything you can do today is a direct result of a teacher. We sometimes understand disrespect from ignorant little ones. BUT you are an adult who should know better. Please, please, please don’t darken the door to my school building and, for God’s sake, DO NOT send your children to my first grade classroom!
Tim, in response to your remarks that came after this one, I am happy you are not “a” English teacher! That would be “an” in front of a vowel! Jeez!
Clearly you missed the lesson on good manners, as well as the one about not making assumptions. Go back to school!
I’m guessing Tim Higginbotham has done ALL of the jobs he has mentioned above including teaching middle school and is using sarcasm or perhaps irony to agree with the author. If he hasn’t I’m wondering what gives him the chutzpah to make the toxic pronouncements he does.
No doubt that the life choices you listed have an unbelievable about of stress included. I have nothing but respect for our military, police, firefighters, and all those who dedicate their lives to make life better for us all. I know they are performing tasks I would not be able to do. I do know, however that the life of a teacher is stressful. I love my kids. I love seeing a spark of understanding light in their lives. I love knowing that what I am doing is important. I know that what I am doing can make a huge difference in the way each child God places in my path views him/herself and the abilities he/she has been given. I know that the knowledge I offer them and the way I offer it can make a huge difference in whether or not they will grasp it and move forward. Therefore I do everything I can to address that for each one of my charges while looking at all their different strengths and shortcomings and the amount of support they have at home.
I do not pretend to know of all the stress involved in every profession. Each has its fill. Each also has its rewards. Teaching does have plenty, and I would not trade them. It DOES have stresses though… let me assure you, and until you walk awhile in the shoes of a teacher or walk alongside one, please don’t begin to assume you know what it is like.
Sir, Teaching is my second career. Stress isn’t teaching? Please come to my classroom, do my job for a week, heck do it for a day… Then talk to me about stress
Unless you have been a teacher, you have no right to that opinion. Mr. Teaching is not stressful, many if us have been in the military, worked manual labor jobs, and while we aren’t away from our families on a long truck haul, we are away from them or are dragging them with us to school functions and for hours after school and on weekends and holidays and in the summer. You think we should pay your kids for the pleasure to teach them? We do. We buy clothes and shoes and food for underprivileged kids and soap and deodorant and shampoo and toothpaste and toothbrushes to name just a few of the grooming supplies so “the stinky kid” won’t wear that label for longer than a day or two rather than a lifetime. Our husbands and wives volunteer their time whether they really want to or not, chaperoning your kids on overnight educational trips, competitions, and our own families spend hours, days, and weeks, preparing for, raising funds for, and arranging all of the amazing trips your kids get to enjoy while you get your me time from whatever job you do. We do all of this plus plan lessons, go to training (required to keep our licenses, change our skill set to meet the ever growing needs of your children, our children, and to meet the demands of lawmakers, some, who like you, have never been in the classroom as a teacher. So sir, I would think you might want to put your money where your mouth is and take care of your responsibility as a parent and stop expecting me to pay your child to learn from me. Oh, but wait, you aren’t a parent either are you?
OK I get it. No backbreaking, no stress. But please remember that we deal with the future of this world and it’s plain ignorance like this that would make a teacher want to break your back to relieve the stress. You have no idea. A school can be it’s own battle ground. Working past our breaking point dealing with dumb parents who care more ab out making money than caring for their children, because that is what WE’RE FOR. Or on the other hand, what about having your heartbroken because one of your own students is fighting cancer and you’re worried sick, not because they are falling behind on their work, but because this is one of our own. I’ll even use my own personal story, hey why not? A teacher whose own wife is battling cancer, all the while keeping it together in the classroom without knowing if I’d see her again that afternoon. Day after day, month after month. And that’s only a part of what we do on a daily basis. TEACHING IS STRESSFUL. EVERY SINGLE F***ING DAY. And dammit I’ll whine if I want to. Sorry you got screwed over, but maybe if you’d listened to your teacher while they were trying to get their point across to your ignorant self, you’d realize that you sir, are wrong.
I agree 100% and I am a teacher. There is so much dead wood collecting a hefty salary in the educational environment that it has become the ultimate taxpayer financial rape. You have staff and administration with little skills to offer the outside world and yet they get a cushy job with summers off and benefits like a pension, etc. We have to change this idea of allowing many limited skilled useless beings to be so insulated and buffered from the outside world.
Some positions in the school are totally useless. You have administrative positions where their main function is to hand out keys and give faculty parking stickers. So many other teaching positions where the instructor teaches a subject that they have little or no knowledge of. This is s prevalent in today’s educational environment (especially in the high schools)
It is disrespectful to say others have no right to be stressed. I have done some of those other jobs you mention and this is harder by far. And yes, I love it.
After 38 years in this business, I’m retiring in a few days. It is bittersweet. Happy I won’t have to make lesson plans THEN follow them. Happy to forget about faculty mtgs. Sad because I will miss being the queen of something. Sad because I’ll miss the chatter in the teachers dining room. Grateful that I had so long to show love to little hearts.
I think a lot of people needed to hear that. Thank you.
Yesterday, I re-read it to myself and cried. It is an uphill battle, but it is one that is worth it.
I agree…in tears after reading it. We do matter. Let’s not forget that.
It IS the only reason to teach. I felt my calling 13 years ago to change the direction of my life and eventually did listen to what had become a constant voice in my head. The spirit opened all the doors for me and I was led by inspiring educators and administrators. Daily, now it seems, I pray for the strength to continue in public education. I see the students and wait for the moments that show what I do matters because it is these moments that keep me going.
right on time you inspirer you!!!!
Thank you. But please fix the “your” in paragraph 3.
Done! Thank you. What do I tell my students about not being able to fully edit your own work…
Wow, someone needs to find a hobby other than proofreading blog posts. Thank you so much for your encouraging message!
In paragragh 3, “you’re” is correct; it’s the contraction for “you are”, not the possessive “your”.
That was because I fixed it, she was right. I was wrong, and I fixed it. What is that thing we always tell our kids about life long learning?
Picky, picky, picky! I am also an English teacher, and quite frankly, never even noticed it. I think this was a time where the content was way more important than one little grammatical error. Sheesh!
YOUR comment brought home what is so hard about teaching:
YOUR best never feels good enough in a system driven by data and numbers and those focused on the negative rather than achievement.
The “you’re” is the correct use of the contraction You are.
You would not use the pronoun “your” in this place. I have noticed that this is one of the most misused spelling as people do not know when to use You’re and your. You’re is used when you are saying You are and using it as a contraction.
By the time you read the post, the author had already corrected her initial misspelling of the word “you’re.” If you feel the need to have a grammar lesson, take a look at the number of capitalization errors your post contained…
Beautiful. Thank you.
I’m forwarding this on to my teacher friends… Thank you!
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Girl! you nailed it! thank you for this great post! I will share with my teacher partners! I could cry too!
I’m sorry but I respectfully disagree. I’m so tired of #teacherwhining. Everyone has job gripes. The only difference is, they get an average of 10 vacation days a year and work 5 business days nonstop the rest of the time with real adults making demands of them. Plus it’s not like you all didn’t know the specific demands of teaching when you got into it, and finally, a lot of you just partied through college while the rest of us worked for the career we have right now, earning more. Half of you won’t teach for more then 5 years before you become stay at home moms anyway. Teaching—you get 3 months off—so STFU.
Phrases like #teacherwhining and STFU are not respectful. You are not respectfully disagreeing. We don’t get three months off. That is no longer a reality. We also have “real adults” making demands on us 5 business days nonstop. The principals, the parents, the counselors and social workers. Most of these demands are via email and I am expected to simultaenously deal with these requests and also teach my class. The students in our classes may not be adults, but they are people. Their needs and demands also matter. They matter a lot.
Half of the point of this post is that what we are doing right now is not actually at all what we signed up for. The legislation and opinions about what makes a good teacher change so swiftly that many of us are asked to do new things that had nothing to do with teaching, but not it is the MAIN THING. We HAVE to do it right now. It is an emergency. There is a new system that needs implemented yesterday and if we don’t do it we are bad teachers who hate our kids. Every single year the system changes, because the laws change and there is no way to get ahead.
As for teacher training and burn out. You are right that many teachers don’t last 5 years in the classroom. Women don’t leave teaching for motherhood at a higher rate than any other proffesion. But teachers are leaving the classroom at a much higher rate than other proffessions. This is because that the teacher training that you feel everyone drank through (not true) leaves you woefully ill-equipped for the classroom. Teacher burn out is a clear sign that something within the system is seriously broken.
And yet, so many teachers still teach because we believe in what we do. We really are giving kids a better chance at the world. Much of this we do in the face of the exhausting paperwork and hoop jumping this piece is referencing. I did not in any way mean to say that other jobs don’t also work hard and have extreme difficulties. I am sure I have no idea what actually goes on behind the scenes of my doctor’s office. I am sure it is more work than meets the eye. The tone of this comment leads me to believe you don’t understand everything that is being asked of teachers in the current political climate. I only know about being a teacher, it is all I have ever wanted to be.
Love this response even more than the original post and to the disrespectful individual who prompted this response … Walk a mile in our shoes!!
This is the most beautifully written, classiest reply to an ignorant comment that I have ever read.
I agree, Jennifer…..absolutely agree. 🙂
Well said! Amen!
The teacher training system is broken. Once upon a time, teaching certificates were gained by passing an exam to show competence in the subject areas being taught. If new teachers taught for a term or two and discovered that teaching was really not the right career for them, there was no serious investment compelling them to stick with that career path. Now we have a system that requires the investment of 4+ years and the cost of a college degree to even BECOME a teacher. What are you supposed to do at that point if you find out that you don’t actually enjoy doing it, or worse yet, are no good at it?
I’ve been a college English professor (and would be still if not for a college administration that treated its faculty like crap), so I know what teaching is like. I also know that in most states, despite the fact that I’m a good teacher with years of teaching experience and an M.A., I am still not eligible to teach in a high school classroom because I haven’t jumped through the right hoops (been indoctrinated in the correct ways). Meanwhile, stubborn bad teachers (the ones who are no good at it but won’t quit) remain in the classroom (or on paid leave), thanks to unions and tenure. Meanwhile, you talk about teachers being the one thing that will keep kids out of jail, as if that’s a teacher problem rather than a problem with our society. I’d say the whole system is broken.
Anonymous needs an education by spending a day with a teacher. Only then can he/she comment on what we are faced with on a daily basis that has nothing to do with our craft. All we really wanted to do was teach.
What a generous, gracious response to someone who clearly doesn’t get it (as you point out), and evidently has no interest in becoming better informed on this subject. No wonder s/he made that mean-spirited comment anonymously!
Teachers have been–hands down–some of the most important people in my life. And as I’m closing in on 70 years, that’s a very, very long list of folks to be at the head of! 😉
My wife had a very demanding job in the insurance industry (as well as a hefty salary) – and she often said she wouldn’t have lasted half a day in my elementary classroom. Detractors haven’t a clue as to the demands of public education. these days. I am happily retired, but the changes in the last 10 years of my long career were not positive moves forward for either students or the profession.
Please accept my apologies for the mistake in the middle of my post! I finished it in the middle of a Saturday morning phone call from the young male teacher that I mentor. For free. Because the district does understand the pressure that is placed on these young people, and they want them to stay more than 5 years.
Thank you for this very well-spoken reply to one of the disrespectful “real adults” who make practicing our PROFESSION just a little more stressful than it need be.
Wonderful reply, thank you.
Anonymous – too cowardly to stand by ignorant remarks!
” a lot of you just partied through college while the rest of us worked for the career we have right now ”
“Half of you won’t teach for more then 5 years before you become stay at home moms anyway.”
“I’m sorry but I respectfully disagree. STFU”
Great statistics. Where is this data coming from? You just worked so hard in college you know all of this? I bet that’s what it is! Great vocabulary BTW =)
Are you a special kind of stupid? I WORKED through college 6 nights per week and had a child at home…therefore, your “party” theory is blown to shreds….also, I do not get time off in the summer…some of us have to work second jobs and sometimes third jobs just to make it…I have worked HARD for my career…I work at home, at school, and have to deal with idiots like you every single day…in fact, I teach students to not grow up and be like YOU….I am not a stay at home mom…I am a single mom who busts her butt to provide for not only my own children, but other kids as well…I guarantee you don’t spend your own money for your “job” (if you even work), so you just need to not comment on anything that you know NOTHING about….
WOW. Working a second and third job? Guess your time in college really paid off, didn’t it, Anonymous??
I love how people who are not in the classroom are completely unaware of what a teaching life entails. Annonymous we are parents too!!! Some of us are also single parents as well. I get up @5 to get to school by 6am. I “officially get off at 2:50, but Istay until 6 & would stay later if I didnt have too pick my childup. from the babysitter. We all carry work home to continue the grind sfter dinner & bathtimes. We work every weekend on grading, lesson plans & paperwork duties ! We envy you people who can get off at 5 & enjoy your evening/ weekend without. giving your job a thought until the next work day. Lets not forget all the other stresses we deal with i.e. parent
Anonymous, it is admirable that you work so hard as a single mom to provide for your child. I truly admire that, and that you work so hard now so that you can continue to do so. But, if you had an inkling of the work that is involved in teaching, the hours we put in outside of school hours, the money we spend out of our own pockets so that our students can have supplies, you would not be saying these things. I don’t know what your jobs are, but I would not presume to know what they involve if I have never done them.
I will admit that I’m sure I get more time off than you do. But it’s not nearly as much as you might think. And you said yourself that you make more money, so I would say that it balances out pretty well. And all of the required training we have to do often time costs us money. Last summer I spent a week out of town, away from my family, at a conference that cost me over $600. The one the year before that was over $800. Paid for out of my own pocket.
Also, it is clear that this blog is written by a teacher, and the title of this entry is “To the Teachers”. If you aren’t a teacher, or aren’t interested in learning about what is involved in teaching, why do you feel compelled to read it or comment on it?
As for partying my way through college? Nope. Didn’t happen. I was running a household and caring for three small children while I was in college. And I graduated cum laude. You don’t do that if you are partying your way through college.
And, lastly, if you think teaching is such an easy job, why didn’t you become a teacher yourself? If teachers lounge by the pool the entire summer, why haven’t you joined our ranks, instead of having to work three jobs to support your child?
So, I don’t presume to be the most overworked, underpaid person there is. I know there are many people who work harder than I do for less money. I feel blessed and fortunate to work at a job that I love, teaching children whom I dearly love. I imagine there are plenty of folks who don’t work as hard as I do, yet make much more money. I say, good for them.
YOU anonymous, are demonstrating that special kind of stupid that has put teachers at a lower level of respect with each passing year. Somehow you think that you’ve worked harder than others to get and maintain where you are and what you have. Many teachers are single moms as well. Many teachers work second jobs and work during the summer to make up for the fact that they get paid less than most in the public sector. You are the one who needs to stop commenting on things you know nothing about…or do some homework on the subject before you do.
Please try to remember those special teachers who took extra time to let you know that you matter. Remember how they built you up when others may have been pulling you down. Remember how much they cared. Do you remember the one that inspired you to follow your dreams? I’ll bet every teacher you had in k-12 spent their own money to benefit you in some way.
If you were actually reading the original post, that teacher was trying to encourage other teachers to keep pushing through their tired days, to encourage them to keep going even though they are pressured beyond belief with so much extra work that lends nothing extra to their students. It was not posted as a whine fest. It was your own attitudes that led you to think that.
Wow really if you have some many jobs and a child you certainly have a lot of time to get on someone’s blog post for teachers and bash teachers. Why not use that energy to be more productive in your jobs or your home life. Your negative energy is not appreciated or welcome here.
Um, You all seem to have misread this second anonymous´s post. She is supporting teachers and is a teacher herself. The other anonymous was critical of teachers´ whining. Might be a reason to not post anonymously though. Hard to keep the various anonymous posters distinct.
Oops. Meant to put ¨whining¨ in quotes. I am a teacher as well and think the system needs to be changes so we can do the best job possible for our students.
Yes, you all definitely misread. This “anonymous” is a teacher and was responding against the first anonymous poster.
So bitter. You might need a therapist. This is coming from a hard working 25 year veteran teacher, mom, and wife who works a minimum of 12 hours a night and weekends. I also WORKED two jobs while in college and paid my own way. Unfortunately, WE have to deal with idiots like you on a daily basis who have no idea what they are talking about. Have fun ranting. That is all.
You’re an idiot…….
Excuse me? I did not read anywhere that the writer was disrespecting any profession. But I know no other profession that has been dedicated to rearing the nation’s children as our teachers are being asked to do. I do know, as is evident in your reply, that many believe teachers are the reason children are not learning. Not parenting, not poverty, not discipline, teachers who see students less than 50 min, 5 times a week are being accused of failing their students. Do the math, a teacher will have a class of 30-35 students ( upper grades) 50 min/day and they are responsible for that child’s success or failure. What is wrong with this scenario?
Three months off???? I mean no disrespect, but what planet did you say you came from?? Stay at home moms????? OMG what century DID you come from??? Career?? In ‘our” career we take on the role of absent parent, social worker, teacher, negotiator, Dr./Nurse, technology person, …..etc yet still find the time for our family too……Sure we knew it was going to be tough but one has no idea what it is like until one walks the walk….and I promise you in this day and age the walk is not always pleasant…the things one sees and hears. can break your heart!! When you consider that every profession “OWES” a teacher then you will, as I do, wonder why educators are not treated with more respect!! Thank you!
It is obvious that you have never bothered to speak to a real teacher about what happens during those “3 months off”. I suggest you do a bit of research.
I am sick of individuals not in the teaching profession whining that “teachers get so much time off” No teacher only works their contract hours. There are many nights and weekends that teachers are in the buildings, working at home, chaperoning field trips, sponsoring/attending open houses, sporting events, club meetings. Teachers jobs don’t stop when the children go home. There are papers to grade, phone calls and emails to answer, plans to create (because state guidelines keep changing and no two groups of students process the learning the exact same way), faculty meetings, parent conferences, and parent workshops. If you haven’t been in a classroom lately it is way different than even just a few years ago. More students are being diagnosed with conditions that affect their learning and their health resulting in IEPs and 504s requiring more differentiation in lesson plans in order to meet their needs as required by law. I have a 3 page list of health concerns for my students this year. We are seeing more students diagnosed with ADD, allergies, depression, bipolar disease, diabetes, emotional disorders, Autism and as a classroom teacher I am not only responsible for these students to succeed in learning and passing standardized testing but to realize when a student may be if distress due to their condition and be prepared to treat them. When did I go to nursing school? Not only am I responsible for their academic needs but their social and emotional and often their physical well beings. I would not presume to know what your job entailed and criticize what you do with only the knowledge of your job title. I am a twenty year veteran of the military, having been responsible for many young men and women and millions of tax dollars in aircraft and equipment. Today I am responsible for much more. I am responsible for America’s children, our future. When individuals join the military they know that one day they may have to give up their life for their country, in recent years many teachers have given up their lives trying to protect their students. Where is their combat pay? Just as members of the military deserve respect, so do teachers.
And you might also want to point out that NO teacher gets ANY vacation days. Vacation days are PAID vacation time provided by an employer. Teachers do not get ANY paid time off (unless you count sick leave and most only take those when they are truly ill). Every day off during the school year is a day off without pay. Fall break? Appreciated, but NOT paid. Thanksgiving? Christmas? UNpaid time off. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to work in a profession in which I worked year round, but I also got paid vacation and holidays. I would probably work fewer hours in a less stressful work environment for a lot more money. Hmmmm…….
I usually do not reply to others post, but this is to anonymous. I am not even going to be polite and say respectfully disagree. I can tell you must not understand all the demands and energy it takes to deal with 25 6 year olds everyday. I just wish all the people who tell me I have such an easy job and should never complain would come and do one day in my classroom. I work nights and weekends and have given up countless time with my own children and family because I was told I had to go to school functions so parents will know I care about their children. I have had parents call me in the middle of the night to yell at me.I am sick and tired of being told how none important my job is. Teachers are the backbone of the society, yet people like you make me disgust me because I am sure you would be the first parent to complain when you think your child is being treated unfairly even though I have tired numerous ways to help your child.
You can’t even begin to understand how education has changed over the years. It is nothing like it was when I started 20 plus years ago. I know I did not part through college I had to work for my degree and I still do today. The amount of paper work we do (not a secretary, but teachers personally do) has not doubled it has grown by leaps and bounds. Why? because of people like you think we do not do anything. I am so tired yes tired of writing reports so other people who know nothing about my job can see what I do everyday. You math really does not add up because we do not get 3 months off. If you ever bothered to ask a teacher what happens during the summer you would know. We have professional development meetings and conferences to attend plus most teachers return to their rooms early (without pay) to get ready for students because of all the mandated meetings we have the first official week we “return to work”. So why don’t you go find a true teacher and say thank you for all the time and dedication you put into your job. Plus, remember who taught you to read, write, and how to learn succeed since you went to college.
You are more than welcome to come work with me. I work 12 hour days at least 4 days a week and generally work 9 hours on Friday and 4 hours Saturday and 2-3 hours Sunday. I don’t complain about my work hours, I complain about the paperwork we are required to complete and the unrealistic expectations in curriculum and teaching requirements. I cannot build relationships with my kids. So before you are so incredibly disrespectful why don’t you stfu and do some volunteer work at a school near you. Don’t leave at 3 stay and help a teacher do that which is not seen. Also show some respect and quit hiding on the computer and attacking those that give to our kids.
You come and try it before you run your nasty mouth. Do you have kids?
You are an ignorant idiot. I am so embarrassed for you.
Really, you know what everyone did in school? Personally I worked three sometimes four jobs to put myself through school so I could teach people how not to make hasty generalizations among other things. Also, I didn’t “party” my way through school. The ones I knew who did that were business majors. I was spending my evenings in the library studying and then heading home to study some more. Twenty-eight years ago when I started, teaching was totally different from how it is now. I didn’t have myriad reports to fill out. I didn’t have to learn a new curriculum system every two years. I didn’t have people who really don’t know anything about education or teaching tell me how I should do my job. Also, I don’t get three months off–I spend time making lesson plans for the next year, going to in services, classes, or seminars to keep up with the “latest” thing, and researching ways to help students who can’t read well. So, in my case the demands changed, but since I’m a teacher, I can roll with the changes. Can you?
You need to spend a day (only one) with a teacher!! From 5:30 a.m. when they wake up after not going to sleep until after midnight. Get their own children up, fed & off to school. Get to school by 7:00 a.m. & wide awake, smiling & ready to greet students by 7:15 a.m. Then it is non-stop until the students leave at 2:15 p.m. EXCEPT that at 2:15 the clubs begin & you’re attempting to corral kids who have more energy than you have until parents pick up their child at 4:00 (hopefully on time), Only then, can you go back to your classroom & try to get somewhat organized for the next day often times not leaving for home until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. You pack two or three oversized bags with papers to grade, projects to prepare for, art supplies to decorate bulletin boards & carry all of that home to work on AFTER you cook supper, help their own child with homework, get them ready for bed, do laundry, pick up the house & go to bed to work on all of the stuff they brought home from school. As far as the summer goes…teachers work for several days after the last day for the students. There are meetings & packing up their rooms (because the custodians have to take everything out of each classroom so they can clean the floors). The majority of teachers either teach Summer School or go to school themselves so they can keep their Teacher’s Certificate up-to-date. Many teachers go in to school several days a week to work in their classroms because when they go back a week before the students, they have meetings & have to get their room ready for the new school year!!
Let me say something to you…”anonymous.” YOU and many others…JUST DON”T GET IT !
You would not have advanced to and through your career… without teachers! Teachers that care, giving up their days, nights, and weekends speaking and listening to a parent(s) or guardian crying or worried about their child. The ungraded papers will wait until later.
The “Future of America,” OUR CHILDREN, is what is at stake here. Teachers know this, and many of them come from a family of educators. I always asked my students at the beginning of the year, “who was your 1st teacher?” They would inevitably respond- their pre-school or kindergarten teacher. I’ll say, well actually your 1st teacher was your parent(s) or guardians. The light bulb would go off.
Every state is different, as far as the curriculums taught, the size of classrooms, and the money our school’s receive from federal, state, and local government. The money COMES from our taxes. Think on that… in the voting box, while you check…NO…to raising taxes.
There is nothing wrong with disagreeing…but, you can disagree agreeably. As a retired master teacher of Literacy, I taught my students to have RESPECT for one another. Apparently, you missed that somewhere in your “career building.”
Referring to the 5th line of your response, that is ONE statement in which teachers are totally tired of hearing. I ask you, “Why are their more “female” teachers?” Do the research, as well as, why many teachers change careers after 5 years or so. As much as they LOVE teaching…it just doesn’t pay the bills. It is the politics, the economy, the social agenda, and demographics. Tell me: …why does this wonderful nation of ours put billions of dollars on a “sports hero or famous actor? Does this not tell you of the priorities here???
When teacher contracts are signed, it is a 24 hour, 7 day a week period that is put into students and classrooms… Individual educational plans are different for each student…because we are all not the same. Summers off? NOT! Get real…get out of the closed box you and many others are in and open your eyes. During the summer in many states, there are Professional Development hours that our teachers take, like college classes. Every year! Our children didn’t ask to be here. You brought them into this world and it is your responsibility to be one-to-one with your teachers.
You need to spend an entire day in a Kindergarten classroom, or any elementary classroom before you start your totally disrespectful point of view with what you think teachers have or do. I am a 22 year veteran in teaching, 11 years in kindergarten. In that time the requirements have increased so much the kids are now doing the work I used to teach to second graders. We the teachers have to make it fun while also making sure we record everything we taught, and everything the students learned or failed to learn. We have to find time, often on Saturday or Sunday, to do the prep work to make the class run smoothly. You failed to mention that teachers also spend between $300 to $ 1,000 out of their own pay checks to purchase things students need, such as crayons, pencils, paper, FOOD. As for the 3 months off, I am on duty working until the beginning of June and start up again usually the first of August. In July I am planning and doing more planning for the upcoming year and students. I am required to take college classes to get re-certified every 5 years and I also pay for those classes. I spend at least an additional 10 hours at home doing school work every week. I work a second job because after 22 years and a masters degree I still don’t make $60,000 a year. Finally, and maybe most importantly you have forgotten how you and everyone that “worked hard in college to earn more” got that training from a TEACHER.
Come do my job for 2 weeks and if you can do it the way I put 200% into it, I will never gripe again and I will go on the news saying teachers need to shut up…but I know you can’t!
Spend a day in a classroom. I dare you. This is not like any other job!
Ie you think it’s so easy why don’t you teach for a year. I dare you. Either put up ot shut up. Or drink some bleach. Either option will make this world a better place.
Really? WOW. And you are this disrespectful and unappreciative to every teacher and professor that brought you to the point of your degree? Give US a break, and go sit down in your seat!
Excuse me, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous. I have worked on both sides of the aisle. I started my career in business with a degree in accounting and business administration.I worked as an office manager at a local industry for over twenty years. During that time, I worked long hours and got paid very little considering all I gave to the company. However, when I went home….I was home. While it was stressful, it was still possible to enjoy being home with my kids in the evenings. As my youngest daughter was finishing high-school, I began working on another degree…this one in education. It had always been my dream to be a teacher because I wanted to make that difference the writer of this blog wrote about. I worked full time during the day and went to school full time at night. No time for partying!! I worked my behind off for 3 years and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Not only that, when I took the FIVE Praxis exams I was required to take, I studied endless hours and gained national recognition for my scores. Am I that smart? No. I worked hard to be the best teacher I could be.
After all of that, I walked into a classroom less than prepared to meet the real demands of teaching. An example of my typical day….Arrived at work at 7 to get my classroom ready for the day, bell rang at 7:30 and here they came….I taught four classes and during that 45 minutes of planning, I spent it talking to parents on the phone and meeting with administration to get help for some of my students. Worked in my classroom preparing for Monday until almost six. Then I brought my laptop and notes home…took me three more hours to study the data and make lesson plans based on that data. In case you can’t count….that was a thirteen hour day. I had five of those this past week. Then comes the weekend where I work all weekend on getting my Master’s degree in education….I must either do this or take a bunch of useless classes in order to be re-certified in a couple years. I chose the Master’s because I felt it would be much more beneficial. (By the way….I never had to be re-certified to be an office manager…..never had to take Five exams to become one either.)
Oh…and those three months in the summer you say we get….In my state we are down to seven weeks…three of which we spend in professional development training….all of which, I personally spent working on Master’s classes this last summer.
I actually kept up with my hours one month and did the math. I make way less than the current minimum wage and get absolutely no overtime pay. Oh, and for your information, we do not get paid summers off. We are only paid for ten months, but our payroll is divided by twelve so that we get pay checks all year.
Yes, I have worked on both sides. I NEVER worked this hard or dealt with so many hard-to-handle adults during my old life.
There are so many ignorant people, such as yourself. Try volunteering at a local public school for a while and maybe, just maybe you will see what it is really all about. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. But, when my former students come and hug me years later and tell me they still remember things I told them…it is all worth it.
May God richly bless and enlighten you.
I’ll spend a week at your job. Will you spend a week at mine? I am at my job from 7 am to 5 pm everyday and work at home on the weekends to make sure everything is done so your child can have a good start on their next 12 years. I don’t get a “vacation” because I am teaching summer school, going to conferences and workshops to become even better, and planning for next year. So let’s really add this up. 70 hours per week for50 weeks out of the year (I ffigured there just might be 10 days or so that I did my own thing). Tell me. With THAT kind of work schedule and the demands of administrators, parents, and the government, what do you think a good teacher should make?
Anonymous, you know not of what you speak. Nope,we do not get three months off in the summer. Nope, I don’t work a 40 hour week (try more like 60 plus, including after school and weekends). I also know of many teachers who spend summer getting ready for the next school year. We have constant demands from children, adults in the school and in the public. Less and less respect. As we say here in the South , bless your heart. Really.
You should be bitter. You are right I do have the best job in the world and I LOVE it. I love every smile and hug I get. If I didn’t have to pay off the $32,000 of debit I incurred to become a teacher and feed my family I would do it for free. Teaching is without a doubt, regardless of whatever issues cross my plate, the joy of my life. I hope that you haven’t always felt such negativity towards teachers, as it appears that perhaps a teacher spent a great deal of time teaching you to read and write. Anybody that is not a teacher should be green with envy of me!
As a teacher of almost 28 years, I had to re-read your comment in awe of your ignorance. Please explain to me how I would know, and I really mean KNOW the demand of my profession before I received my degree? How many teachers do you really know? I have real adults in my room almost everyday. I have administrators evaluating my performance up to two to three days a week. Curriculum directors are meeting with us once or twice a week. After the evaluations are made we must meet with administrators during that week. Our administrators are required to be in three classrooms a day during each week. We have adult interactions daily. Teachers may not be rich but it has provided a wonderful life for my family. My contributions, through my profession and to the my community is worth more than any amount of money you ever made. My college courses were not how to cut and paste 101, it was Constitutional Law, Political History of Europe and so on. In my district we have to report back to school after 10 weeks of “vacation” , BUT we are expected to take in service days during the summer. If we really want to stay caught up on the ever changing world of education and technology, most educators take seven to ten days of in service. I also take students for a week to D.C. so they can appreciate our country’s history. (Would you like to travel with 20-30 14 year olds? They are awesome!!!!!) If I truly want my room and lessons to be thoroughly ready for the beginning of school, I report to my room at least two weeks before school starts (sometimes three weeks) and that’s before the air conditioner has been turned on. Yes, it is my choice….but I take my profession seriously, just like you do I believe I must give my students (customers) my very best effort and make sure I do not “short change” them and their education. During the school year we go to work on Saturdays or Sundays because we want to get prepared for the next week and make sure our “presentations” for our customers (the students) are ready before 7:50 am Monday morning. One hundred and thirty students turned in four assignments last week and I must grade them and record them in the grade-book. Two of those assignments were turned in electronically, so I was lucky, I didn’t have to lug 260 papers home to grade that evening, I could use my computer, look at the screen for two to three hours and grade the assignment. You see, I am getting those students ready to work in your world, I not only teach my subject, but I teach and model responsibility. I make sure I email those 10 students who did not turn in those assignments, email 10 who were absent to make sure they check their assignment calender to see what was missed. Three days later I may get 5 to 10 parent emails or voicemails wanting to discuss why Johnny is failing, missing a grade or just want to thank me for the great job I am doing….hahahaha!!! Faculty meetings, UIL meetings, parent conferences, bus duties and tutoring are constant factors almost every week after school. I report to school by 7:15 everyday and leave by 4:45 or 5pm. And by the way, my salary is based on 10 months of work, we just spread it over 12 months. Yes, I will go lay on the beach somewhere and I will get to sleep late. I worked hard for that. Please do not belittle our degree or profession until you come to my room and do what what most good educators do for at least a month. To have passion for this profession is a gift. I do this for your children (or your future children) and my children. My students are lucky to have me and I am lucky to have them. Not for sure where you work, but my husband gets 15 days of vacation and he is in the trash business!!! No, he is NOT upper management and he makes more than me. In two more years he will get 20 days of vacation. When we complain, it is no different when you complain. There are always complaints in every job. I know nothing about your profession; therefore, I cannot insult you and your degree or your profession. I have not walked in your shoes. Please extend the same courtesy.
You are entitled to your opinions. That being said, this is clearly an article that is intended for teachers. Therefor, if you are not a teacher or don’t want to deal with #teacherwhining, kindly refrain from the articles. Thanks
Apparently, you have never taught! You have no idea what you are talking about. I didn’t party through school. I paid my way through college by working three jobs! I dont have summers off because I get paid peanuts. I work a second job all year long. You wouldn’t last a day!
3 months off is inaccurate an unless you learned statistics and you have data driven facts to support your silly opinion that teachers somehow did not work for a degree, in addition to your opinion that a teaching degree is worthless while others are, is ridiculous. Some teachers do quit after 5 years because they do realize it isn’t the job with the respect and reward it used to be. Those are the young ones and part of the reason they do not stay is because if the growing demands on the teacher to dig into their own meager wages to supply and support the job they must do in order to provide quality instruction that is beneficial and necessary to keep students engaged. I could go on and on in defense of credentials of teachers an their value. But I won’t. You wouldn’t listen. I do have one more issue to discuss though. Nothin is wrong with being a stay at home mom and raising a child or two or three before returning to the workforce. I know many teachers who planned families carefully and scraped pennies and saved before having children so they could do so. It seems like you are a very bitter person and just like to babble. What do you do for a living? What degree/degrees do you hold? Seems like you know a lot about party life in college. Wonder how many hours you spent doing the same? And finally, did you encounter any teachers on your way to and through college and after? Or were you born with the skills and intelligence you now possess? Just wondering.
Hate to say it, but I agree with anonymous above. Also, if names, personalities, and multiple demands are too much to handle 2 months into your job after a 3 month vacation…you should really rethink your career choices. You’re probably not cut out for teaching, or anything more demanding than teaching…which kind of puts you at the ability-level of a non-college-educated worker.
Actually, teachers who leave the classroom because of the demands I communicated in the original post are sought after by business people as trainers because teaching is so demanding. I don’t pretend to know how demanding the innerworkings are of any other job. I can tell you that everyone I know who has left teaching says their new job that requires a degree is much easier than teaching.
I left a business job and became a teacher. I can respond to the ignorant anonymous! My jobs in business were nothing compared to teaching. I sat at a desk, had an hour for lunch, was able to talk to adults about the pressures I was facing. I then went back to school at nights while holding down a job substitute teaching and raising my two sons so that I can become a teacher- a job I felt I always wanted to do. As a teacher I am on my feet most of the day, I juggle the job of educator, counselor, disciplinarian while still dealing with the people above me changing policies at whim, each lesson plan I make has to include so many facets it could make your head spin! When I read your original post it reminded me that yes- I do make a difference and this why I became a teacher!
Everyone has complaints about their jobs, and you do too, x3. The message was reminding us to think of the larger purpose and not dwell in the more. She said God’s grace is sufficient. Please allow God to take your own stress from you. Lashing out is a cry for help…give it to God.
Another moron who has no idea what it is like to be in the classroom…are you a politician by any chance?
You have no clue spend a day with any teacher any school
Another ignorant moron. How about you try teaching for a year before spouting your nonsense? Or try drinking some antifreeze?
May I make the humble suggestion that you do your research before you go bashing teachers? First of all, we don’t get three months of paid vacation. All time off is based off a baseline salary in which the teacher spreads his/her pay over a 12 month period. That means regardless of the numerous hours (many weeks it’s over 40 hours per week – at least 60 hrs for me) a teacher puts into her work, she doesn’t get paid a dime more. And 3 months vacation time? I WISH! We don’t get out of school until the last week in May and have to be back in school the first week in August. In July, most of us are in workshops learning new teaching techniques and new guidelines that have to be implemented in our classrooms because some politician thought it was the better choice and our teachers don’t know what’s best. So that cuts that 3 month vacation you refer to down to roughly a month and a half. Thank you very much. Secondly, I put AT LEAST $200/month back in my classroom monthly. Yes, it’s my choice, but it’s also a force of hand due to the drastic budget cuts that keep coming every year thanks to our messed up economy. I knew when I went into teaching that it would require all of my energy and a majority of my time, but NOT my hard earned money too. Also, you fail to realize that not all of us “partied through college”. Many of us busted our tails to earn our teaching degrees and I assure you that all of the training in the world cannot prepare a teacher for all she/he will go through. Tell me, Mr./Ms. Anonymous, could you be in a classroom whet you have children that can verbally express themselves and others that can’t? Could you teach the children that have a hard time understanding that letters have both names and sounds, but every time they try to read they can’t? Could you deal with a child that becomes so frustrated, because they can’t express themselves verbally, that bands his/her head on the walls and desks daily? Could you deal with children that are physically abusive towards their teacher because they think that’s what they can do to get their way? Tell me, could you? Yes, I signed up for this job. I consider myself blessed to do what I do, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to demeanor any teacher in anyway you see fit. Last time I checked, a teacher (probably several) is the reason you were able to sit in front of a computer screen or any type of technology screen and respond to this post. A teacher is also the reason you know how to read and write, as well as do simple math and work a job. So please, before you respond to posts in such a rude manner, think about what you say and do your research and then ask yourself could you do what we do daily? I assure you, as you stated previously, you probably couldn’t last a day because it’s just “not what you’re cut out to do”. That, my friend, should make you more grateful for those of us who are cut out to teach, can do so, and do it faithfully and to the best of their ability daily.
My blood boils when I read asinine comments such as those of “Tim Higginbotham” and “Anonymous.” When my state implemented alternative certification, I was furious, After all, I had taken the traditional route to teaching…..college degree in education accompanied by many methods classes, observations, and student teaching. I was prepared…..at least for the educational part of teaching. Then, anyone with a college degree in any area was allowed to enter alternative teacher certification programs. All it took was minimal preparation and scoring high enough on a test to become a full-fledged teacher. Actually, that program became the best advertisement EVER for teaching in my state. Many of those people bailed out in a short while. The ones who stayed, dug their heels in and were determined to make it. Both groups ended up with a new-found respect for teachers and have been quite vocal about how challenging it is to be a teacher.
Idiots aside, carry on teachers! I know what you do and what you face every day, and so do hundreds of thousands of others. But most importantly, YOU know what you do…..even with a lack of money, materials, facilities and support at times.
Thank you for your article, Abby!
Unless you are with any or all of us in the summer, you have no right to an opinion about a 3 month vacation that does not exist. Do your research. Your opinion is entitled but you are ignorant an misinformed. You think highly of yourself and your chosen field and group yourself into some self-proclaimed member of the elite while providing fewer details about your profession than you provide myths about teaching. Do your homework.
I also have to agree with the two comments above. I greatly appreciate teachers and what they do. But it was a career choice. You didn’t have to become a teacher if you don’t think the pay is good enough or if the kids are too difficult. Everyone has struggles within their job. Goodness, there are definitely days that I don’t feel like I’m getting paid. I get more and more tasks are given to me but I don’t get any additional benefits for it. But that’s just life and it’s my choice to stay with this job. I just ask that teachers also acknowledge that other people work hard too and have struggles within their own jobs.
I am unclear how the pay came up. I certainly didn’t mention it, nor did any other supportive comment. I in no way meant to communicate that other people didn’t also have very hard jobs. My sister is an addictions counselor. Her job is insanely demanding. It also makes a difference. But that isn’t my experience and I don’t speak to it. I only speak to the experience I know. That is teaching. I know that the current political climate is suffocating some of us, and when we started this job, the climate was not like that. We didn’t actually sign up for most of this.
To those above who feel the teachers should STFU spend a day in a teachers position. Not only do I deal with a class full of students and all their parents (including mom, dad, step parents, grandparents, and any family who feels like they have something to say). But every year the why I’m supposed to do my job changes and most of the time I’m given very little instruction on how to teach the new way. When I was in college I did not party I worked harder than half my friend. I completed a bachelors degree and masters degrees I spend most of my summers taking more classes so I can keep my certification up to date. In the 9 years I have been a teacher
I never once have had those so called 3 months off in the summer. I go in and work during the summer, I get to school at 7 every morning and don’t leave till 6 on most days, and then I still have work I have to take home because ther are always papers to grade and lesson plans to be written. So don’t tell me to stop whining until you really know what you’re talking about. I make less each year because my salary depends on the government and local taxes and because we are in a recession it shrinks every year. However I STILL LOVE MY JOB. Think for a second if you could be held to the same standards I am and still have your job, because you know what everything I do outside of my job in my personal life is held under a microscope just as much as what I do at work everyday.
Thank you for going to work every day with passion for our kids. Thank you for being a teacher who loves your job. You inspire my kids to do their best, and I will never take that for granted.
Wow! You, unfortunately, are with the majority of the people in this world!
However, speaking as a person that has lived a long time, worked an average of 2-3 jobs at a time and finally went to college for my passion, I STRONGLY Disagree with you!
I originally wanted to be a teacher, but I had a teacher show me her paycheck one time when I was in about the 6th grade! I changed my mind real fast. My thought at such a young age was “how can someone with all that knowledge be paid such a low salary?” I changed my mind on becoming a teacher and went on to pursue nursing, but was forced out by a layoff and decided to pursue another career path. I worked in corporate through a marriage, a divorce, and single motherhood.
This previous paragraph was not meant to be a resume, but rather a reflection on the fact I have walked on the other side for 35 years. I love working with teenagers and I have seen the difference I can make.
After getting my degree, I now teach full time to teenagers! I went to teaching so that I could have more direct connection with them. I do not work 37 1/2 hours a week, nor do I have the summer off. As is characteristic of most teachers, I spent the summer in continuing education (8 hrs per day) and Professional development (also 8 hrs per day) which required additional hours afterward for homework. I also had to attend workshops and write full lesson plans for all of my classes for the entire year, because I won’t have time to do them during the school year. I had to develop new and creative supporting and technical learning strategies to try and keep up with the trends of social media because that is the way our teenagers (and younger) are learning now. This constant change gives teachers an added challenge. I got 10 full days (not business days) vacation this past summer!
In addition, we now have to teach other strategies to help further develop the student’s learning, It is called Core Curriculum. So instead of focusing on our own field of study, we now teach all core subjects (Math, Science, History, & English).
Most people think of the old school where you got to teach the subject you were trained for. Now it is no longer the case. We are not complaining about our jobs, we are complaining about NOT getting to do our jobs!
And by the way, a lot of teachers do not take summers off, because in addition to the aforementioned training, they also took on a summer job to help support their families!
I like the way you put it Chef Lisa: ¨We are not complaining about our jobs, we are complaining about NOT getting to do our jobs!¨ That is what is discouraging, feeling that the system keeps us from following our calling to really reach the students. I also feel that it is not the best learning environment for them either. Let´s do what we can to look for alternatives.
Other people work hard and struggle but they are not expected to hold Master’s degrees and get paid a little more than a high school drop out. No, we didn’t HAVE to become teachers but somebody does. If you think it’s so easy, how about you do it for one year. I challenge you.
Taking shots anonymously is just cowardly. If you and the other two “a”s truly believe you are correct in the things you’ve said, why not be adults and give your names?
Does anyone realize that teachers here are NOT complaining about their jobs? Facts are being stated and positions defended. A teacher who is not exhausted at the end of the day is not doing their job. Plain and simple. If a teacher leaves at the end of the day as refreshed as when he or she showed up then he or she wasn’t working. Teachers who posted are not complaining, just stating facts. What teacher scarred you when you were little to make you so bitter about all teachers now?
The 3 comments above are ridiculous. Why read a blog about teaching if you are not teachers. I would never comment on a blog for doctors, lawyers, etc. And, where do teachers get 3 months off for summer? I’ve never heard of such a thing. During “summer vacation” we do curriculum planning, AP training, various other professional development, staff meetings, lesson planning preparation, professional reading, seminars, workshops, etc…all in an effort to stay current with practices. I have several friends and family members who have done nothing in their entire career to continue training. That college education that you so respectfully stated “we partied though” (what a general, demeaning, and ignorant statement, by the way) has been put to good use, but teachers are also smart enough to know that the way we educated children 10 years, 5 years, 1 year ago will not work for future generations. If you are not an educator or just want to bash the profession, get the heck off this site…rude, ignorant, and just plain “uneducated”.
I think that’s the real issue. No one who’s not a doctor tells a doctor how to do their job. But it seems like everyone who’s not a teacher could most definitely, with no training, be a way better (a less whiney?) teacher than I.
Let’s just all agree being an adult is hard, and we can all build forts out of couch cushions and bed sheets and hide in it and eat Doritos all day. There, anonymous’, you’re job is hard, too. Maybe you should write your own blog instead of pulling down people who get up every day with the sole intent to lift others up, no matter how many people tell them they’re doing it wrong.
Well said, MT!
ESADA…..what a jerk.
I found this post to be a beautiful reminder of why I continue to search, year after year, for a job in the career I love. I taught for several years before taking time off to be home with our children, and while home, I completed my Master’s Degree and acquired another endorsement for my teaching certificate. I am currently working, blessedly, at my church, slowly learning that the plans I have for myself may not necessarily be the plans God has for me, yet somehow, my heart has remained in the classroom, even after all of these years.
To the Anonymous posters, I would like to address several things. First, as was mentioned previously, if you are so militantly opposed to the teaching profession, why would you bother to read a post such as this? Secondly, I believe the author of this post was simply addressing an audience of her peers, and was writing with encouragement and understanding. She didn’t whine, complain or compare pay scales, and I appreciate the empathy with which she summarizes the challenges faced by teachers every day. Conversely, I find it humorous that the moment I realize I am reading a post written by a teacher-basher, I can make a mental list of the top three arguments. It is always that teachers get three months off, we knew what we were getting ourselves into, and salary. Funny these issues are brought up only by those who seek to provoke and inflame.
My dear teacher friends, thank you for starting the year positively and with wonderful energy for my children (and for lots of other children). I have to believe that even the bitter, negative, spiteful Anonymous posters the world over have children they send to school, and that deep down, they thank you, too. Our kids need you, and as I do every September, I send my children to you with a pang of remorse that I am not going back to school, too. You are wonderful. God bless our teachers.
Teachers reading this blog- if you are unaware of the BADASS teachers movement- you should consider checking it out. Look them up on Facebook. Don’t let the name fool you- this is a serious organization of over 30,000 teachers who have banned together to support one another. It is time for teachers to stand up and fight.
I have been out of education for about five years. I didn’t leave because of burnout but for logistical ones that are complicated and irrelevant. Last week I heard about the suicide of a young man in his twenties who had been a student in our school. I had only known him from in-school suspension, and he was a troubled young man even in his teens. But I have been haunted by the feeling that I–and we as a complete staff–did not do enough for him. I have repeatedly asked myself what else I could have done ten years ago that might have resulted in different outcomes for him. And I come up empty…and very, very sad. I worked very hard as a teacher, and I still think of all those former students as my “other” children. But another one was failed by life, including us. Keep going, soldier on, teachers. You never know when you might have changed the outcome for that one kid someday. Do it for Mitch.
Thank you for the wonderful post, Accidental Devotional. I need it 🙂
Teachers please remember you matter.
Thank you! I needed your comment so much today that it made me cry. I’ll try to keep remembering.
Appreciate your words of encouragement to teachers….I spent 5 yrs in the classroom, later homeschooled for over 10 years. I prefer not to imagine all of the new material you have to comply with every year, the increasing micro-management, expectations, pressures and paperwork. These are all symptoms of too much government involvement. Every time a politician wants to make the voters think he is “doing something about education”, or someone in DC gets a slightly different idea about what teachers should do….ta da! Another thing appears on your “to do” list.
I am thankful for teachers that taught me to read, and exposed me to classical music, good literature and, even, Algebra. But, it seems that the joy of teaching is being crushed under the expectations handed down from “above” to teach political correctness, Red, Black and female history. Sexual behaviors. Global warming. How can one person do it all? You’re not only asked to teach academics, but, to be a substitute parent in many other ways that were not expected in the past. I was shocked that the cozy breakfast at home has been replaced by another cafeteria meal. Our close by elementary school has a “family night” movie…at school! Does anyone catch the irony of that? It’s a vicious cycle. The more people have done for them, the more dependent they become, and the less they do for themselves. No wonder you are tired.
This is my 3rd year of teaching special ed…. I am on the verge of quitting. Thank you for this. It helps me know/remember why I wanted to teach in the first place!
Special Ed teachers are my hero! Hats off to you friend. I am praying for you and your caseload today. Thank you for what you do.
Those Who Can, Teach; Those Who Can’t, Make Education Policy
After reading these posts, my comment is from a parent of a frustrated third grader. HE has literally given up because he i s rushed to learn, learn, learn. He has a assistant that helps him and others in his class, but it isn’t enough. I get the opportunity to sit in his class and I can’t even keep up. I am considering home schooling purely for the fact that the slower pace of learning and giving him some much needed confidence will let him know he is not dumb. It is not his teachers fault, she is doing what the state is mandating. But the old adage to keep it simple is not happening here. These poor teachers are being buried in paperwork which takes up valuable time that could be used to give more attention to our kids.
Oh friend. I cannot imagine the frustration you must be feeling. I worry a lot about what is going to happen when my kids are in kindergarten, because I have strong feelings that some of the things we are asking the kindergarteners to do are not developmentally appropriate. I am praying for you and for your child. If I can be of further assistant, even if it is just an ear, please email me.
I just want to leave a simple thank you to the ORIGNAL author. I wish I didn’t have to scan through all the comments to do that. Please know that I am a strong supporter of teachers. I know the sacrifices they make, and I’m well aware of all the “time-off” they get and how much of that is spent. You are my heroes…and soon I will join your ranks in my second career.
Dave “BigD” Bentley
Good luck and welcome to the profession, Dave. Many of us have changed our path later in life to become teachers. Thank you!
“Education is the quickest way out of poverty. It is still the best way to get a leg up in this world. 75% of prisoners don’t have a highschool education. The more success a kid can have from kindergarten all the way through high school, the more likely they are to avoid jail. I need you to remember that, you keep kids out of jail.”
A very significant portion of this effect is likely to be a case not of A causing B, but of A and B both being caused by C. (Where C is likely to be a mixture of intelligence, inborn personality, influence of parents, and possibly some other external factors, e.g. “bad company”.) Indeed, that B is the cause of A in at least a few cases is a near given, e.g. in that a stint in juvenile correction worsened the likelihood of high-school graduation or that drug sales on school grounds led to an expulsion.
I have read every single post here and I must say that I am shocked at how some would disrespect others so much 😦 I appreciate what you teachers do and have the utmost respect for you. In 2003 we moved to a new school district and my then 3rd grade daughter had 32 children in her class and there was no way that poor teacher could teach. My daughter told me about a boy who got in trouble so much because he could not keep his hands to himself that the teacher literally had to hold his hands all day. I knew we had to do something and the only thing I felt we could do after talking to authorities who told me that they were doing everything they could was to pull her out and homeschool. Now 11 years later she is in college and doing very well. I never once blamed the teachers and knew what a hard job it was to be “all” they could to those kids. Be mom, teacher, protector, doctor, disciplinarian, etc. and that was just to the children not to mention all the other job duties in lesson planning, setting things up, dealing with parents, WOW!! that list will never end. My prayers go out to each and everyone of you. I know that homeschooling my children is offensive to those teachers who work so very hard but I truly believe we had no other choice. Keep up the GREAT work and know that others are praying daily!!
It is NOT offensive to teachers that you home-schooled your child. Most of us would home-school, too, if we had the chance. Teachers are FORCED to teach the test. The test is a joke. For example, on our 8th grade American History standardized test the passing score was 48!
Students are more undisclplined every year and disrupt the learning process for those students who truly want to learn. The only consequence for bad behavior is ISS (In School suspension) which the kids love because all their friends are in there. I truly believe that paddling made a difference. Kids who were paddled were sent back to the classroom, laughed at by the other kids, and had to sit on a sore butt that was a constant reminder not to misbehave again.
During my 37 years of teaching, I probably spanked less than 10 times – just the knowledge that you might get spanked was deterrent enough. In my elementary school there was a rumor that the principal had an electric paddle. Believe me, none of us wanted to be sent to his office! But, spanking will never come back because of a lawsuit happy society. Too bad – because it did have its place.
Thank you. Ignore the stupid trolls. From a teacher, on my 9th year; thank you from the bottom of the heart for reminding me that we can, sometimes, in a small way, make a big difference.
I work with underclassmen boys all day. I am an expert at ignoring the trolls!
This post is like you read my mind. I can’t thank you enough for the encouragement.
Spend a day as an elementary classroom teacher, and you’ll change your tune real quick. Also, you should thank a teacher that you were able to read this post.
Thank you so much for the original post. I, too, am not believing some of the disrespectful comments on this thread. No wonder so many of our children don’t understand what respect for others really is – they aren’t seeing it modeled. As a veteran teacher of 32 years, I LOVE what I do so much that I’m willing to put up with all the garbage we have to deal with to be able to make a difference in the lives of these kids. There’s truly NEVER a dull moment.
Dear Accidental Devotional and supportive readers,
I think many have strayed from the intent of your original message. Thank you for reminding all of the teachers who face daily challenges, demands, and frustrations that we make a difference. This morning, I checked my school email (yes, on a Saturday morning) and found a message from two of my students who wrote, “You are the best teacher ever!” I have been praying about how much longer I should stay in this profession. This is my second time around, having retired after 30 years in one state and now on my 7th year in another state. I wrestle with wanting to spend more time with my family and wanting to continue “stamping out ignorance” in the classroom, a job which is very much a part of who I am. God sometimes sends his answers through special angels, like the girls who sent that message to me, and this blog which was shared with me on a friend’s FB page. Always just at the right time, I hear His answer. I am still making a difference! So Monday morning, I will don my armor once more, grab my bag full of tricks, and set out once again to inspire inquiring minds! If I can make a difference in just one life, imagine the ripples that can come from that!
Thank you “Accidental Devotional” for your original post. We are a house of two full time teachers – and this is our life from Saturday to Friday morning. We love what we are doing and I have no time or respect for people like “anonymous”. The only reason she has the tools to read, write disrespectful emails and be ignorant are due to teachers in her life. She is the worst model to her children. Not only should she walk one mile in our shoes, she also should reevaluate her own life. My husband and I, we are both teachers by choice. Second career. My husband has seen things in his life (as a military service man) that none should have to see or deal with. He wants to make a difference and help the next generations to make good, respectful and EDUCATED decisions. Please do not spend your precious time thinking about disrespectful people. We are making differences in and for all of our students – every day!
Thank you for this post. I, too, wish the ignorant posts weren’t blocking my view as I scrolled down. This is part of why we struggle. Unfortunately, the majority of politicians share some of the same opinions as those who have posted above (interestingly anonymous…hmph. Guess they lack the intestinal fortitude to post their name. I would too if I showed that degree of ignorance publicly in a forum for teachers.)
I completely agree about inadequate teacher preparation programs. I was fortunate to attend a pretty great program, but even that did not adequately prepare me for the real, 21st century classroom. I am currently working on my doctorate with the expressed purpose of revamping programs and teaching teachers how to be great teachers despite the challenges we face. I also want to impact state and federal law and policy and one way to do that is to bring representatives into classrooms, not for a photo op or another thing to brag about in a political speech. We must make them see the full picture. I know they’re not banging down our doors to come in, so somehow we have to force them…with letters, phone calls and ultimately with our votes. Parents, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teachers, assistants, and so on…we make up a HUGE voting sector. We have to use that influnce to change policy so we do not continue to lose quality teachers with passion that is overshadowed by burn out.
Everytime I hear stupid (yes STUPID, ignorant it too polite) comments like “You have 3 months off” or “You knew what you were getting into, if you don’t have what it takes, then find another job,” I literally want to scream. Let’s step outside into hypothetical world: What would happen if every tired, frustrated, fed up teacher just stopped?? I don’t think you realize the magnitude of this frustration and burn out! The educational system would collapse. You think others would rush into our places?? For what?? You think your doctors are quacks now? Wait until they can’t read or write only in text lingo. No, I think we all know in our hearts that teachers help keep this country at the top. And we push on, despite these feelings of drowning and suffocation under paperwork and demands other than sound teaching, because we love students. We keep forging ahead because we treasure that moment the light bulb turn on for them! We love shining that diamond in the rough to be the brilliant gem it was meant to be.
As for summers off and pay: I won’t even go into that one! That’s a whole different soapbox.
To get back to the positive, thank you again for this post! I was literally thinking the same thing last week: If I am THIS tired in September, how am I going to make it through until spring??? We are first and foremost people. People care for one another. It’s been this way since the beginning of time. By linking our arms and standing together, we can support one another and pull our neighbor up when she or he stumbles to their knees. Thank you for linking your arm in mine. Now, I’d like to offer my arm to anyone else who needs it.
I think it’s best to not respond to trolls and haters. They want the fight. Don’t give it to them.
Thank you for this post. A friend of mine sent this to me today. Yesterday I left my building swearing I was going to revamp my resume and start looking for other jobs. I have taught for 7 years and never once did I complain about demands. I love the art of teaching, truly knowing students and determining the best ways to support them. However, it seems everyday is a new demand, you have to find 30 min extra outside of this to do that. There is no extra 30 min. I swear my super needs to job shadow a day with an elem. teacher. Not anywhere. There is not even time to stop, reflect and remediate a lesson…which is truly what good teaching is. Its just shove, shove, shove, move on. I just feel like I’m doing such a disservice to my students….half of them don’t have the concrete grasp of the lessons ,but I am told to keep going. “We’re on a pacing schedule…everyone has to give the mid-unit assessment by this date.” Its crazy. Then kids are out sick and you can’t catch them up. Parents are sending notes about wanting to help their child and they can’t because they don’t know the “new” way, so homework is not completed….and again….not time to stop and catch up! I love my students and don’t mind being parent, nurse, counselor or mentor to them…but what breaks my heart is I don’t even have time to truly “listen” to them it seems. It is encouraging to know that there are others out there that are feeling the same angst, but in the end of the day KNOW….this is where we want to be. I just wish something would give….possible parents start making a movement about the ineffectiveness all the government policy has placed on schools and the effects it has on learning….true learning. Let’s stay positive friends, and continue to be noble in our cause.
Reblogged this on The Pediatric Profiler ™ and commented:
Too many people take teachers for granted. And they blame them for children not achieving. But, as Hillary Clinton said, it takes a village to raise a child. We need to support each other in helping all children achieve, even if their needs, in order to achieve, are different from the majority of students.
I just got back from 6 days of speaking (3 in Ohio and 3 in Northern California) and I can tell you that there are professionals out there who are looking at how to help the children who function differently. These are the one in six children who have a neurodevelopmental disorder – 1) intellectual disorders, 2) communication disorders, 3) autism spectrum disorders, 4) ADHD, 5) learning disorders, and 6) motor disorders. These children process life differently and need teachers, mentors, and coaches to make the time to teach them the strategies and coping mechanisms to feel functional in the mainstream world of our communities. It is not easy and it is not fast, and YES, it is very tiring. But as this blog states, it does make a difference. It does help keep these children out of jail as they get older.
We still have a long way to go, but believing that as you learn about these children and find people who can help you develop strategies to engage them in learning and understanding social interaction, you will be part of that village that will successfully raise our children.
I agree with this story wholeheartedly but understand that teachers in preschool and Pre-K classrooms around the world also make a difference for these children. I educate parents everyday who believe I am just the babysitter as I am teaching concepts like patterning, sorting, letter recognition, and pre-reading skills (just to name a few). I have given up my lunch for a hungry child, helped clothe a child in need, and championed a child learning a skill that they thought they would never master. I work with the school system in my community and parents to get their children IEP’s and Birth to Three when needed. I provide conferences for my parents as well as daily communication and support. The Kindergarten teachers receive my childrens’ portfolios at the beginning of the Kindergarten year so they know where these children are at academically, socially, and emotionally. I help provide children with a GREAT start even before they open the Kindergarten door. Please don’t forget we are educators too. Thanks for sharing your story.
AMEN SISTER! What YOU do also keeps kids out of jail! It matters so much! If you can get a kid the accomodations he needs before kindergarten then we have a kid we can work with. I am so so sorry that other teachers, and parents disrespect you and think of you as a babysitter. This post in every way was meant to include you and your colleagues (who are my colleagues because we are all on the same team).
Thank you. I appreciate your response and kind words.
Thank you for the inspiration!
I work in two schools because of budget cuts. I am responsible to approximately 2600 students and over 200 staff as well as to the community. I see classes with 40 or more students and sometimes one teacher per room (and rooms you can barely walk through). I see teachers using every conference period to attend planning meetings or meeting with parents or signing paperwork or writing curriculum or counseling the student who just threw a desk in class, and on and on it goes. I have worked in sales and in the business world. Nothing I have ever done compares in intensity or required time to complete one single day. My pay is for working a certain number of days. There are no paid days off, but my salary is split across twelve months instead of being given to me whole at the time I earn it. My pay has risen slowly and often has declined when insurance goes up. There have been years running together with no pay increase at all. The state once promised a raise that we did not receive because our district decided it could not afford to give us more than the state based salary and cut the extra they had been paying, yet the public was assured we had a pay raise. I’ve stayed up many nights until 2:00 trying to get ready for the next day. I know I am not alone. I average working 12 hours per day or more. I almost never eat my lunch without being interrupted by students. I do not necessarily have a period off each day, sometimes teaching all day straight. I attend meetings after work. I am required to get 50 hours by my own district outside of work time per year, and also have to attend training on my own time and out of my own pocket in order to maintain my piece of paper license. I am passionate about what I do, and I consider teachers to be artists who are born to do this. I left in the past when my health could not take the beating, and I am nearly there again but, like all American workers, I would want to have some retirement income one day. I’ve invested most of my years in education. I won’t be allowed to draw Social Security even for the years that I paid into it. Small salaries make saving difficult when costs of living rise steadily and pay does not. It is not unusual for us to be insulted, cursed, etc. by students and parents at work on account of poor student behavior or irresponsibility. I have a thick skin now, but I could do this job more easily if people would stop belittling me and my colleagues and encourage us instead as this blogger has tried to do. I wish that facts and research were guiding our education policies instead of ignorant, biased opinions with no empirical backing and politicians who use our teachers as their whipping boy to get votes. But, like the blogger here, I have my eyes on the students and on what I can do to help them out of poverty. The thing I recognize that our critics do not is that without teachers, our society has no hope. My students deserve someone who will think of their futures and try to help them in spite of what the policy makers are doing to keep us from helping the students. Blogger, thank you for your kind words and thoughts. They are appreciated.
Very good blog; thank you. I agree with 99% of the people’s comments. I would like to also point out that because teachers are so involved with their students and with school, they are not as engaged or involved in their own family’s lives. This is the biggest and most difficult thing for me. I’m so busy with school “stuff”, I often don’t get to enjoy my own daughter’s events and life. I make the time, but I am not always able to give it 100% due to teaching demands. THAT to me is the most difficult thing about teaching….along with all of the administrators, parents, unruly kids, nice kids, IEPs, Core Curriculum, etc.
Interesting. I had a conversation with my son last night. He told me of some “teacher bashing” that was done by a few of his fellow employees. Of course, he came to the defense of teachers in general and me specifically. It’s not entirely true that we knew what we signed up for when we became teachers. This is my 30th year,and what I do now does not remotely resemble what I signed up for all those years ago. I realize that my job can be a 13 hour day and usually involves one day of the weekend. I do what I do because I love it in spite of the demands. Please don’t assume you know how many hours a day we actually work or how we spend our summers. I would love for you to shadow any of us, anonymous.
I just want to thank you for your encouragement. Yes, it is the end of September and I am already completely exhausted! Working until 7, 8, 9 o’clock at night, coming up with fun and crazy activities to keep the kids engaged, as well as working on class sponsor stuff which is all completely volunteer and so time consuming. I didn’t leave my classroom until 11:30 AT NIGHT one day last week working on finalizing grades for the end of the six weeks, that I refused to take home over the weekend because I wanted to have somewhat of a work-free personal life. People outside of education have no idea what it is like… how much time and effort, and sometimes money, we put into our classes. They have no idea how to control a class of 30 crazed and hyped individuals, or how doing so requires us to be up on our feet ALL DAY LONG and how we inevitably have to make sure there are smiles on our faces at all times knowing that sometimes all it takes is that one smile for that one kid on a rough day that makes all the difference in the world. So we smile, through the bad days, through the headaches and stress, and we push through to make sure our students receive only the best. And we chose to be the better person and disregard the ignorant, selfish, disrespectful adults who have no idea what it takes to go the extra mile FOR THEIR CHILDREN. The ones who think we have three months off… which is completely not true considering the amount of staff development and training hours we are required to do each summer, not to mention that June and July only make up two months. Most of us surely did NOT know what all was involved when we went into teaching and only found ourselves disappointingly surprised at all the political junk that takes the joys away from actual teaching, but we still love the kids enough to stay because we know that if we don’t do it… who will?! Our students still deserve a good educational experience regardless of the number of people who don’t respect educators and couldn’t care less about our adorable kiddos. After all, they really are our future.
Spot on, thanks for the encouragement! I’m one of the many out here who really needed to hear this after a very difficult week.
Beautiful post and something teachers absolutely need to hear. It’s always disheartening to see how little outsiders understand of the profession and the many challenges that face teachers. It’s beyond frustrating to see the ignorance of those who don’t get demoralized on a regular basis by society for their career choices. (And the fact that someone suggested teachers partied their way through college is honestly laughable. My education major friends were by far some of my hardest-working friends.) As someone who has worked in several high schools as well as the private sector for an IT company, I am quite confident that there is no profession like teaching, particularly in urban settings, and that for those that do stay, it is really a calling.
To the people out there who think their high-paying jobs are so much harder or more important – I know several people who left the teaching profession and are now engineers, lawyers, medical students, and business people. I have never heard one of them say anything other than that their years working in urban schools were the hardest of their lives and they show the utmost respect to those who stay in the field.
Also Abby, I think you do well to point out how ridiculously the constant changes in policy are affecting your classroom. As an education policy student, I find it so frustrating that nothing seems to be well-researched and developed before being forced on those it affects while the government need not be held accountable for anything they do. (On that note… how does one go about running for Congress? Talk about getting paid a lot of money to not have to do your job.)
Wonderful encouragement, much appreciated! Teaching 10 subjects to gr7’s no joke…though we do laugh a lot! Additional to that – coaching sport after school on two afternoons, extra lessons and providing a venue and structured, learning environment after school hours for kids to do their homework (at no charge) as their homes are a mess – no adult there to supervise siblings fighting (mainly over the tv remote) or to assist with learning or homework. As parents more so experience the pressures of providing for their kids’ needs especially for the growing number of single parents, broken homes, alcohol and drug affected-homes – all of which carry heavily the burdens and consequences of modern society. Our kids became the product of disfunctionality… Something they didn’t ask to be a part of. They need to experience some stability somewhere along the line and even if it’s just a teacher who shows them that they are worth something and can achieve much more…then at least they received that. The kids who come to me, ask to be there – that must vouch for something… There is a need for people today who can show our youth that they are valued, show them that they care, show them how to care, …how to value and how to love is a need screaming to be heard. Unless we have made an effort to make a difference in the life of a child, please don’t criticize “the youth of today”! Demands, choices, temptations and pressures on children these days are often more than what they can handle – we sure never walked in their shoes as life was much different – not so long ago! Well, going home at 4ish depends on the support these kids get, to be fetched… or am I their only available means of transport…? Then some food shopping, cooking for my husband who helps me out after his long day of building and farming. When mid-evening arrives – out come the books to mark and record, lessons prep for following day and whatever other admin demands await me after a looooong day on your feet! Weekends – mark weekly tests and more preparations for the following week. Oral and reading assessments need to be recorded, attendance register along with sporting excursions to be organised…etc etc. Essays take about one and a half to two hours to mark. Yip, I do love my job, I sure am not doing it for the money! Sleep and recreation are not on the top of my list… I have been blessed with excellent health – except for one sinus operation and a hysterectomy, I have not taken one day leave for the last 9 years that I have been teaching! Well, do I love my job or do I love my job!? Please feel free to edit this, as you can see, English is not my mother tongue, but I am working at it. I hope you caught my drift – teaching is a calling…I answered!
If you can READ all of the above: THANK A TEACHER!! Abby has insights well beyond her years. Thank you for the encouragement. It is appreciated. I also thought it was interesting that the naysayers call themselves ANONYMOUS. Don’t even have the guts to give a name. I ignore anonymous posts and comments.
I have been teaching for 16 years. I have slowly worked my way up from being an aide to a teacher and now I have my masters. I got into teaching because I never did like school growing up and I wanted the same hours that my child had. Well, 16 years later, I have not had a summer off, I write curriculum, do summer school, attend conferences and actually do presentations for teachers through my local agency. We do get tired at this time of the year because we give so much of ourselves and we do so many things.
I love the fact that when outsiders talk about our job in reference to thiers, they never remember that when they are done at their job, they push away from thier desk and walk out the door for the most part. I, on the otherhand, have my laptop, my bag of papers to be graded, papers to be filled out for ARDs, IEP’s to go over, lesson plans to work on, curriculum to write, UIL schedules to make, safety audits to prepare for, and the list goes on and on. Then, when do I have time for family? My husband gets tired of seeing me come home with bag after bag.
I have been reading the posts and I understand the level of frustration that is being represented here because I have felt them too. I am tired. I am proud that I am tired because I know that when my students go home, they are more tired than me! My job is done!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Now I know it isn’t just me and I got a bit, just from reading your post, more energy to work with my kiddos. The large coffee helped too!
To all of those who think that teachers are “whining” about our jobs and pay, etc. Let me explain a few things. I have a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and worked in industry for a number of years before choosing to teach. I LOVE my job. However, unlike my job in industry, my teaching job is controlled by bureaucrats that often don’t know atoms from Adams. Just weeks ago, a state legislative subcommittee voted to NOT adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, standards that had been developed by scientists, teachers and other stakeholders in 36 states, because they “thought there wasn’t that much support for it.” This, after the state department of education endorsed the standards. Fortunately, the Governor overrode their veto.
Teachers salaries are determined by federal monies given to the states. The states divide this money to the districts according to various formulas. I can’t walk in to my principal and say,” my kids are consistently performing well. I want a raise.” If the district doesn’t have the budget for it, it isn’t going to happen. I haven’t had a raise since 2005, yet my insurance rate has increased every year.
By the way, did you know that most teachers will not draw Social Security? We can’t. Congress passed a law known as the Windfall Elimination Protection act. Even though I have paid into Social Security since I was 16, I won’t be able to draw it because I am a teacher. We can’t even draw off our husband’s Social Security if we could.
I am currently married. My ex pays no child support because he can’t hold a job. My current husband currently has a temporary job because the economy is so bad he can’t find a job. He pays his $300 child support though his ex won’t let him see his kids. The point is we all have struggles. Whether we are teachers, bankers, chemical engineers, we all have struggles. Do not demean my profession by your perception of what I do. I have a masters degree in education. That means an additional 30 hours of coursework in my field. I am currently taking coursework towards additional certification. I can tell you why a star forms, why they are different colors, how it will die and if it will supernova. I can teach you to write an argumentative essay, produce a prezi, or solve a physics formula. I can teach you to work with the people you think you can’t and have you laughing before you leave. Why? Because I am a professional and I DESERVE to be treated as such!
This is seriously beautiful. THANK YOU.
You stated “… By the way, did you know that most teachers will not draw Social Security? We can’t. Congress passed a law known as the Windfall Elimination Protection act. Even though I have paid into Social Security since I was 16, I won’t be able to draw it because I am a teacher. We can’t even draw off our husband’s Social Security if we could…” I think that’s a misunderstanding of the Windfall Elimination Provision.
I just copied & pasted this excerpt from the Social Security web site:
“If you work for an employer who does not withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, any pension you get based on that work may reduce your Social Security benefits. The Windfall Elimination Provision affects how the amount of your retirement or disability benefit is calculated if you receive a pension from work where Social Security taxes were not taken out of your pay…”
You should check directly with the SSA, but what I think it means is this: If someone’s employer does NOT withhold Social Security from their wages, their Social Security benefit may be reduced accordingly when they retire. After all, they have already had the benefit of the money that was not withheld but should have been. They shouldn’t get to keep that money and ALSO get a full check from Social Security calculated as if they had paid in at the same level everyone else did. That would, in effect, be a windfall–just what the legislation is intended to eliminate. So if SS taxes have been withheld from your pay, you will get a full benefit when you retire; if not, you’d best be saving that money yourself! 🙂
You don’t understand. I spent 20 years outside of education working jobs where I PAID Social Security. The WEP keeps me from drawing what I normally would if I remained in the private sector. I pay into a pension now. Why should that affect my Social Security check? It will also affect my spousal benefit after my husband dies and SSDI if I should need that. Of course Congress doesn’t need this since they are paid for life.
I’m so sorry. I agree–you SHOULD get what you’ve worked to earn. I also agree that things would be radically different (better) in oh-so-many ways if members of Congress had to live by the rules they write for the rest of us.
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Thank you. I needed to hear this today.
I agree with everything you say in your essay. Well done! I wish you would have taken the time to proofread the document before you posted it. As teachers, we must try very hard to make sure that everything we write is perfect. We are teachers, after all. There are several words missing, high school is two words, and several others. No, I am not an English teacher; just a concerned retired business education teacher (31 years) seeing written communication skills bastardized every day.
My blessings to each of you who serve in this, the most honorable and greatest of all professions! Been there; Done that; had the mid-September tired already feeling; RETIRED; however, I remain in awe of all who continue to serve.
Thank you so much for this. I woke up this morning, after working all week, tutoring after school, and spending Saturday at a second part-time job (gotta pay the bills), and you took my exhaustion and turned it into inspired resolve!
Thank you for writing this. It is very profound and true. The arrogant and the ignorant always pop up where they are least expected and not wanted. Don’t ever let those kinds of comments slow you down.
Many thanks for writing this; it was a really hard week with my students last week. I just subscribed.
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I’m a teacher. I think the hard part (in addition to everything mentioned in these blog posts) is that it is exhausting to love and care about so many people (the students, and even their parents sometimes), day in and day out, while worrying that what you do on a day to day basis will help and not harm. The summer months (that are not spent on a second or third job) are needed to recharge the emotional and spiritual soul of the teacher, so that they can do it all again for a new group the next year.
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After reading the comment about how easy teaching is, my blood pressure went through the roof. Tim, if you really are a teacher, it must be in a world filled with rainbows and unicorns! Go ahead and smoke ya’ another one, buddy! Thank you Jennifer, for your response. You’ve hit the nail on the head!
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