I almost didn’t write today because I’ve been struggling to come up with a topic for the teaching post. However, something had been laying in front of my eyes for the past few weeks and I just didn’t see it!
You see, teachers have to do things that no one else in this world may even realize. Oh, it’s not all bad, especially if you enter into the field for the right reasons. But that doesn’t mean that there is no hardship and that we don’t get pulled through the mud every now and again.
I myself am finding a lot of things that are not so hot about teaching (as compared to my earlier view when I was just a student or bystander). Below are the top ten things that teachers actually are not comfortable doing; they may not apply to all teachers, but they are surely true for at least one of us (ahem, not necessarily me either)!
- Standards/Common Core — We are drilled and drilled and drilled some more when in college: Every student is unique and different. We spend time distinguishing between students based on their ability levels, learning styles, and even attitudes/personalities. So why in the world does it seem okay to make every teacher teach exactly the same way?! To share your own methods is a wonderful thing; we all learn from one another in many ways. Yet to expect a teacher to do an identical lesson to the one across the hall… you’re just asking for failure! And, truth be told, these new-found common core methods mean we have to re-learn how to do half of this stuff before we can even teach it “correctly”.
- Staff Meetings — We don’t like them. Period. It’s not that getting together is a bad idea, we do all need to collaborate. But why are they always 1) way too early in the morning, 2) way too late/after school hours, and 3) painlessly pointless most of the time. So many of the topics discussed in these meetings could be discussed between smaller focus groups before being presented to everyone as a whole. Let’s face it: sometimes we just try not to fall asleep during these meetings. When we have to present something there too, that presents a whole other issue.
- Observations — I do the same thing day in and day out. Sure, each lesson is different, but my procedures, rules, attitude, and teaching style is the same. I am a person, not an ever-changing figment of your imagination. I appreciate the constructive criticism, appreciation, etc. that is given when I am observed by a peer or administrator who can help me grow however I need to. But, AWKWARD! I personally have had observations that were amazing (and I wouldn’t trade them for the world). Then, on the other hand, I have had people interrupt my teaching to tell me, in front of my students, what I was doing wrong. They basically took over the entire lesson from that point! Thankfully they aren’t my boss and that will never happen again!
- Report Cards — Do you know how much work goes into one of these little pieces of paper? Finalizations, mass grading binges, and further revisions! Plus, picking out comments about each student is not as easy as it seems. Meanwhile, the kids are still showing up, the parents are still asking questions, and everything else in our lives needs to continue on in one smooth motion. Let’s just add a ton of extra work to our already hectic lives and see how happy we are at the end!
- Parent-Teacher Conferences — Some parents are amazing to work with. These conferences can be especially great because we can learn more about our students. Yet these often occur around the same time as report cards come out (see #4 above), and many parents are not as nice as they could be. I understand being extremely proud of someone you love, especially the child that you have raised. I, as their teacher, am always extremely proud of my students too. But that doesn’t mean that there are never any issues and that they always try their best. By giving you constructive criticism about their work ethic, I am not trying to say that I hate them or they are the worst person on the planet- I am trying to help. Too bad not everyone understands this. Hello to another awkward conversation…
- One-On-One Time — It can be weird, that’s all. It’s not so much bad- in fact, it’s often easier to teach and reach a student’s level of understanding when working with them one-on-one. But it’s really awkward for some teachers when working with students individually. There are young teachers who end up feeling like they are supposed to be having a study session with a friend. There are also those that are simply of opposite sex from their student. Talk about being paranoid about a “sex scandal” or whatever you may want to call these situations. Honestly, twenty years ago this would not even be an item on the list. But now, since these situations end up on the media so often, it seems like teachers have to wear a suit of armor to work around single students while still securing their job, their name, and their reputation.
- Field Trips — It’s one thing to try to control your own two kids while shopping in the super market. It’s also one thing to be a trained teacher and be able to control a larger group of students who are not your own kids, but are with you every day in your classroom. It’s another thing entirely to take trips up to two hours away in an giant yellow noise machine (aka the school bus) and still have to babysit them for the rest of the day after that. Oh, and did we mention the extra trip home in the big yellow noise machine? Let’s just say ick. If you’ve ever been a chaperon, you may at least begin to understand this discomfort.
- The First Week of School — We aren’t used to being back to school, just like the students. We have spent the last few weeks sleeping in, relaxing, and trying to have a good time for a change. Yet when we go back to school, we have to snap right back into things. No one expects the students to be at their peak performance, but the teachers must always be. We are the ones in charge, the ones setting a good example. We can not fail. Also, we have to teach the kids all of the rules, procedures, etc. and most times we don’t know any of their names! Talk about difficult.
- The Last Week of School — By this time kids just don’t care. Hence, #7 occurs, only inside of the classroom. Plus we feel just like the kids; we just want to make it through the next few days so that we can try to enjoy what little bit of summer vacation we do have. Most times we throw “parties” instead of teaching anything because… we just don’t have any steam left after the last 200 or so days.
- Extra Time at the End of Class — You run a day care business. You make up activities for the kids to do each day- arts and crafts, story time, lunch, napping, etc. So what happens when you run out of things to do because the kids finish an activity faster than you expected? You probably just let them wander off to their own areas to play with each other or do what kids do. Teachers, we don’t have that option. So what do we do after the kids get done with all of their work early? Who knows… sometimes it’s a mystery even to us.