It always amazes me when parents tell me that their child’s teacher has it out for their son or daughter. Teachers work extremely hard, from sun up to sundown all year long. They work weekends, holidays, on vacation, while sick, when their kids are sick and even from hospitals.
You know that one person you just can’t seem to get along with, has the thought crossed your mind that they have been like this to people since elementary years? Imagine having between 20 and 38 kids, teens, young adults, or preschoolers. Now try maintaining silence long enough to hear yourself think, keep them in their seats or just a seat, have them fed during a short amount of time, use the restroom not at the same time, and make it to the correct bus, almost forgot you need to teach them so they can pass a ridiculous test.
Whose with me? Who is signing up, come on let’s do this people. What is that chirping sound, are those crickets I hear? Silly me, I left out the best part, you guessed it, there’s that one kid who interrupts you incessantly, talks back, hits, spits, bullies, throws pencils, markers, books, chairs even tables and desks. Since he/she is entitled to a free public education they have the right to attend. I agree that this child is detracting from their education as well as the other students and should be removed. Well unfortunately that is not how the system operates. The child being removed from class is a temporary fix, a band aid. Even though they are disruptive the teacher has to teach them. So, the band aid comes off and the child goes back to class.
Our education system is so focused on testing and not truly educating children in each area of life in order for them to become productive members of society. There are children that would benefit from social skill training, others who need extra math assistance to advance onto grade level, speech and language, and there is more. Teachers have to spend hours weekly documenting these needs. They document upwards of a year in order to get permission to recommend specific assessments that could pinpoint their deficits. Great the child is tested and a deficit has been identified. Do you know the next step? I bet your thinking this child will be taught in a different environment, sorry but that is not the case. Instead the teacher is given a list of accommodations THEY need to make in order for this child to be successful. That’s more work for the teacher. Imagine they had 3 children with special accommodations. Teachers write lesson plans for each class, lesson, topic, theme, etc. now they need to write separate plans and accommodations for each child, for each deficit, topic, theme, and grade level content.
I know many of you are jumping at the chance to be a teacher but wait I need to tell you about one more thing, assessments. Teachers assess their students daily either with rubrics, data sheets, formal and informal testing. There’s the beginning of the year assessments to get a baseline, mid-year to see what’s been retained and understand what is needed for inevitable district required testing. They must complete this task for each student, each subject while documenting growth or lack of. So now they know what they need to reteach each and every student while moving on with new content. All of this is to be completed during regular school hours.
I don’t know about you but all of a sudden teaching isn’t as enticing as society makes it out to be. Teaching isn’t only 7 hours a day, 5 days a week and 10 months out of the year that society portrays. Dealing with the varying needs of students, working with the specialists to adapt each and every lesson, promoting a good relationship with students’ families while collaborating with your team of teachers, reporting to administrators is exhausting and doesn’t appear to be high on my list.
Wonder Woman and Super Man have nothing on teachers. So, the next time you see a teacher thank them for all they do. Show compassion when they seem frazzled, don’t get offended if they appear to stern, and volunteer in the classroom. The task that is put upon our teachers is a lofty one but day in and day out they do it.
Teachers love their students even the ones that make lessons challenging, need accommodations, and are behind their peers. They love them no matter their race, religion or home environment. With all this we pay them poorly. Doctors, lawyers, executives, entrepreneurs, live very comfortably but teachers just get by. They typically spend $1,000 and upwards of $3,000 of their own money each school year so their students will have the enriched programs the school district states they provide but fail to do so. What I find interesting is that we pay ridiculous amounts of money to singers and star ball players that wouldn’t have these careers without teachers.
Teachers are what drive our society. No other profession has the capabilities or requirements that teachers do and without your teachers you would be part of an uneducated country. Teachers enable you to have a career, a roof over your head, a car to drive and vacation with your family. Teachers make it possible for you to live independently, communicate with others, and follow your dreams.
Teachers are amazing. Who wants to be a teacher now?
Stacey Landau is a former special educator and now works as an advocate for children and their families. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or through her blog: staceyslifeblog.wordpress.com