Written By: Robyn Shulman
Please let me preface this article about teachers was not written from a political platform. This article was written to provide a snapshot of the various roles and responsibilities teachers have. Also, the goal of the article is to highlight how the reputation of the education profession has fallen. An attack on teachers is simply not justified.
It is ever so apparent that the teaching profession is under an unjustified attack. These attacks begin from the preschool level all the way to the higher education realm. What was once considered a highly noble and respected profession, now appears to be demoralized, belittled and disparaged.
Still, we see vast amounts of students coming out of school today as teachers, and many cannot even land an interview.
I am certain that the media, inner administrations and government policies have all played a role in steering this conditioned response. However, whether it is by that of pencil, petitioning or demonstrating, we must rise to the occasion to help people who are not in education understand what teachers truly do every single day. We must turn this negative thinking around, or we will lose one of the most valuable and needed professions in America. The consequences are too great; as it will be the future generations who will not receive the education they are so greatly entitled.
Here is just a sampling of what teachers do and/or feel on a daily basis:
- Prepare lessons and activities for groups of 30+ students daily. These lessons can cross over 6 or more subjects, and must be adapted to each learner’s level and need.
- Teaches on stage all day. There is no down time in a quiet cubicle. They are ‘on’ all day, and then go home to grade papers and prepare for the next day’s activities.
- Deals with bullying, behavior problems, and basic ‘classroom drama’.
- Support students who do not speak English, are gifted, and/or have learning disabilities.
- Put under a great amount of pressure to pump out high-test scores.
- Take the blame and responsibility very often when a student does not succeed.
- Work with parents who are either over involved (helicopter parents) or are unavailable.
- Manage to do all of the required pieces of the job, while staying on track with top administration and state curriculum standards and expectations.
- Work with some of the most challenging situations with limited resources, time, and funds.
- Take on extra responsibilities, such as coaching or running clubs, to make ends meet.
- And now, some are scared to give out certain grades or approach students due to the raised level of violence and physical attacks.
- Keep over-stimulated, medicated, and technology drained students on task.
- Strive to understand and adapt to ever changing curriculum.
- Keep the community happy.
- Stay up to date for certification by taking more classes, workshops, etc., which usually means more money out of pocket
To get a better visualization, think about one of the challenging days you’ve had with your own child or a child you are close with, and multiply it by 20. Seems a bit difficult, wouldn’t you agree?
Most people do not go into teaching for money, as they go into the profession based on their passion, the love of teaching, and supporting kids so they have a better life. They want to give back.
We must advocate in giving the respect, honor, and great reputation back to the teachers, as this is exactly where it belongs.