By Teachers, For Teachers
Have you ever heard that the teaching profession is easy, or that if you act like a friend to your students, then they will respect you more? These are just a few of the very false assumptions that people have about the teaching profession. Many college students are intrigued by the notion that they only have to work five days a week with their nights, weekends, and summers off. However, it isn’t until they are actually in the teaching profession that they realize everything that it takes to be an effective teacher. Here are five false assumptions about teaching, as well as what it really entails to be a teacher.
Working from 8-3 and having your nights and weekends free can be quite enticing for college students. But unfortunately, an effective teacher works much longer than that. You have to take into account coming to school early and staying late to grade, prep, or meet with parents or students. Then you have to factor in meetings, school dances, sporting events and school committee obligations. The nights and weekends are sometimes spent scouring the Internet for lessons or project ideas. So the idea that a teacher’s work hours are minimal is actually false.
Oftentimes, prospective teachers think that if you are the students’ friend, you can get them to respect you more. This cannot be further from the truth. It usually isn’t until after the teacher is in the classroom for a while that they realize that students will respect you more as an authority figure. The key to being an effective teacher is to be likeable without being the students’ friend. Most teachers choose to be a mentor where they take the time to invest in getting to know their students on a deeper level so that they can build a better rapport with the students. This is not a “Friendship” -- this is a respected student-teacher relationship.
Another false assumption of being a teacher is that you only have to deal with parents at conference time. However, you never know when you are going to have to deal with a parent. You can have a helicopter parent who bothers you every single day about their child, or you can have a parent who doesn’t like the way you teach and makes sure that you know it. Being a teacher isn’t just dealing with students, but it’s also knowing how to deal with adults as well. Many college institutions lack the proper resources and tools to help prospective teachers learn how to deal with these sort of issues. So if you thought that you only had to see your students’ parents once or twice a year, you are mistaken.
While you will have the summers off, you will not have them off to do nothing. The summer is the time that teachers have in-service meetings and plan for the following year. Many teachers use this time to teach summer school or tutor children. Other teachers take this time to stay up to date with their profession by brushing up on their skills and taking online courses or reading up on new educational tech tools and devices for the classroom. The assumption that you will be laying on the beach with a margarita in hand may sound ideal, but in reality that idea won’t last very long.
The assumption that being a teacher is an easy profession has been around for some time now. Many people think that all you have to do is give your students some busy work and “Babysit” them for a couple hours a day, five days a week. However, teachers are the ones that are in charge of shaping the youth of tomorrow. It is a teacher’s job to educate children so that they are productive citizens in the world.
Being a teacher in today’s society is harder than it has ever been before. The demands on a teacher are tough, from the everyday duties to having to differentiate lessons to meet the needs of all learners, to teaching to the standards and keeping up with the ever-changing tech tools. To assume that being a teacher is an easy job is to assume that you will be the next big pop star.
Have you heard any false assumptions about the teaching profession? Please share your stories with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyword. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.