In university, I tried to convince my parents that a Canadian history degree would be a profitable career decision. My favorite professor at the time took pity on my strain to prove myself by suggesting I apply to teacher’s college. Becoming a teacher, he reasoned, would allow me to encourage my passion for my nation’s history by inspiring the next generation.
Apparently he knew something I did not know, like the value of a pension and tenure. But I knew the one thing I needed to know: teachers are crazy. They have to be. Who else would play host every day to thirty children with distinct personalities, unique learning styles and hormonal conflicts, who may or may not wish to learn that day? Imagine trying to coordinate these students into a strict schedule of six different subjects a day, including math, (ugh), while keeping the pulse on the classroom culture for issues like bullying or peer pressure. And teachers had better be keen because every student has a family expecting their junior achiever to be the star of the class. Agendas and field trips too? Yep, I’ll pass.
Don’t get me wrong; I have tremendous respect for teachers. Many of my dear friends are teachers, and many of the young people I know today want to become teachers. I admire that. I also have tremendous respect for careers like explosive bomb detonators, brain surgeons and killer whale trainers, but that surely doesn’t mean I want to be one. I don’t care what the pay benefits are because I am not going to do that. It takes a special person to organize a classroom full of children all day long. I do not want to be that special.
As in every profession there are the good teachers and the not so good teachers. There are the ones that retire and leave a void and those who should retire and leave a spot for someone fresh. We could say the same for any industry. I know a few CEO’s that could use a push off the ivory tower, don’t you? (NHL? Cough.).
Oh I know, teachers are well paid and they get their summers off. Everybody always points to that one fact when they complain about teachers. In their defense, I spend every day with only two children (three if the Carpenter is whiney), and I’ll tell you what, just trying to keep two unique kids with independent tempers, learning styles and attitudes all their own for a two day weekend is enough to drive me out of town for a summer too. You know what I mean. You’re so busy trying to fill up the summer with day camps and sleepovers because your little people scare you too. It’s okay to admit it. We’re all friends here.
It’s no different for teachers. The school calendar is long and the curriculum is heavy. Thanks to funding issues, teachers are losing the crucial support of Educational Assistants in the classroom, meaning there isn’t enough time to help those students who need more attention. Working parents don’t have time to volunteer. We’re losing our special education programs to a streamlined system, making the gaps for the children who don’t fit in the box larger, while the demands for individual needs increase. Who bears the brunt of that? The students. Nobody knows that better than our teachers. We have to work together to change that.
Yep, teachers are crazy. Thank goodness for that.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.