Sunday, August 25, 2013

Being a Teacher

Today is Sunday, August 25, 2013.

Some of these memes on social media really crack me up, but I have laughed the loudest about the ones on teachers. 

What my friends think I do: read stories all day to sweet, obedient children.  (My friends don't seem to know about the fourth-grader who ripped the water fountain from the wall.  They do know about kids who bring drugs to school, but for some reason they can't imagine that any of those kids could be in my classroom.)

What my mom thinks I do: impart important information to students who take notes furiously, hoping to catch every last, precious detail.  (As an elementary school teacher, the stuff I taught was pretty basic, actually, and unless I could turn it into a game, the kids didn't care one way or another.)

What society thinks I do: relax in the teacher's lounge and gossip about the kids and their parents.  (Teachers don't always talk shop in the lounge.  In fact, most of the conversations have to do with other things. Adult things.  Anything that has nothing to do with the classroom, in fact.)

What kids think I do: administer cruel and unusual punishment, also known as homework. (Cry me a river....)

What I think I do: psychoanalyze students. (Well, we do in some ways, but it's a means to an end, not an end in itself.)

What I really do: grade tons of papers.  Oh, and lesson planning.  And report cards. 


What my friends think I do: fool around all summer.  (Not: I spent most summers teaching summer school or doing some other summer job, taking summer classes, and catching up on all my yearly doctor and dentist appointments.)

What my mom thinks I do: complain about my salary.  (Actually, this is what society thinks I do.  My mom knows better, because she is married to a teacher.)

What society thinks I do: support teachers unions and argue for more and more money.  (Teachers really do make way, waaay too much money, ya know....)

What students think I do: harass kids.  (Really, when they get into the army, they are going to get a shock.  My classroom will seem like a picnic in the park, by comparison.)

What I think I do: miracles.  (After you have worked very hard to get a reluctant reader to read, it really does seem like a miracle.)

What I really do: taming wild animals.   (Seriously, the "unwritten curriculum" is to turn little kids into contributing members of society, and that means teaching them "the rules."  We get lambasted for doing this AND for not doing this all the time.)


Here's an Ode to Teachers that I learned from a young woman who was a teacher in Ireland.  I learned later that this little poem has been back and forth across the Pond many times. :-)

 Ode to Teachers

We, the willing,
led by the unknowing,
are trying to do the impossible
for the ungrateful.

We have done so much
with so little
 for so long
that we are now qualified
to do anything
with nothing.

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