Believe it or not, even though they leave the house excited and hope today will be better, this is what your kid’s teacher feels like on a lot of days.
This post won’t be really funny because watching teachers day in and day out doesn’t so much make me laugh as it does hurt my heart. I can’t say I fully understand what teachers go through because I am not in a classroom with kids, but I can say I have a different perspective working at a school and seeing your children there.
The first thing teachers want you to know is that they are just human.
They are in a room with 15 -20 different personalities and learning styles and dealing with 15 – 40 different parents (in today’s world, it’s complicated) and sometimes they get it wrong. They are only human.
Sometimes, they can agree with you that there is a better path of learning for your child, but because of laws or rules, they can’t lead your child down that path. They have limitations and can only do so much. They are just regular people trying to do their job in a highly regulated and controlled environment with 90 million variables.
Second, most teachers really do love children and love teaching.
They truly like helping someone (usually anyone) learn something new. I had amazing English teachers in high school. I really think both of them were excited to read papers I had written because they wanted to teach me how to do it better.
Most teachers really aren’t “out to get” kids and just want a good effort. Teachers don’t expect perfection from students. As a matter of fact, they know that if Johnny Bob could do it perfectly, he wouldn’t need a teacher!
Third, what they don’t like about teaching is the “extra” that goes with it.
They love to mentor your kids, but they don’t want to parent them. They don’t like having to try to parent and teach. Schools and teachers weren’t meant to parent and in today’s climate, they are often forced to assume that role.
At the risk of sounding cliché, 30 years ago there were a handful of kids whose parents didn’t care what they did or said and all of the rest of us were held accountable by our parents for our actions – wether it happened at home or at school. Today, there are a handful of parents who hold their children accountable for any action, any where.
If my kid did something wrong, you should change the rule. Better yet, leave the rule, it needs to apply to everyone else, just not me and mine.
Fourth, they worry about your kids even when they aren’t with them.
Ok, maybe not your kids because if you have read this far, you are probably a pretty involved parent, but maybe yours, too. Teachers see the side of your kid that your kid won’t always let you see. Suzie may tell you all about problems with her friends, but she will tell her teacher when she is worried about you. Kids may be kids, but often they know when they should be worried about their parents. They share those worries with teachers – people who are totally ready to teach them about where to put a comma but who really aren’t ready to explain why mom stays in an abusive relationship.
Fifth, they feel incredibly under appreciated.
Not just for teaching, but for carrying those emotional burdens of knowing what kids go through.
Little Jimmy is being bullied? His teacher would love to make it stop, but she can’t force a child to follow rules. She sees the hurt and often feels it with your child but she is often powerless to change it (because of those parents mentioned above).
Little Amy struggling to pass a state mandated test? Her teacher hurts knowing that he is doing everything he can and so is Amy and that because of the rules of engagement, she probably won’t succeed.
Finally, they want to be judged on their own merit.
I went to a doctor once who wanted to do a breast exam because I had sore throat. I never went back to him but I didn’t swear off all doctors as goonie birds.
Are there bad teachers? Yes, but for the most part teachers want the children they teach to have the best life possible – now and in the future. I know teachers who have had students come back and thank them and for a teacher, that is like winning the lottery.
This week, I am asking you to do a little something for you child’s teacher for Christmas. They will appreciate a candle or body lotion, but they will love a note from you and your kid if possible telling them something or somethings you love about them. Give a specific example if you can think of one. Just let them know you appreciate the fact they spend almost 8 hours a day with a room full of either little kids or hormonal teens.
Don’t you feel good knowing that you have made someone’s day?