09 November 2010

Teachers Are People

And teaching is a job.  Not a job I would want, ever.  But it's a job. Can we please stop pretending that the teachers ONLY work "for the kids?" 

And can we stop putting bumper stickers on our cars that say, "If you can read this, thank a teacher"?  Because, really, if you can read this, thank the English for being all imperialistic and stuff.  That's the real reason you can read this.  Bossy English people and their conquering ways.  It has nothing to do with teachers, mmkay?

Ok.  Teachers work as professionals at a JOB.  They're not your personal nannies, they don't do childcare, and they aren't your kid's parent.  I think, actually, when teachers' unions and such advocate for more "wraparound services," that they are in the long run going to belittle the profession in the eyes of the taxpayer/parent.  Teachers are already viewed as the folks who give Mommies "free time" during the day in plenty of circles.  Surely you don't want to make that worse.  Teachers are professionals.  They do a job.  When the last test is graded, they go home and have their own families and their own lives.

But by saying that, I'm in no way discounting the fact that most teachers DO care for the children in their classes.  Professionals can care without crossing the line and getting all codependent and weird.  I know Realtors (tm) who care very much about whether the families they worked with are happy with the houses they purchased.  They work hard to ensure a good fit budget-wise, knowing the families' priorities in selecting a new home.  And I know doctors who care very much about whether their patients live or die.  You betya, they do.

Can professionals care without it being part of their job description, though?  I've seen teachers that I can TELL are not fond of my children do a competent enough job.  I was reading on some other teaching-type blogs, and they are allll starting to pop up with some sort of  "Madonna/whore" dichotomy when discussing teachers.  You know, perfect perky young and unmarried teacher who works 15 hours per day for the kids vs. greedy old bag who sucks up benefits because she's in a union and shoulda quit 10 years ago.  That dichotomy.  I know very few people who would "fit" the description of either extreme.

It all just seems a little silly.  Usually people who get into teaching do so because they like working with children and/or want to spend time with their own children when they are out of school.  I don't see too many bloodthirsty greedy OR kum-bay-aa  "I'm going to change the world by teaching inner-city second graders to add" types signing up.  Though I suppose they are out there, and some of you will direct me to their blogs and I'll be sorry I asked.

But most teachers?  They're people.  Teaching is their JOB.  You know?  JOB.  They shouldn't have to pour out their entire lives, give out their personal cell numbers, and generally live to do nothing but teach.   They shouldn't be required to love the children.  Professional standard of conduct.  Figure out what that is and then there you go.

Am I missing something here?

5 comments:

  1. I'm fond of the 'If you can read, thank a SOLDIER', myself. :)

    Yes, teaching is a job. I agree wholeheartedly. And again- not one that I would ever choose.

    I have a BIL who is an elementary level teacher. He has been entrusted with hundreds of amazing little people. He's a great father to my soon to be three nephews. But sadly, if you ask him why he went into, or why he remains a teacher he is very blunt. He hates other peoples kids, but teaching offered summers off, and allows him to work coaching around his teaching. THAT is his passion. Coaching. Not teaching. So he 'suffers' through the monumental things like watching children have their 'aha!' moments and instead of reveling or taking pride in that, he waits for 3 'o' clock with baited breath to be out on the field with high schoolers and playing games. (That's another sad/ disturbing thing....he went into elementary education because he didn't want to have to know the 'hard stuff' for high school education.) He was one of the kids who was passed through a majority of his own classes because he was an all star athlete...again, sad.

    I am friends with several of the teachers at my childrens former school. Sadly, after we decided to homeschool many of them have said they went into teaching because they wanted summers off with their own kids.

    Our children are losing right off the bat. :/

    Disclaimer- this is not to say that all teachers are heartless, child hating, benefit seeking people. There are a few with hearts of gold, who really do go home and worry about some of their students and what they can do to make their lives better. Those are few and far between, though.

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  2. I agree. I am VERY tired of teachers being put on this ridiculous Oprah-built pedestal of sainthood.

    I have several people in my family who are teachers; and I knew lots of education majors in college. The primary reason they chose that profession is because of the schedule. Summers and all major holidays off - who wouldn't want that? The secondary reason other people I know chose teaching is because they got some useless bachelor's degree and couldn't get a job in their field. After wandering around looking for a job for a year or two, they went back to get a teaching certificate.

    Teaching is a profession, just like any other. It's not a step on the ladder to becoming a deity. I think the temptation to put teachers on a pedestal stems from parents wanting to feel that they are sending their kids off to passionate people who will love their kids and will to a good job while the kids are in their care. That's a lot more palatable than thinking you are shipping your kids off to a guy who is just punching a clock.

    So! Insightful!

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  3. Wow, that's really amazing of you to say that, being a teacher yourself. In high school, there were lots of teachers who I did not respect because they were uninspiring. A teacher being uninspiring to his/her students is not doing his/her job well. Teaching is a tough job because apart from the job description, from the exams and grades that you have to make, you have to establish a connection between you and the kids you're teaching. Because of that tough job, I look highly to teachers... well, only to some.

    I respect you as a teacher from what I've been reading in your blog. You're a good person, and that is important. You're a good person because you are a good person, and not because you're a teacher. =]

    Kudos to you, Mrs. C!

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  4. First off i'd like to say that when you said, "I don't see too many bloodthirsty greedy OR kum-bay-aa "I'm going to change the world by teaching inner-city second graders to add" types signing up.", I laughed so hard, that was hillarious.

    Now, onward...

    I agree that if your a teacher, it's because you like to work about kids, but i also know that a lot of teachers are only teaching because it pays better then other jobs. If it were me, i would just go to college, get a better degree, and find a 6 or 7 digit paying job ;)

    But thats just me ...

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