Recently I’ve seen a plethora of blog posts, humor articles, infographics, and other bits of media discussing a long-ignored topic: the frustrations and unseen stresses of the teaching field. I decided that it’s my turn to say my piece.
Teaching is a legitimate, professional career choice. Teachers are underpaid and largely under-appreciated. Teachers work much longer hours than most people realize. And if teachers ceased to exist or just stopped caring, the world as we know it would cease to function. All that is true.
I just fail to see how we as teachers can claim that our job is more important, better, worse, harder, or easier than another person’s job. Don’t we remind students that everyone is unique? That some things are hard for some people and easy for others? That we all have different things we’re good at?
Careers are not just a matter of difficulty, pay, vacation time, and prestige. They are so much more complex than that. Flower arranging might be technically easier than classroom teaching, but that doesn’t mean I could do it well. Emergency room doctors are much better paid than middle school science teachers, but not every middle school science teacher would be comfortable in the ER. Comparing careers is unfair and narrow-minded — and most of the time, it doesn’t even make sense.
I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference, I love kids, I love planning lessons, and I know that I can do this job well. I was willing to accept low pay, long hours, and no prestige. Nobody twisted my arm, and nobody said it would be easy. I chose this profession.
And I love it.
How do you feel about teachers who speak up about the negatives of their job?