Over the past many months I have learned a lot about two professions: teaching and bartending/serving. Because of who I date and who I hang around with, I have found myself spending many evenings out with people in these two lines of work. Over the next two blog posts I will detail the top five characteristics of each profession that I have gleaned from talking with and listening to the people in them. Tonight I will cover teaching, focusing primarily on elementary education.
My girlfriend is a second grade teacher in Myrtle Beach. Besides our daily conversations, I have also met several of her teacher friends. When Sidney is hanging with her co-workers and college friends who are now also teachers, I take note on what they have to say. Here are the main points I have learned about the elementary education teaching profession.
Teachers Really Care: Don’t think that teachers do what they do just to get a paycheck. They are invested in making sure that the students in their classrooms learn. They put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure the kids progress and improve. A lot of thought is put in by teachers to make sure they are utilizing the most effective methods possible to get through to every child in the classroom. Besides just the educational portion, however, teachers also care about their students outside of school as well. If they know that certain children have a rough home life, they will spend time after school hours or during the weekend thinking about them and hoping they are doing okay.
Teaching Can Be Draining: Many of us non-teachers become envious of the shorter work days and the summer vacations that teachers enjoy. But the bottom line is this: Most of them deserve it. Instructing a classroom of 25 second graders for six hours a day is hard work. You keep order, you stand on your feet all day, you solve problems, and you educate. By the end of the day, many teachers are wiped out. When you are leading a classroom, you are giving it your all every minute of the day.
Parents Are Crazy: We all hear about parents who think their children are the best, who think they can do no wrong, and who think they will eventually cure cancer. We also hear about those parents who neglect their children, who are apathetic, and who hinder their growth. Teachers deal with both types of these parents on a daily basis. For every parent that will lash out at a teacher for even implying that their child was out of line there is another parent that won’t even answer the phone or fill out a field trip permission slip. There are the good parents in the middle of these two extremes but constantly dealing with rotten apples is frustrating.
Talking Shop: Last night I was joking with Sidney that I enjoy hanging out with her teaching friends because I know I will never be the center of attention. As one who doesn’t like fielding numerous questions about myself, being in the company of educators takes the pressure off of me. When teachers are together, they will talk non-stop about their school, their classrooms, and their techniques. To them, the teacher’s lounge and the bar might as well be the exact same place. While Sidney and her friends tell teaching stories and discuss methods I just sit back and enjoy myself as I zone in and out of their conversations.
In Need of Peer Interaction: During the week when you spend most of your waking hours with children who are seven and eight years old, you start to crave time with people a little older, such as adults. I absolutely loved this Facebook status that Sidney posted:
Teachers are a critical part of society that do a very difficult and noble job. I have enjoyed receiving an inside look at the joys, struggles, and intricacies of this profession. I have a massive amount of respect for Sidney and all the other teachers out there. Don’t Blink.