Not to belabor the point but…

I wrote this as a response all the unenlightened comments on this photograph posted on the Occupy New Brunswick page on Facebook.

I’m sure he saved as much as he could (as he mentioned) but, being a teacher making crap wages, it wasn’t nearly enough. Don’t worry, though. Teachers are used to taking abuse from everyone. We’re used to being held accountable for bad grades and never thanked or appreciated for good ones. We’re used to hearing about how our jobs are “easy” and how overpaid we are because we get summer and Christmas vacations off. We’re used to being hated by students, criticized by their parents and undervalued by everyone.

We’re used to it but we do our jobs anyway.

We stand up in front of a room full of distracted kids and somehow manage to engage their increasingly elusive interest for a few minutes. We ignore the eye rolling and the clock watching and get on with our jobs.

I work as a high school English teacher in Sweden. Maybe conditions are different here but I normally start work before eight in the morning and finish after five. Working ten or twelve hour days is a frequent occurance. A minor percentage of our working day is spent actually teaching. The rest of the time we spend in meetings, marking essays and making lesson plans. The students get week-long breaks in fall, winter and spring, but I (and the rest of my colleagues) work during all of those. I get a few days off around Christmas, and I get the standard amount of time off during the summer to which all Swedish workers are entitled by the government.

Yeah, I’m stressed out and tired. I’m exhaused. But I cannot let my students down. They are the reasons I get up in the morning and go to work everyday. I do my job for them.

I’m a teacher. That’s what I do and I’ve never wanted to do anything else.

2 thoughts on “Not to belabor the point but…

  1. I wish people were more respected here in America. In Finland and Japan they are revered, adequately compensated, and considered to be of a noble profession like doctors.

  2. I don’t think it’s as bad here in Sweden as it is in the US, where teaching is generally considered to be a second class profession, and the only reason people become teachers is because they are too stupid or unmotivated to get a more important job.

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