Teaching is hard. Teaching well is even harder.

The 1969 side describes what I endured in school.

Whenever I suggest that teaching is a difficult job, there’s always someone who says that being a teacher is nothing compared to, say, being a police officer or a firefigher or a soldier. Fair enough. Those jobs are more definitely more difficult than teaching. Though, I do find it oddly satisfying that the only examples of occupations they can think of that are more difficult than teaching are those which involve dealing with criminals and junkies, running into burning buildings, and fighting in wars.

The “1969” side pretty much describes what being a student was like for me. I remember  how awful and humiliated I felt when I had to present my parents with substandard grades. Yet, they would never dream of blaming my teachers for my poor academic performance, even if it was partially their fault. And whist it is true that today’s students are more narcissistic than they were in my day, the issue is not as black and white as the above image indicates.

Now that I am a teacher I know that teachers, parents, and students are all responsible for a student’s education and results. Getting students through school is a team effort, and each member has to do his or her part. Therefore, all the blame for poor academic performance cannot be placed solely on the teacher or the student.

Having said that however, it’s true that there are “bad” teachers out there whose jobs are protected, and who keep on working long after they’ve burnt out and should have retired. They get to keep their jobs because of seniority, and the younger teachers are often let go, even if they have union protection. The unions can’t always protect you if the school can convince them that they don’t need you anymore and can give your duties to another teacher.

This happens all the time. It has happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to colleagues, many of whom are extremely capable and popular teachers.

Whenever someone suggests to me that teachers have it too easy, I tell them that they should consider becoming a teacher. If it’s that easy and you get off work early and get all those vacations off, then what are you waiting for? It sounds fantastic, right? Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Most people, actually, because teaching is hard. Teaching well is even harder.

Words, words, glorious words! Give me all of your words!

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