Lori G. 6m 1,558 #teacher
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Who would’ve thought that being a teacher would be one of the hardest most underrated, unappreciative, and often times, underpaid jobs? Sure, I went to school for it and I am passionate about it and I definitely enjoy my job. But there are just aspects of the job that make me question a career change. And if you think teachers are overpaid, try getting up at 5 AM or 6 AM in the morning to go to work and staying at work until 7 PM at night for several days out of the week and see if you still think you are getting paid way too much. And for those who think I have summers off, I am usually teaching at a summer camp for children with special needs, taking classes on better educational methods, psychology, and other activities that will help me improve as a teacher.
There are very few teachers in schools that ever inspire students. Most of them seem like they are just there to teach and get a paycheck. Even as a teacher, I can say that because I’ve observed it. I’ve never heard any teacher say it directly, but from the behavior and the assignments of most of those teachers, and how they handle children, they just stopped caring about the children long ago and started worrying more about the money and coming up with a few things each week in order to satisfy the school system and keep the kids occupied.
I’m not perfect but I certainly have not hit that point yet. I sure as hell hope I never do. Believe me, there are times where I feel like I am being driven to the edge. I hate to ask it, but is it the parents who are responsible for not being able to control their kids? Seriously, if a child comes to school with a bad attitude and you see it, you know that child is going through something at home, or is not properly being raised, or punished. The amount of disrespect in the classroom is by far the worst it has ever been. It scares me so much that I fear for our future. The fact is, if children no longer respect their parents, no longer respect their teachers, no longer respect the Principal of the school, than it is more than likely that they have no respect for other human beings, and no respect for authority or the law. What happened to these generations of children? What is going to happen? There is no discipline. And when you go ahead and try to discipline the students, nothing is taken seriously.
The disrespect for the teacher has gotten so out of hand that I have had students talk back to me, curse at me, play foolish tricks on me, and I’ve even had a student threaten to kill me. What is a teacher to do about those statements? If someone were to come up to me and threaten my life on the street, I would report him to the police immediately. So what stops me from reporting this child to the authorities? Shouldn’t every threat be considered a real threat? What gives any student the right to threaten a teacher anyway?
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great students. But there are plenty more who cannot even put five paragraphs together to make a story. It makes me wonder about the upcoming generations and the future generations.
All children who were born in the late 80s and 90s, and after are probably the most and will be the most spoiled generations that have ever lived. There is nothing they have to work for anymore. The majority probably have no idea what a card catalog is. The calculator is obligatory, rather than the exception. Long division is a long lost concept. And cellphones, which did not exist when I was in school, are the competition for attention. If I catch a student on their cellphone during my class, I take it away and give it back at the end of class. If I can sit through a meeting without checking my phone, a student can sit through my forty minute class without checking theirs. There are exceptions, of course, such as a written note from the parent stating that their child should be available to them during my class hours. That is my only exception to the use of a cell phone in class. Otherwise, it is confiscated to my desk until the end of class.
It upsets me when I assign something, not complicated, as I try to curve my assignments so everyone can do them, yet still find them a little challenging, and I send it home with the student for homework. The next day, the student comes in my class, does not do their work, and they think that is OK. I have even called parents and mailed letters home to the parents asking that they sign their child’s homework to ensure it was done. I understand parents have their busy lives too, but if they can’t even teach their children about responsibility, it really makes me question their own parenting skills. And if I bring this up, parents get offended, and tend to always side with their child and think I was a horrible teacher, completely overlooking the initial issue. However, if I slip and simply let them get away with not doing their homework, the parents come to me and complain that I am not spending enough time educating their child. Yet, I am here at 7 AM in the morning, a half hour before school starts, and I’m here almost an hour after school ends, or even later, and I very seldom get students staying after for extra help.
Everyone wants to blame the school system for being awful. And the school system could certainly be improved, but schools are not daycare centers. They are education institutions designed for learning. Must a school hire both a teacher and a baby sitter for each and every classroom? If parents spoil their children, or have no control over their children, than who is to blame? When will parents start being parents again, taking full responsibility for their children, and teach their kids the Fourth Commandment. That is where respect and the understanding of authority begins.
I have to question how much parents care about their child’s education as well. There are some students who are absent at least once or twice a week or are pulled out of school early by their parents. Sure, there are things that have to be done during school hours – doctors appointments or whatever the case may be, but priority is that children should be in school.
My advice to parents: You are not your child’s friend. You are the parent. You can be their friend when they become an adult. Teach your children to respect you, teach your children to respect themselves and teach them to respect others. Don’t be afraid to discipline your child. They need discipline. They secretly respect the fact that you punished them, and as much as they’ll never admit it, it shows them that you care about them and they will love and respect you for it. Have some tough love towards your child. The world will be a much better place because of your actions. Your child is just a few short years away from being an adult. Is this how they are going to act as an adult? If so, they have a lot more lessons to learn, lessons that you should have taught them in order to be a successful knowledgeable functioning human being in society.
Care about your child. Care about what they do and who they are. Be involved in their lives. Ask them about their homework and show some interest in the work and hobbies of your child. See that they finish what they started, especially homework assignments and projects. In the real world, you have to do homework and you have to complete projects assigned by your boss all the time. Try not doing that and let me know how that works out for you. There is a value of school that teaches and prepares students for the real world, especially the importance of responsibility. And that involves actually showing up on time and doing your best to be present everyday.
I get that you’re busy, but set aside a half hour to an hour to just spend time talking to your child, listening to them, and helping them understand the importance of a good education.
I became a teacher because I like teaching and I like kids. I am not the enemy of you or your child. I want to educate your child so they have a chance in the world. I feel like I make a difference in their lives. I want to make a difference in their lives. I want to be that teacher they remember for the rest of their lives. I want to be that teacher who set them on a great path for them to discover their dreams and goals. And that teacher who was responsible for helping them to be successful. After all, their success is my success.