I keep seeing all of these memes about parents finally realizing that a teacher’s job is hard and we should be paid more and yada yada yada. First, duh! But second, I could also say the same about anyone’s job that I am not qualified to do. Why? Because I am intelligent enough to know that my doctor, mechanic, electrician, even the guy who comes and cleans my grease traps are professional people who were trained in their line of work.
People, I was trained to be a teacher. Your kid’s math teacher has a DEGREE in teaching. And probably one in math as well. We get days of PROFESSIONAL development when something like common core gets implemented by non-educator politicians who think they are doing something positive for children. I took an entire class about classroom management. I had an entire unit on how to inform parents their kid is not progressing and answer emails about student behaviour. And I have almost 10 years of experience teaching the same type of student over and over. Your little Timmy is not a unique precious gem. He is the same little type of snotty kid that I had two years ago. Parents always talk about how they were much more prepared and tranquil about parenting for child number two. Think of teachers as having child number two year after year. And as the years go by, there are less and less surprises. A kid decided to pull down his pants in class. Wow, shocking. Guess what…same fucking thing happened four years later. And the second time, we didn’t even need a principal. That shit was taken care of in the classroom like a champion.
Look, teachers know your kid is dumb or smart. We know that your kid is having a tough time at home. We know that your kid needs to get up and bounce around because he cannot sit still for 90 minutes. We know that your kid is bothered by her acne and doesn’t want to speak up in class because of it. We know that when he starts to pull on his hair, he is frustrated that he isn’t getting the material. We know that she is going to smile and nod just to get you to focus on someone else. Why? Because again, we were trained to do this.
Then I see other people complaining about how much work their kids have or how hard the material is for their kid. Yes, learning is hard which is why we have trained PROFESSIONAL teachers. First of all, we are all new to this virtual game. Teachers are trying to figure out what is working and not so chill out for six seconds. We are used to immediate classroom input. I know instantly when I have to change a lesson in a classroom. I don’t get that feedback through a computer screen. Second, the book is hard for you, parent, because chances are you probably have not read a book since high school nor do you have a degree on how to analyse and teach literature. When you read, you read for plot, character, setting. I read for literary devices, sentence structures, and author’s purpose. Oh, and I am teaching your kid to do the same because, say it with me, I am a trained professional. Now we are on the right track.
So before posting another meme or prayer or Facebook post about how hard teachers’ jobs are and how supportive you are toward the teachers of the world, I ask that you please consider our jobs challenging and professional when their ISN’T a virus that is forcing you to stay home with a child whom you apparently don’t really like nor want to spend time with. Which brings me to another fact. Parenting. I was also trained to sit in a conference with you and tell you that your child is a little dip-shit in class. Only I was trained not to use dip-shit but to use the words “challenging,” “rambunctious,” “excessively creative.” And I was trained to sit and smile while you playfully chastise your child knowing full well there will be no consequence because your little love muffin is 16 years old and we are still having this conversation about impulse control. And I was trained to take your rants and abuse because after all, you know more than me even though I am probably the only one – well one of five other teachers she has that holds her accountable for her actions and words. In fact, on a daily basis I am mom, dad, counselor, priest, bff, fun auntie, sweet grandma, nurse, oh and teacher. But isn’t it funny how I don’t post on social media how much I think your job is under appreciated. Because I am NOT a parent and therefore have no place under or over appreciating you.
And unlike a lot of the parents I am seeing lately, I actually like my job. Sure there are some “Lord give me strength” moments and “I may kill you today” days. Sure, I want to bop some of them over the head and definitely have to participate in a regular happy hour Friday. And yes, I only get them for 90 minutes a day and gladly send them back home to you for the really challenging parts. Nevertheless, I actually like what I do and get excited to go to work in the morning. You apparently get told that you have to spend more time with your own child and panic, rant, and turn to social media so that now everyone can see that you really don’t like to be a parent. I find it incredibly sad that society finds it funny to have parents complaining about being parents. I hate to rely on nostalgia but I guarantee had this happened in the sixties, my grandparents would have shrugged their shoulders and sent the kids outside to play in the backyard. And I guarantee that my parents and their siblings never got to the point that they were driving their parents crazy because there would have been consequences. And I also guarantee that every teacher your child has can smell out the students whose parents are letting the kids run the house because it takes twice as long to train those little mutts than the other ones. But train them, we do. Because, you’ve got it now, we are trained professionals.
So, before you post another meme or record another fake prayer for the lord to save you from your own children or post another Facebook post about how my job is so hard and why sitting for hours a day with your own child is driving you to homicidal thoughts, please think about how this might suggest that you thought teaching was glorified babysitting before you were quarantined. And then ask yourself – when this is all over, will you help us fight for our profession or will you just be that sideline supporter who tells everyone at the party how you had to be your child’s teacher for a hot minute and now have a greater appreciation for the profession without actually lifting a finger to do anything about it. Because I will say that you ranting parents at least got something right – teachers are definitely underpaid and overworked professionals who deal with your nightmare children and poor parenting every single day.