Why Do People Think it is so easy to be a teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by MrsV, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. MrsV

    MrsV Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2007

    I was watching an old episode of The Cosby Show the other day and one of Cliff's (Bill's) daughters up and decides she wants to be a teacher, teaching children with special needs no less.

    This woman has it in her mind that you do not need an education to be a teacher. She thinks she can just do an internship or sorts and become a teacher. People keep telling her all along the way that she needs to go back to college, but she ignores everyone. She even approaches her step daughter's teacher and asks to work with him. The first question he asks is, "Do you have a degree?" It takes his rejection along with role playing from a teacher friend to convince her that she indeed needs to go to college.

    Now I am not saying that people don't think you need a degree to be a teacher these days, but I have run into quite a few individuals who seem to believe that teaching is so easy! At my college at least, people think education is an easy degree to obtain. They go through the classes and when it comes to student teaching, they are completely lost. They get the degree and either go into a different field or teach for a year and then go back to school for something else.

    I recently had a friend who said I got an easy degree and that is why he is still in school to be an engineer. I told him my classes might have been easy, but my job is pretty hard!
     
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  3. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    In my degree program we were in the classroom at least once a week each semster. As freshman we observed and worked with a cooperating teacher. From there we took methods classes that part of the requirement was to be in a classroom for a minimum of 1 hour a week, by the end of the 8 weeks we were expected to teach week long for that class i.e. we'd go in during math and by the end of the 8 weeks we'd teach math for a week. We did that for every class we took. Each methods class had us doing 2 8 week sessions, one for lower el & the other upper el. By the time we student taught we were well prepared.

    I remember listening to students from other programs who were student teaching saying that they hated teaching. Come to find out they hadn't been in the classroom at all until student teaching.

    I also think we need to let people know all of the work that teaching actually involves. It's not 8-3 or whatever the school hours are.
     
  4. mincc

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    When I was a TA, a non-teaching staff member remarked at how easy teaching is. I asked him why he thought that and he pointed at two of the classrooms. I saw his point-those teachers did NOTHING all day, except watch videos and play games. Occasionally, they would hand out a simple ditto and that was that. I think what happens is people see bad/lazy teachers and they base their perceptions on that, sadly. Also, people see teachers getting summers off/think they come home early every day. It is a misconception that teachers work much less than those in other fields. When my professor asked our class why they wanted to teach, many said they wanted summers off and to be home early. He was not happy and told them if they thought that they should leave NOW! :cool:
     
  5. TeacherGrl7

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    When I was in school we were required to be in the classroom every semester from sophomore year on. We spent 3 mornings a week in the 6 different classrooms for our entire junior year. Senior year I student taught for 24 weeks and took 5 classes each semester. It wasn't easy!! But I also graduated with 4 certifications and can teach general ed or special ed from birth right up to 6th grade. So I was required to do more.

    At any rate, I think a main reason why people think teaching is so easy is because everyone has had teachers. When you're a student, you think your teachers are in school for the same time as you and that's it. There's no perception of what goes on behind the scenes when you aren't around. A lot of people grow up with that thought engrained into their minds and it just never leaves. I hate it, I think it takes a lot away from those of us that put in so much time and effort in our work and then are degraded for it at every turn. Very disheartening. You have to focus on your kids instead of the adults outside your profession, or you'll go crazy!
     
  6. chicagoturtle

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  7. Amers

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    Jun 26, 2007

    My dad likes to torment me and talk about how easy teaching is. He says I'll work short days, and I won't work in the summer. It makes me so mad!! I think he just gives me grief now to get a rise out of me, but I still hate hearing that kind of thing from my own family!
     
  8. Amers

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  9. Mldouglas

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    I think that people thing teaching is so easy because they have never done it and all they know is that we get summers off. I am still substituting but I still defend our profession and the teachers I know who have classrooms. I know about the struggles they face with increasing class sizes and declining budgets. Not to mention the hundreds of dollars teachers take out of their pockets to make sure their students have the materials they need. I would love to put one of these people in a classroom for a week and see how they would feel afterwards.

    Mldouglas
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Everyone knows what it's like to be a student; they assume they know what it's like to teach.

    To re-cycle my favorite analogy: that's like me saying I know what it's like to be an OB-GYN because I've had kids. The experience was shared, but the perspective was very different.
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Any teacher who tinks it is easy to be a teacher--is not a good teacher.
     
  12. hawkteacher

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    Nothing gets me riled up faster than the notion that teachers somehow have an easy job.

    As teachers, we all know that we have an incredibly demanding job and get very little respect or monetary compensation for the work that we do. Yet, we teach anyways. We teach because we love what we do and know that we do is incredibly important.

    Everyone is familiar with school and teachers since everyone was a student at some point. People think that the only thing teachers do is what they saw as a student. They think that the only hours we work are the hours in which students are in our classroom. As soon as the students are gone for the day or the summer, our work as teachers is over!

    In reality, so much of the work a teacher does is what happens when students aren't around. I don't really know how to change the perception of teaching as an easy profession. Until the public sees everything that we do, there's no chance to change their opinions.

    I would love for Oprah to have a teacher appreciation show someday. I would love to see the cameras follow several different teachers around through their lives for just one day, to show exactly what we do. Maybe then, some people might start to think differently.
     
  13. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Oprah can come follow me for a day!
     
  14. MrsV

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    I know Oprah did a little teacher appreciation thing one day because she only invited teachers to her coveted "My Favorite Things" show around Christmas time and they all got freebies of her favorite things (nothing education related though).

    But it would be cool to have a teacher appreciation show. She should follow us around for one day!
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I couldn't have said it better myself!
     
  16. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    That's funny!!!!! And SO true,particularly because my OB-GYN is male!!!:p
     
  17. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    That's funny... I always thought Mike Rowe should do a "Dirty Jobs" episode in a first grade classroom!
     
  18. knittingbec

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    A friend of mine was tired of her business-related job and was looking into a teacher-education program. She asked me to write her a recommendation letter to the program and practically immediately after I said "sure", she said, "I just can't stand working anymore. I want to be a teacher so I can come home at a decent hour and not go to work all summer". Ugggh... needless to say, I kept "postponing" writing her letter until her interest in becoming a teacher faded.
     
  19. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    My thoughts exactly. I was just thinking this today wondering if I needed to write her a letter.......
     
  20. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I did. Not sure if he read it...
     
  21. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Actually I remember an Oprah where she gave the teacher a spa day and went into the classroom. Young kids no less-- it was hysterical, they were all crying, the class pet got loose, paint was everywhere. She did talk about how it takes special people to do it. (She worked a McDonald's drive-through too).

    Amers - I get the same thing from my father. Try teaching Kindergarten! Whenever I complain about my job I get a comment like "how hard is it to teach a bunch of kids colors and shapes"? I get so outraged - I teach kids to read, to write, to add/subtract, to think, thank you very much!

    And about the 9 month work schedule- I once had a professor who said--we may show up at the school for 9 months out of the year, but we work the equivalent of 12 months with all the extra time put in. I've never had a summer off, I teach summer school in June and then for example, this July I have 3 professional development sessions to go too. We go back the second week in August.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    When I was in grad school I had a friend who always said stuff about how if she couldn't find a job as a professor in our field, she'd "just get any job teaching high school."

    To tell the truth, it always hurt my feelings a little because I felt like she was invalidating or minimizing all the work I was putting into being a teacher. It seemed to me like she was saying that being a teacher would be her fall-back because a monkey could do it.

    Bah.
     
  23. knittingbec

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    Yeah! I can honestly say that in the 12 days I've been on summer break I've done something school-related (planning, filing, professional reading) every day but 1 (and that was the day my husband came back from a 4-month deployment!)
     
  24. knittingbec

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    Oh, and this thread made me think of this... It was e-mailed to me some time ago, but I really liked it and saved it on my computer:

    Subject: For those of you who think teaching is easy/and for those of
    you who know it's not


    New Survivor Show

    Have you heard about the next planned "Survivor" show?

    Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped into 3 elementary school classrooms for 6 weeks.

    Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school
    district's curriculum, and a class of 28 students.

    Each class will have five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English.

    Three will be labeled with severe behavior problems..

    Each business person must complete lesson plans at least 3 days in
    advance with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify,
    organize, or create materials accordingly.

    They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences.

    They must also supervise recess and monitor the hallways. In addition, they will complete drills for fire, tornadoes, and shooting attacks.

    They must attend 100 hours of workshops, faculty meetings, union
    meetings, and curriculum development meetings.

    They must also tutor those students who are behind and strive to get their 2 non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the AIMS/TERRA NOVA tests. If they are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show. Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into their program.

    They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times.

    The business people will only have access to the golf course on the
    weekends, but on their new salary they will not be able to afford it
    anyway.

    There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch, and lunch will be limited to 30 minutes. On days when they do not have recess duty, the business people will be permitted to use the staff restroom as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class.

    They will be provided with two, 40-minute planning periods per week while their students are at activity classes. If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials at this time.

    The business people must continually advance their own education on their own time, and pay for this advanced training themselves. This can be accomplished by moonlighting at a second job or marrying someone with money.

    The winner will be allowed to return to his or her former job.
     
  25. TeacherGrl7

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    I HATE THIS!! I have a few friends who have gone to college for other things, like nursing or social work. When they have a hard time finding a job or they end up not liking what they went to school for, they keep saying, "Oh, well I think I'll teach." I'm sorry, but I am a firm believer that teaching isn't a job, it's a calling. If you are simply using it as a back up career because your first plan didn't work out, it's not your calling. You can't be the best teacher without that. Decent, maybe, but definitely not the best. There are too many things about teaching that are instinctual, that no college classroom can teach. People that do that infuriate me because it is often so blatantly obvious that they think teaching is the easy way out. It's people like that who cause our profession to be so disrespected in the public eye. Grr!

    Okay I'm done, I feel better. ;) And Knitting, I love that email!!!
     
  26. teachingmomof4

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    My neighbor, who is a police officer, says this as well. It makes me so angry. I think next year, when we go on a field trip to the zoo, I'm signing him up. Then we'll see if it's "easy." :D
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Or in a class of grade 7 and 8 boys after recess on a hot day!
     
  28. knitter63

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    I used to hear it from my own husband and our best friend. They would tease me to no end about how easy it is, I have so much vacation time. One weekend, on a Saturday night, no less, I was grading a stack of papers. Once again the comment came up and I stood up, threw my papers and pen at them, and said if you think it is so easy, you grade these. Have fun trying to decipher the handwriting!!!!! They got the hint. Neither one of them have said a thing,and my husband has stopped asking me to do all this running around on my vacation time. As far as Oprah-I say, bring it on!!! and another possiblity for Mike Rowe...5th grade classroom, on the south side of the building, right after gym on a hot day....and the kids haven't washed their gym uniforms!
     
  29. ratsfan

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    Teaching IS a hard job...but let's face it, it's not rocket science!
     
  30. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Thank you........you said exactly what I was thinking!;)
     
  31. MissFrizzle

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    Teaching is a hard job, and although it may not be "rocket science"... a good teacher will go that extra step and over plan and prepare. It's not fair to our students to simply cover the tip of the iceberg. That's why it's so important to really teach kids how things are relevant in their lives.

    Any professional who takes their job seriously will give it their all. Teachers do have fabulous schedules...... so why shouldn't we put in some extra time here and there? Aren't we getting paid to teach? We can only do that if we continuously learn.
     
  32. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Frizz you are right. And the same can be said for ANY field. If you want to be successful, you will take the extra step and go above and beyond. That is what people do who want to be successful in any field they are in. :) I think teaching is a great occupation to be in when you are raising a family. I am lucky I DO get my summers "off" so to speak. That is part of the reason I chose to teach. I knew I wanted to be home with my children. This is part of the reason I switched majors. I would have NEVER had a schedule like I have now should I have stayed in the music field.
     
  33. MissFrizzle

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    honestly, it's all a matter of perspective.... those who aren't teachers only see and hear about the summers off, etc. They don't know the day to day happenings in a classroom. Just as I don't know their job.
     
  34. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I'd much rather be on a field trip at the zoo then be in the line of fire on a daily basis. Police officers have a very intense job that I could NEVER handle.
     
  35. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    I have read the book you are talking about...its a good read and worth taking a look at!
     
  36. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    It's the vacation time we get. I always tell people that if I didn't have that vacation time, I wouldn't survive. Teaching isn't necessarily hard, but emotionally exhausting. I think that is why teaching is so difficult.

    My mother works with computers and that sounds difficult to me. My father is a pipe fiter and that too sounds difficult. I think it's all in what we know about the position or field.
     
  37. OtterMom

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    Teaching is my second career (or third, if you count being a SAHM), and I want to say that NOTHING I have ever done is as physically exhausting as teaching kindergarten. But - it is incredibly rewarding! I LOVE IT, and I can't imagine doing anything else. :)
     
  38. MrsPatten

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    Haha! I'd LOVE to see that! Somebody ought to suggest that to the folks at the Discovery Channel! And make sure he comes during cold and flu season!
     
  39. MissScrimmage

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    I get SO annoyed when people think I have it easy, working on an Ed degree! I am frequently told I "don't go to real school" because my assingments aren't typical essays, tests, etc.

    Sure, "anyone can teach"... but the key is to do it WELL. I don't want to be mediocre. I want to be a GREAT teacher and that involves A LOT of hard work and dedication.
     
  40. Murphy1966

    Murphy1966 Rookie

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    My neighbor likes to remind me (often) that I work great hours and get summer "off". I'd like to remind her that I spend 6.5 hours a day with children who have disabilities and 4 hours a day preparing to be with them. I'm not "off the clock" at the grocery store, the post office or at the gym. Parents see me as a teacher no matter where they see me. I just want to tell people: "Yes, it's easier than being on the SWAT team, but show some respect people. It's not like I'm coloring and reading children's books all day either." I'd challenge anyone who hasn't taught to spend a week in my SPED classroom and talk about how easy I have it.
     
  41. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    I've encountered several people who thought that the only thing teachers do is right on the board. I've also met a few who think that teacher's DO NOT have college degrees.
     

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