A few days ago while on Facebook, I came across a rather intriguing post from TeachersPayTeachers. (If you are a teacher and haven’t heard of TeachersPayTeachers and want to learn about them, click this link) The post was titled “What’s the biggest misconception about being a teacher that you’d like to disprove?” As soon as I read that title, I was transported back in time to a rather infuriating experience endured while attempting to lesson plan and write reports at a coffee shop on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Here’s what happened: I was drinking my second cup of coffee and writing down some thoughts when I overheard a rather loud conversation. A very boisterous and obnoxious individual, with no concept of an indoor voice, decided to tell his coffee companion and everyone in the café what he thought about teachers by saying these words, “Those Who Can’t Do, Teach!”
Upon hearing those words I became overwhelmed with anger! I wanted to confront this ignorant statement and the man who spoke it, but did not trust my emotions. By the time I settled down and was capable of rational thought he had left. Had I been more mindful and less caffeinated, I would have invited the gentleman to sit down at my table for a little information session to help disprove his misconception regarding my profession. I would have started and perhaps ended the conversation by pointing out a glaring irony before us, which was the fact I was working on a Sunday, preparing lessons for 28 students, while he was enjoying a latte and bashing teachers. Well, enough about my recollections.
This post is dedicated to all teachers who wish to disprove misconceptions they face regarding their profession as teachers. There were over 900 responses to the question, so I couldn’t include all of them. Teachers of all grades and subjects left comments, so I picked a few that were representative of each group. I divided the comments into Preschool, Kindergarten, Subject Teachers, and general misconceptions all teachers face groupings. No names of individuals are included in this post and are not necessary. However, you might want to print out their responses in case you ever encounter a situation such as mine.
Misconceptions about teaching Preschool
“Preschool teachers are real teachers too. Many children would not be ready socially or emotionally if it wasn’t for this important season of development. I bust my toosh year round! (And love my job!).”
“Preschool is like babysitting because they are too young to learn and the preschool teachers aren’t busy, neither are the Teacher Aides.” “Lots of other staff or people think we don’t do anything or we’re not busy with anything else.”
A great deal of research has gone into the subject of early childhood education and its importance in a student’s life. Some would argue that Preschool is the most important year of school. To learn more click this link.
Misconceptions about teaching Kindergarten
“Oh, you’re a kindergarten teacher? That must be so fun, just playing with toys and coloring all day!”
“That the phrase about falling back on teaching because teachers couldn’t do anything else is ignorant and hurtful. I’m also not a fan of the fact that to some, my teaching at the Kindergarten level means I’m teaching the easiest curriculum. I chose this level because of the challenge of getting kids to form amazing feelings about themselves as learners!”
If you have never spent time in a Kindergarten and are plaining to do so, make sure you get a good night sleep before hand and eat a hearty breakfast because you will need the energy! So much is going on during the course of a morning, or full day in some cases, that it is amazing. Kindergarten teachers wear many hats. Click this link to read an article from the Houston Chronicle about the many roles of a Kindergarten teacher. This link from Harvard Magazine details how a good Kindergarten teacher can impact a students future earning potential. Kindergarten involves a lot more than just playing and coloring all day!
Misconceptions about being a Subject Teacher
“That music teachers are babysitters while the classroom teacher has planning. The mentality that just because we are a content area not subjected to standardized tests, we are less important. Music is a discipline, just like any other subject. It takes hard work to understand and master concepts in my teaching area, just like yours.”
“This is an easy question for this art teacher. Some people think elementary art teachers don’t have an education degree. We are just crafty people who work at the school, but not really teachers. Seriously??”
“That being a P.E. Teacher isn’t a joke. This isn’t your parents’ PE class and it probably is not yours either. I teach physical education, not gym!
It is a sad reality that many schools have curtailed or eliminated their Arts, Music, and Physical Education programs do to shrinking budgets and cost savings initiatives. I personally believe this is a tremendous disservice to students and has a negative impact on their cognitive and physical well-being. I am not alone in this belief. To read what others have said on this subject click here and here.
General misconceptions regarding teachers and teaching
“That you don’t do anything. That teachers have so many holidays and weekends. This is the biggest misconception and it makes me mad when people say that. I think people who say it need to go and be a teacher for a week and see what it’s really like.
“Teachers have summers off.” “Sure, teachers don’t have students, but I don’t know a single teacher who doesn’t work hard over the summer to prepare for the next year!”
“That teachers get a voice in What we teach. We really have to take what is given to us, make it interesting enough to engage 35+ students 100% of the time, and then get them to score well on a test that may or may not be tied to the curriculum we’ve taught.”
“I didn’t just decide to be a teacher because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I was Called to be a teacher. It isn’t just a time filler until I can do something else. It is embedded in every fiber of my being. I didn’t “learn” how to be a teacher. I AM a teacher.”
“Teachers do not leave their work at school! Teachers use their personal time during the week and weekends to complete grading and planning! There are MANY more misconceptions!”
“I think all “business” people (especially those pious ones on boards of education) should have to do our job or watch for half a year! They would get the picture quickly!”
“Teachers have lives, families, and friends outside of work. I love my job, but if I run into you at the grocery store, a concert, or (gasp!) a bar, I probably don’t want to talk about your kid.”
“The phrase “Those who can’t do, teach,” I hate that! Teaching is hard, hard work…but I don’t want to do anything else. I am a teacher!! I love it!! Smile emoticon.”
For those people in your life who still think teachers only work from 9am to 3pm show them this graphic from UpWorthy. Perhaps the hardest misconception to dispel because the general non-teaching public is so envious of this concept, is the widely held belief that teachers have summers off. Click this link to read a great article from edutopia.org on what really goes on during those summer months. This link, from The Atlantic also takes on the summers off debate. For those people who will still insist teachers are so lucky to have summers off because they must be having the time of their lives, check out this funny post from Buzzfeed.
Again, those were just a few responses out of nearly a thousand left on that Facebook post. I encourage you to find it on Facebook and spend some time reading through all of them and share it with other teachers or with someone you know that might have some misconceptions that need clearing up. If you have anything you wish to share regarding this post, please comment below. Remember to visit teacherspayteachers.com to learn more about what they do and how you can become a part of it. Thanks for reading and for sharing!