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Teachers Have a Really Hard Job

Did you know I was almost a teacher. i have my master's degree in teaching from City College in New York. I was a really good student and gaduated with a 3.7 average. I aced the "impossible" assessment course. I was going to be a teacher. Until I actually got into a classroom. My second to last semester I had to student teach in two schools. 6 weeks each. Middle of the road schools. Middle class. Urban. Diverse. Non-threatening. Nothing not to like except the sad looking bulletin boards.

But, I was so mad that student teaching was at the end of the program. if it was one of the first classes, i would've had my MBA by now. So fast I would have run far, far away from teaching and transferred.

I admit, I was pulled in by the myth of it all. After 12 years in advertising, a 200 hour work week, where you couldn't take Christmas off because your client HAD to have the Lamisil (toe fungus remover) ad before New Year , I'd get the summers off, the “teacher work days” and holidays. I'd get a teacher's lounge and a union. I'd leave work at 3-3:30 and get a lunch break. And i like kids. i enjoy teaching. it is rewarding to see a kid learn something.

Let me tell you: teaching was harder than advertising. it was harder to "sell" the concept of fractions to 4th graders than it was to sell a $45 bottle of Superbly Restorative Bee Honey and Gardenia Fine Smelling body lotion to people who can't afford it. And i was entertaining, i was fun, the kids didn't fall asleep on me.

You know hard it is to teach math when you only have 45 minutes to do it. It sounds long, but that's like 2 minutes a kid - and you need to count setting up the lesson, clean up time and breaking up the chatty cathys. And if you think teachers have a short day, think of going over your child's homework times 20 and having to write little correction notes on it. Then, everything you teach needs a lesson plan. This does not take 10 minutes to do. This does not take 20 minutes to do. You have to come up with the best way to teach fractions or precipitation, time or whatever, and write about it. Write a whole lot about it. Your objective, your methodology, what supplies you'll need and more. Take a look.

it’s an impossible job, teaching is. Underpaid, disrespected, and you have to deal with the parents, administration, and kids. You have to deal with the most powerful person in the school, the lady in charge of the copy machine. One of my mentor teachers used a duct taped paper bag containing a flask shaped bottle of liquid to be handed over along with the papers that needed to be copied.

And there are a lot of after school meetings and supplemental classes teachers need to take. They need to take a lot of Airborne as well.

- Ms. Heller, can I borrow your pencil?

- Sure.

- Achoo!

- Here is your pencil back, Ms. Heller

- You can keep it.

Its been said the investment firms pay the bankers millions so they can retain the top talent. For all the work that goes into the job, a teacher's salary is laughable. Well, what's going to happen is that the best people won't be teaching. And by best, I mean people who can read.

And can I say, in the 12 weeks I was in the classroom, i never saw a parent. Not one. Teachers are tasked with teaching children and raising them, because more and more, today’s parents seem unwilling or incapable of working on the foundations of these basic and important tasks. Not all, but many. The ones who are not reading mom blogs, most likely.

Yes, there are bad teachers just as there are bad cashiers and bad doctors. However, i don't think i ever met a teacher who was in it for the money; so give them some credit. Thank a teacher today. Go in, say hi and ask how they're doing. See how you can help. Even if you work a full-time job like I do, it can be done.