Why Teaching Is So Doggone Hard - JennieGScott.com
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Why Teaching Is So Doggone Hard

It’s almost here, fellow teachers. 
Like it or not, we will wake up Monday morning much earlier than our summer sleep schedules are accustomed to, and we will walk back into the buildings we simultaneously love and fear. The newly waxed floors will look foreign without any tossed away papers and all used-up pencils, and the bare bulletin boards will mock us as we remember the cute ideas we saw on Pinterest.
We will make multiple trips from the car to our rooms, carrying bags filled with the magic we are convinced will make this year the best. We will stand surveying our rooms, hands on hips, as we envision a space that inspires and welcomes.
The plans will have to wait, though, as we sit through multiple meetings where we team-build and common-core learn and technology policy question… And don’t forget lunch-plans make, as this is the week – the only week – where we are allowed to leave for the sacred lunch.
Our non-teacher friends will roll eyes as we mention ‘heading back to work,’ and they will make snide comments about us having the whole summer off. We will roll eyes back as we mutter, “You just don’t get it.” And, bless their hearts, they don’t.
They don’t get that being a teacher – a good teacher – is like being a performer onstage for eight hours a day, five days a week who has also had to write the script, create the scenery, memorize each role, and research the backstory. 
It means dealing with hecklers in the crowd whom security cannot remove and then being responsible for said hecklers mastering the nuances of the play she is performing. It means changing the script in the middle of the performance because audience members are nodding off, and doing so with zero funds because she spent her allocation stocking up on Kleenex and hand sanitizer.
It means not being able to go to the bathroom when she needs to, but racing to beat the other teachers before the tardy bell rings. 
It means having her performance observed and critiqued by those who only see just a part, and receiving blame if the audience doesn’t rush to join her onstage.
It means so much more than any non-teacher can understand.
It means feeling like you have more children than you actually delivered, crying at their troubles and celebrating their victories. It means noticing the child who has no brand new supplies and no way of getting what the list requires. 
It means sinking into your chair as the final bell rings, asking yourself if you can make it another day. It means arriving earlier the next morning to ensure that you can.
Being a teacher is hard. But it’s good.
Do me a favor, ok? If you’re not a teacher and you see one in the next few days wearing a look of panic – tell her thank you. Tell her thanks for cramming 365 days worth of knowledge into 180 (fewer if you count the interruptions and standardized tests). Say thank you for her being “on” every day when she steps in front of your child, leaving her own exhaustion, troubles, and worries at home. Let her know you appreciate the fact that she cannot just leave her work at work, but brings it (and thoughts of your child) home with her.

I guarantee she doesn’t hear ‘thanks’ nearly enough. You might even make her cry. 
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No Comments
  • Christy Lee
    Posted at 02:31h, 15 August Reply

    Thank you for this!!! You made me cry!

  • Brenda Baldridge
    Posted at 04:16h, 15 August Reply

    Thanks for writing the blog. I've lived the life of a teacher for 31 years. It is true; it is genuine.
    Thank you for being a teacher.

  • Natalya Kvashnina
    Posted at 05:08h, 15 August Reply

    Just the words teachers need in the mid August!!!!!!! Inspiring and motivating to go on and improve.Thank you so much!

  • ZP Pierce
    Posted at 05:25h, 15 August Reply

    that is sooo funny. You said I dropped the "f-bomb" in Spanish. That doesn't make sense. The term "f-bomb" refers to a specific vulgarity that starts with an 'f' and ends with a 'c'…that doesn't follow-non, it's a Non sequitur. But yes, I used a Spanish term that implies that word, but is not even close to it. Good Spanish skills….ZP

  • Healing Aloe Products
    Posted at 06:00h, 15 August Reply

    Teaching is the least formatted, least predictable, least controllable situation a human can put themselves in. The bravery of us all to take it on daily astounds me even as we do it. There was a time, maybe 50 years ago, when there was similarity to the students in one class, or one school or one district. That time is gone, as technology makes the world, even the geographic world, a smaller place. Being a student does not help one understand being the teacher, neither does being a parent or being an observer such as aide, principal, or a member of any other group of workers. We make it look doable as that is our way. Create order, progress and goodness in a world devoid of all, do it with a smile, without complaint and do it as politely as possible. We do it admirably and are denigrated for being successful. We are by nature hopeful, optimistic, ambitious and tenacious. We are, by our experience in schools,saddened, frustrated, disappointed, exhausted and yet, still tenacious. Despite the vileness thrown our way, we still try, try, try to create good for those children who are given us by chance and stay with our hearts by choice. We see the progress not by a score, but by an effort made where none was seen before. Progress is there when the child sees he/she has power over learning and is not stopped by so called intelligence limits, environmental limits, or any of those forces that are OUTSIDE the child. This brings you back, the tiny bits of progress that create a person in charge of their own learning, their own life, their own future. It is a powerful thing, this becoming one's best self. You know, even as you give all you have to these other parents' children, that most of the work you do will result in successes you will not be there to see, a future far from now. But still, tenacious in the world of creating what is good, we keep on. Again.

  • Stash Pawlinski
    Posted at 13:46h, 15 August Reply

    Zach, You are clueless.

    To the dedicated teachers across the country, keep doing your best.
    In a 37 year career, I dealt with many "Zachs" and taxpayers association members whose ONLY agenda was to spend as little as possible.

    The Zachs of the world come and go……we educators continue to prepare our kids for success in a difficult world economic environment.
    May God bless all of you.

  • Stash Pawlinski
    Posted at 13:56h, 15 August Reply

    Zach, You are clueless.

    To the dedicated teachers, keep doing your best.
    In a 37 year career. I dealt with many "Zachs" and taxpayers association members whose ONLY agenda was to spend as little as possible.

  • ZuskasMama
    Posted at 14:07h, 15 August Reply

    Thank you jennibell. A beautiful and spot-on response!

  • ZuskasMama
    Posted at 14:43h, 15 August Reply

    Beautifully written and so true for so many teachers. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Joe DeMeis
    Posted at 15:41h, 15 August Reply

    Teaching is tough and does not receive the praise it deserves. All need to stick together to promote positive school morale, building-wise and district-wise-MakingASchoolSmile.com

  • catstimesten
    Posted at 22:08h, 15 August Reply

    I just have to say. This Zach dude is a real douche. You can have a differing opinion all day long, but there is a respectful way of expressing it and he by no means did that. Additionally, I don't understand why someone would take the time to comment on a teacher's blog, over and over and OVER again with poor grammar, diction and increasingly inflammatory remarks.

    We get is Zach, you think teachers are a bunch of whiners. Clearly no first-hand account will change your mind. Now stop being a jerk (who btw apparently has an incredible amount of time to reply to a good number of posts) and know when your point has been made and shut up about it already!

    a teacher who is sick and tired of reading rude comments from the ULTIMATE whiner, Zach.

  • Katy
    Posted at 22:51h, 15 August Reply

    Thank you! That is so well said. People really don't get it. This is my first summer in my 10 years of teaching and truly since I was 15, of "not" working. I had a daughter in November and am beyond thankful to have the opportunity to take care of her these months. But there is something that irks me when people say " oh you don't work during the summer". Yes I do, I take credits, I read books on new practices, I read 5th grade books so that I can better understand what my students are reading and so I can introduce new books to them, I am on Pinterest and teaching blogs looking for new ideas, I am buying more books for my classroom and little knick-knacks to make my room feel like home. I may not have a 9-to-5 in a office but I do work in the summer to make a better school year for the 25 new kiddos that enter my room every September.

  • Mrs.B
    Posted at 00:18h, 16 August Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • PGolden
    Posted at 02:05h, 16 August Reply

    Zach, you really are misinformed. It is hard to believe that you are as educated as you claim to be considering your lack of knowledge about the topic you have chosen to critique. I worked in the insurance industry before becoming a teacher, and my husband works for a global corporation. My hours spent working as an educator are much longer and much harder than in those professions. Has one of your customers ever burned your car in your driveway at 2:00 a.m. because you asked him to refrain from telling the class (every minute as the clock changed) how long it would be before Lil Wayne was getting out of jail? I have. Did you return to work and have to smile at said arsonist when he asked if you smelled smoke in the classroom? I have. Don't tell me how easy teachers have it, because you just don't have a clue. Also,my school day is 7.5 hours of on duty time. Since I have to supervise kids during break and lunch, unlike people in other professions (who get at least a half hour lunch), I think my day is in line with yours. However, I would bet that you don't have to supervise ballgames, proms, dances, graduations, and other activities for no pay as I do. Also, the next time you get paid for being off on Labor Day, remember that I am not getting paid for my day off. Unlike you, I don't get one single day of paid vacation time. I only receive nine sick days per year, and zero paid holidays. I am only paid for 187 days per year. I do not get paid for the required summer training and workshops I attend, nor do I get paid overtime when I have to work late. My husband gets five paid weeks of vacation per year and seven paid holidays, plus pay for overtime. You seem bitter and spiteful, and I am sorry for you. You seriously need to do some research before you judge the teaching profession.

  • retired teacher
    Posted at 02:22h, 16 August Reply

    Ahhh, I remember why I retired in May, 2013. Thank you all!

  • Tanya
    Posted at 13:42h, 16 August Reply

    I truly identify with this entry and appreciate the way its been said. I can forgive the gender bias (which I'm sure we all noticed) and will even give a benefit of doubt that the author maintained a single gender and pronoun because "he or she" can be clunky and tedious, and subbing plural pronouns for neutrality can be awkward stylistically.

    As for the massive train of comments, many in retaliation to Zach, I think its a waste of energy! He clearly isn't interested in having his perspective broadened. He's one guy and though his comments make me very sad, and I really understand the feelings of indignation, but none of us stand a chance to change his mind. From where he's sitting, he might even feel that all this confirms his perspective! So while I absolutely understand the impulse to enlighten him, but that's hopeless and we've ALL got better things to do!

    "You gotta know when to fold 'em," friends!

  • HighTenor
    Posted at 15:41h, 16 August Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • HighTenor
    Posted at 15:42h, 16 August Reply

    I am an Early Childhood Education student who attends GCU (Grand Canyon University). I am very thankful to you Mrs. Scott for sharing your thoughts. I am reminded of the stories that I heard from my teachers when I was in grade school which make me more appreciative of them still today.

    Thank you.

    S. A. Mungin

  • Liz Hernandez
    Posted at 03:20h, 18 August Reply

    And with this excellent and accurate essay, you CONTINUE teaching!!! Thank you!

  • Drama Queen
    Posted at 06:04h, 18 August Reply

    It has been a blessed interruption to the preparation for work on Monday to read all the comments trying to straighten out Zach, who regrettably, is probably not even reading them, but are encouraging and driving me on. I run a theatre program, this year producing 8 shows, on a budget of $500, and am only allowed to teach 2 classes of theatre arts (beginning 50 kids and advanced 25). I get to teach common core sophomore English in my theatre this year (the district disposed of the portable classrooms, and displaced 11 teachers), and there is no curriculum we are allowed to use (yes, available, but the district wants us to reinvent the wheel), so it will go along with the no desks and no tables. I am calling it a minimalist English experience. Because that is what we do. We spend summers at the school and in trainings, only receiving pay because we opt for 12 paychecks instead of 10, taking all the changes in stride, suck it up and make every year new and up-to-date and fantastic for the ego-driven high school students who are not really concerned with learning as much as their i-pods or who is at the dance that evening, or the fact that they are homeless, or hungry or there is a gang-fight scheduled that evening after school. You see, my kids don't all speak English, they don't all learn at the same rate/level, they don't all have parents that care if they even show up at school, much less excel. I have kids who live in cars, dodge bullets, crossed the border this summer, live in drug houses, are dentist's kids, doctor's kids, have learning and physical disabilities, can read, can't read – all in the same class. I spend roughly $2000 out of pocket on my drama program, because out of the 60 kids involved last year, I had 3 parents who came to see the shows. Oh, and I have 2 high schoolers of my own and a husband and I commute and hour each way to work. But this is what I do. To be able to listen to anyone appreciate it and understand, is wonderful. Life is too short to listen to the morons who tell me I am overpaid (no raise in 8 years, but my health insurance tripled), and don't work enough. Spend a day with 45 high schoolers, no, not all the good ones, a vast majority of various high schoolers, and tell me how much you would have to be paid to spend 180 days with them, and actually teach them, and be held accountable for their learning. Just saying.

  • Drama Queen
    Posted at 06:10h, 18 August Reply

    You are a glorified thinker. Educate yourself.

  • Drama Queen
    Posted at 06:19h, 18 August Reply

    Ok, guys, I love our male teachers, and we encourage them more than the rest, because our boys (all ages) need good role models. So, bring your friends and brothers, and jump into the pool. We welcome you and thank you, also, for your service!

  • darylsmom
    Posted at 10:27h, 18 August Reply

    Dear Zach and the other clueless people,

    Please go jump off a bridge. The world would be better off without folks like you who are so stupid. WE really need less stupid people. Please do not have children and keep this line of genetics going.

    I cannot even think of anything to answer. People like you and the others who complain about teachers obviously do NOT volunteer in the schools. You haven never substituted in the schools. Therefore, you have no idea what a real teacher does or what her day looks like.

  • Bobbi Moccia
    Posted at 14:26h, 18 August Reply

    I am happy to have such caring teachers as the ones who replied above and are teaching my children….thank you all. Oh and Zach, get a better life and look within yourself. Because, it appears you are a very angry man and should find more positive ways to display your articulate words. You might even live longer….and gain a better understanding…. then this teacher who was once a nurse can hear you say…I was wrong.

  • DeLois
    Posted at 00:07h, 19 August Reply

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments on this blog. I wish each and every one of you a great school year, or just a great year no matter what your profession happens to be. I only came across this blog because a former student had sent this to her FB page and at first, I had only read the first entry the creator of the blog had posted. Then, I got so interested in all the comments made after, especially, Zack's post, that I have read almost all of them. Two weeks ago, I started my forty-second year of teaching. I haven't taught a single lesson more than once any one of the years I have been teaching. Actually, I have taught almost every single one of the grades. I started teaching first grade when I started, and I am currently teaching Adult High School. Most of my summers were spent in work-shops, meetings, and graduate school. I have three degrees including Administration certification. I still go in early and stay late and I can't think of any profession that I would enjoy more than teaching. I am sad that most of the "great teachers" tell me they do not want their children to do this job. Not because of the teachers, administrators, or even the parents. It is because of the never-ending paper-work that has been increased every year I have taught. It is also because we are sometimes told to teach a certain way that we know may not be as effective as something we already have done or would do. Something to think about–teaching is tiring, frustrating, and sometimes a thankless job, but do it anyway! I am at the time of my career where I see the "fruit of my labor," and it only gives me the courage to give the best I can to the students I have. My husband, (a CPA) says he can't retire because he has to support my teaching habit. He may not be a teacher, but both of his deceased parents were and for that, I am very thankful that he understands when I put my work ahead of our personal lives on numerous occasions. Good luck! I would have loved to teach with many of you–perhaps I did!

  • Laura Leboeuf
    Posted at 11:25h, 19 August Reply

    Well, your blog has certainly gone from being a simple expression of what we go through (mind you, only a very simplistic version) and turned into a soap box. I teach grade 5/6 and love every minute. I know the joy of teaching but I also know the hardships. The days when you have to call youth protection, giving up your lunch for a child, cleaning them up because they haven't washed for a few days, dealing with irate parents and having them escorted out of the classroom, threatening notes, lice infested, no snow pants, no proper boots, meeting after a long day with the kids, I'm had kids dealing drugs and taking them, kids cutting themselves, anorexia, bulimia, sexual abuse, etc… the list goes on. Our jobs are not just teaching. We do not only work 180 days a year. I do professional development all summer long because I always want to be a better teacher.



  • Nancy Nucci
    Posted at 23:40h, 19 August Reply

    Zach, this is what she means by not getting it darlin'.

  • Leah MG Abatiell
    Posted at 00:16h, 20 August Reply


  • Brian Tata
    Posted at 02:38h, 21 August Reply

    First, thank you for the spot on article. Second, "He" could have and should have been alternated in with "She". Third, no one else really ever gets it except new teachers after two or three years! Fourth, don't wish away time; enjoy every day and have a great school year!

  • Teaching Special Kiddos
    Posted at 23:49h, 21 August Reply

    Thank you so much for your blog post! I am a first year special education teacher and I have been in staff development and professional development since the end of July. I work every night when I get home from work on things for my classroom. I am also starting a graduate program of study while teaching. The amount of data and paperwork required of sped teachers is astronomical. I live in Texas and most of my students take the alternative standardized test which we are required to create the materials for and then administer to each of our students. I have already accumulated 50 hours of outside professional development and I am registered for 10 more hours. Those 60 hours are not contract hours. I do it willingly because I love my students. I respect all professions equally. I wish others would do the same. No where in this blog post did the blog author say that our profession was harder or that we deserve more respect. She simply asked that you tell a panic driven teacher "thank you".

  • marymeredith
    Posted at 16:51h, 22 August Reply

    Dear ZP,
    Trolling does not change reality. I can only suggest you do some in person research. "Shadow" a teacher for a week or two, without prejudgement. You might learn what teaching is really like. You might learn kindness.

  • JenandAsh
    Posted at 19:34h, 22 August Reply

    You're right, lots of non-teachers "just don't get it". But you know what? That's the case with a lot of jobs.

    I'm a social worker who has chosen to work in the child welfare field. And people just "don't get it". Maybe it's because I work with children and situations that people would rather pretend just don't exist, and the idea of having to explain to a child that they are never going home is too much. Or maybe it's the idea of explaining to a kid why their mother or father hasn't shown up for a visit again that is too much to think about. Or the meetings, the court dates, the assessments, the transporting, the hanging out in dirty over-filled homes, or the progress notes. Maybe it's because even when I have a day off, if I'm on vacation, or even if it's the weekend, and one of the specific children I work with is in crisis, I still need to be there to answer the call.

    I make less than the teachers in my area. So be it, I made a choice. I've never received any kind of public thanks or acknowledgement. Again, so be it, I made a choice. I wouldn't change a thing, I love my job. I'm not looking for a pat on the back.

    Getting summers off IS a privilege, getting every federal holiday off is a privilege. I think sometimes teachers forget, that although they work hard and don't get enough thanks, they aren't the only ones out there doing tough work.

  • Pamela Kranz
    Posted at 20:34h, 22 August Reply

    I'm pretty sure teachers come in all packages and political persuasions. We really need to move beyond our need to label and look at the Zachs of the world at face value. Personally, I'm going with internet troll.

    Jennie, I love the metaphor. Hope you have a great year!

    Retired from testing, still a teacher!

  • Pamela Kranz
    Posted at 20:38h, 22 August Reply

    Wow. I hope you're not in public relations because you're not very good at it!

  • GiGi
    Posted at 04:44h, 23 August Reply

    Albeit that I'll never understand walking in your shoes and you'll never understand walking in mine I will thank you and all the other teachers that care abou the job that they do and the children that they teach.
    However, I am an eye roller as I have teaching friends who get at least 2 vacations a year, 1 during spring/Easter break and another lengthy one over the course of the summer. But it's not only that. You see I do understand what it's like to perform because well I'm an actor and a comedian. So to be heckled, yup got that! To crash and burn, still doing it! And the majority of the thank yous I get are after an audition, most of which I never hear back from. This too is a grind. The only difference is that I love what I do & wouldn't have it any other way. I also a imagine a significant bank account difference between the machinery of the teacher vs the machinery of a creative. Again no complaints as I chose this life, but why must teachers constantly try to explain to everyone just how misunderstood they are? Teachers along with many other professions are "serving" our world yet they're always the ones looking for a pat on the back. Believe me I get it, the grind is tough. I also know that everyday that I get to be in front of an audience is a gift along with any time I can make just 1 person laugh is pretty effing cool. I chose this life so I can love what I do. Also by choosing this life I don't really have a right to complain. I feel that the writer and many other teachers that feel they need to justify the "hard work" that they do need to ask themselves what they're really in it for. If you love what you do you don't need to be recognized and write a blog about how hard it is to go back to school. Let's not forget that the majority of us work hard. So thanks, but really let's get over ourselves.

  • mrsdelga
    Posted at 12:01h, 23 August Reply

    Zach, You are embarrassing yourself. I am 55 years old and have had a variety of jobs. I have only been an educator for 8 years, and I can tell you this is the most time consuming job I have ever had and certainly the most emotionally exhausting. I think about my students' difficulties and fret over my lessons and the curriculum almost all the time. No job I have ever had has been this difficult, or this rewarding. I think it would be wise to work as a teacher or substitute for a bit before you you pretend to have any idea of what we we do. You make the very common mistake of thinking you know what is involved to be a teacher because you were once a student. Are you a parent? Because thinking you know about teaching because you were a student once is like saying you know all about parenting because you were a child once. As parenting throws us for a loop, so does it to become a teacher. A teacher can try to explain it, but until you ARE a teacher, you are embarrassingly inexperienced and unqualified in this area and your ignorance is showing.

  • Candy
    Posted at 19:20h, 23 August Reply

    I am sorry but you do not use the same lesson plans year after year. As a retired teacher, I always changed my plans to meet the needs of my specific group of students. I also kept up with the latest research on how students learn. This required updating my lesson plans regularly. I would try ideas and find those that worked and those that needed to be changed. I would also have to keep up with the latest information related to my subject matter. It is also important to remember that we teach all kinds of students. I had individuals in my classes who dealt with alcoholism at home, who had parents in prison, who were depressed, etc. A big part of teaching is motivating all students while maintaining high expectations. I also want to point out that those with healthy families learned from those with dysfunctional families and the opposite also occurred. We are preparing them for the "real world" which includes all kinds of people.

  • Diane Davis
    Posted at 22:23h, 23 August Reply

    Teachers are actually technically laid off during the summer. Our pay Sept to June is held back by a percentage to give us cheques representing money we've already worked for. Original post did make me cry. Attention given to the political rant makes me sick. What we call in the trade, attention seeking behavior.

  • editme55
    Posted at 00:19h, 24 August Reply

    I dont think Zach is anything he says he is. No masters, not a liberal, and not a democrat. His post is full of the anti teacher rhetoric that is common on Breitbart and other extremist sites. He is full of moral authority and individualist work ethic that speaks volumes about his own personal shame. Its a sad commentary on our current political predicament, where a powerless bully can defame such a heartfelt narrative about the love of children and difficulties faced by those who tirelessly work to teach them. He speaks brutally, with such disdain, about those who dedicate themselves in such a noble profession. A liberal has respect, and tolerance, a progressive will listen to those who know their work, and a democrat won't speak so authoritatively to women. {the real ones at least} So Zach is a lonely troll, with time on his hands. He has earned his sadness, and our empathy, for the bare expression of his corrosive ego.

  • Liza New
    Posted at 00:27h, 24 August Reply

    ZP, I was once a recruiter in a technical field. I said a recruiter's work is never done. That is, I worked on commission, and I would receive requisitions that were darn hard to fill due to complex skill sets that were often required. I thought teachers had an easy life. I wanted an easy life, so I became a teacher. What a fool I was! Teaching has been rewarding in some aspects, but government policies aimed at destroying schools have or are in the process of finishing most of us off. Today, I went in at 7:30, though many arrive earlier, and I remained grading papers until after 5:00. This is also what I have done about every day of the week, though sometimes I take home papers to grade or work on developing lessons well into the evening. When you have to write the script, perform it all day, etc. (and that is a super analogy by the way) your planning period doesn't even begin to cover the time you need. I still need to do my lesson plans for Monday, and I'm always having to adapt them because in truth each year students expect more and more entertainment (our culture). Those lesson plans will run me about four hours this weekend. Then, it will be back to the same cycle on Monday. I feel for those in the private sector. I know your lives are not easy, but you are gravely mistaken if you thing we teachers are exaggerating.

  • Jennie Scott
    Posted at 00:37h, 24 August Reply

    Thank you – I still can't believe how many people have read this!

  • editme55
    Posted at 00:41h, 24 August Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • editme55
    Posted at 00:44h, 24 August Reply

    Wow, teachers are a big target. You are a favorite of the neo extremists and the reformers as well. I find it so, misguided. At my 2nd graders year end picnic, I looked into the exhausted, tired eyes of the teachers present and my heart went out to them. They worked so hard, and as any parent would know, they have earned a short break. I have children. Managing just a few is a continuous and daunting drama. Managing 20 or 30 or even more????? You have to be made of some pretty tough stuff. If you're teaching the older group, its a full contact sport. The people who post, saying they were teachers and it was easy, were either lousy teachers punching a clock, or were never really teachers at all. I will say this, a job in an industrial plant {are there any left} however difficult, can never compare to the incredibly difficult challenge of teaching children. I am not a teacher, but I have such respect for them. I posted a request on my high school facebook page asking people to name the teachers that changed their lives. There were an incredible number of responses. I think that says more than any troll could write on this blog. To all you teachers reading this page…. Thank you. I've always wanted to say that. I deleted and reposted because i made too many typos. Out of respect for those who taught me, I apologize for my grammatical errors, and my punctuation.

  • 0ec40890-0d0c-11e3-a1dc-000bcdca4d7a
    Posted at 22:25h, 24 August Reply

    I'm a teacher and I agree 100% with Zack… So I don't think he's that misguided. I know many teachers that re-use lesson plans. I know many that put little effort into their planning and their classrooms. I know many who went into teaching because they just needed a job. I appreciate that Zack is on here giving an opposing opinion. That doesn't mean all teachers do this – but it does mean that lumping every "teacher" and the profession into the heroic child-saving and selfless time-giver narrative is malarky.

    Perhaps the focus should be on the few amazing teachers out there that really are as Jennie describes.

  • DH
    Posted at 04:30h, 26 August Reply


    How dare you interrupt this teacher's expression of her special persecution complex.

    You have to understand that this blog wasn't meant to be read by the general public, but rather other teachers.

    Teachers have built an entire industry on their grievances as to how their jobs are the hardest, pay is the worst, conditions are deplorable, and supervisors are idiots.

    How dare you remind them that their lot in life isn't worse than everybody else's. Don't you realize that teachers are SUPER SUPER SPECIAL simply because they say so?

    I bet you go around telling kids there is no Santa Claus too. 😛

  • www.carolgordonekster.com
    Posted at 23:44h, 26 August Reply

    You pinned it! I taught for 35 years and am now retired. Teaching is not only a profession, it's a passion. So glad we have teachers like you who are passionate. Have a fantastic year. I promise you that you will reap the rewards in the future. Thank YOU!!!

  • At the River
    Posted at 02:20h, 27 August Reply

    I'm with you on the annoyance at female pronouns. I too have been the only male teacher in my elementary school for six of my eight years. And like many, I put in about 50 hours at school, another 6 at private teaching (brass instruments), and another 8 or so as a church choir director, so I can afford to spend my summers going to the doctor, fixing a year worth of troubles with my house, and maybe relaxing just an bit.

    Like others, I worked in retail management where at times I worked 24-hour-plus shifts, and car sales where 12 hour days were the norm. But I was never as exhausted coming home as I am after an 8 or 10 hour day , 6 of which are spent directly working with kids.

    But Zach brings up a good point that we should all heed. Many within the general public see things the way he does. Does it make sense? No, not any more sense than the idea that a lawyer should only be credited with hours in a court room, or a police officer when making an arrest. There are visible and invisible aspects to every job.

    But what SHOULD be is, frankly, irrelevant. For as long as the perception exists, we will get the raw end not only of respect, but also legislation, and we will continue to be pawns in political games — especially those in places like Illinois, where I am, right now.

    We can observe, and we can even complain, but people close ears when others complain. The only real solution to the problems that these misconceptions cause, is to educate the public (we are educators, after all, aren't we?) on what we really do, in a more subtle way. Talk to friends about home visits, but not from a soapbox. If others want to go out to dinner and we're busy planning, tell them why we can't go, again without sounding like complaining.

    Too many of us are shy about talking in the deal world, for fear that we will be labeled workaholics. And this is why some people have the misconceptions that they do. We need to subtly educate in the real world, rather than just the blogosphere, or we will see conditions continue to worsen as legislators and voters increasingly underestimate how much we do as it is.

    And with all that said, I still love my exhausting life more than I ever imagined I would. For all the stress, it is a very rewarding career!

  • At the River
    Posted at 03:07h, 27 August Reply

    I'm little surprised at the Rick Perry comment, actually. I assume you are referring to him wanting to get rid of the Department of Education — the ones who enforce NCLB! Personally, I think that's a great idea, and I'm a teacher. the DOE treats an Inuit child in Alaska the same as a Crip in L.A., or a rich suburban child in the Midwest. Keeping control more local would be a great improvement, in my opinion. That's not to say I think Rick Perry is great. I just think that that is an odd thing for a teacher to criticize.

  • Jason Villegaz
    Posted at 04:41h, 07 October Reply

    Teaching is indeed hard. having a bill cover insurance beforehand might be an important thing to consider because the nature of the work itself is not really stable.

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    Posted at 21:12h, 03 November Reply

    How do You Think I went from zero (literally) to $49,000 my best week working from home, on the internet, from bed?It is called “INTERNET MARKETING” and, when done right, it can really save your traditional business and honestly, your financial future as well. At least it did it for me. Working an internet business from home has made a huge…
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  • Elizabeth A. Wink
    Posted at 18:22h, 15 January Reply

    It is a daunting task to reach out to students day after day.

    Whether you teach in an impoverished inner city school or in a suburb of prosperity and privilege, it is all the same. There are too many children weak in hope, in trust, and in spirit. There are too many children who dwell in hated, fear, and doubt. There are too many children who live in brokenness and despair. Prayerful teaching places an extra mantel of protection and love around the children entrusted to us and turns our classrooms into holy ground.

    Each week a Bible passage is cited along with a reflection on that passage. Always the reflection will have implications for teaching whether it be in a public, private, religious, or home school, whether it be pre-school, grade school, middle or high school, or at post-secondary or university level. Please visit http://prayerfulteaching.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 18:33h, 12 June Reply

    I am not a teacher, but I am thinking about going back to school for a masters and certification. I have thought about it for a couple of years now and I think I am finally going to go for it. When I read articles and comments like this, it makes me a little uneasy. But then I think, if all of these teachers are willingly putting in so much extra work on their own time, they must truly love what they are doing. I am in sales right now and was an engineer in the past. I have also dabbled with massage therapy and doula work, but it was too unstable for my family and me unfortunately. With sales I work all kinds of hours, but I am rewarded financially for the extra time (sometimes). I have found, however, that I am not driven by money so this is not good incentive to me beyond a certain point. With my engineering career, I don't know that I would put in the extra unpaid time because I didn't really enjoy the work at all; that could have had a lot to do with the company I worked for, but I still think a majority of my unhappiness came from the industry itself, not the company.

    It seems like teaching is special in that it is hard work and lots of extra commitments, but teachers keep coming back every year regardless of many obstacles. I am hoping I will enjoy working with students as much as all of you, and maybe the work won't feel so much like work all of the time if I feel that I am directly helping kids and forming genuine relationships.

    Words of encouragement would be graciously accepted as I begin this new journey:) Thank you teachers for all that you do!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 20:49h, 13 August Reply

    Hello Jennifer, I LOVE cupcakes can I sit in on your class?:)

  • Dulcimer Players
    Posted at 19:08h, 01 November Reply

    Zach- Ive done many different jobs in my life- fast food, U.S. Army, Aircraft Mechanic, factory worker, deckhand, sawmill worker, landscaping, musician, office worker, supervisor and by far the most challenging work that I have ever done is elementary school teaching. Try teaching 25 spanish-speaking students how to read and write in English as well as speaking, math and science. Good Luck!!!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 23:59h, 18 March Reply

    I have taught for three years, two of which were in an inner city school. Before teaching I worked in financial accounting. I don't know why all of you are being so tough on Zach when he was simply comparing the demands of teaching to other professions. Yes, teaching is a demanding job, but it is not the only demanding job. American teachers have no idea how to communicate the problems our public schools face to society at large, yet they claim to be "literacy" instructors. The truth is – most public school teachers, don't teach. They are individuals who go along with an archaic bureaucratic system that no longer works because they either don't have the back bone to stick up for themselves or they are unable to figure out something else to do. Socrates, John Lennon and Ghandi wouldn't last a day in an American classroom. Why? They simply wouldn't go along with something that they know is broken. To the teacher who said Zach doesn't know the golden rule of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." If you stopped to actually think about the rules before you blindly followed them, you would come to realize that they don't make any logical sense! I have something not nice to say about cancer, Hitler and cheeseburgers..should I just keep my mouth shut? Don't expect society to respect you and the problems you face in your classroom when you don't know how to self advocate. Don't expect your students to respect you when you don't stick up for their real needs because you're too scared of getting fired. Don't expect parents to not heckle at you when you never took the time to protest in the streets because you were so busy teaching a curriculum that they didn't even give you the time to read. If you want to hold the real title of teacher, here in the Universe, then you need to be willing to rock the boat to do what is right. You need to simply move towards what is right and show the others how you got to that place. Don't expect us to gravely respect you just because you passed the MTEL and followed suit like all the other sheep.

  • Girl
    Posted at 18:00h, 03 November Reply

    Be Nice

  • Bulk
    Posted at 19:27h, 30 January Reply

    I've taught for 18 years and work at least 10 hour days to plan and prepare for my students. If done right, teaching requires one to go to almost the brink of insanity, but we love people and are willing to do this for others. I wish though it would be a place that gave us the opportunity and time to discover all the talents of all students. I feel that if politicians outside of the classroom weren't making all the curriculum decisions, we would be able to foster all talents, which is why Zach might be so upset with teachers. The system is such that it doesn't recognize talents beyond the academics, and it makes us conform rather that make creativity grow and flourish. I'm trying now to make my room mimic life as it is in the outside world. I have utmost respect for anybody who works in this profession, and thank you for doing this thankless job.

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