I've been thinking about thankless jobs today. Why? Because I was trying to think of a job that is thanked less than a teacher. It wasn't hard to think of police officers. They probably aren't thanked very much. I'm sure not many people getting speeding tickets or arrested in a drug bust stop to thank the police officer for making the world a safer place. I thought of the two officers in Utah Valley yesterday that were shot on duty. I guess they have it worse off than I do. (And for which I am EXTREMELY grateful for. What wonderful men and what a pathetic waste of space that attacked them)
But now that I've clearly stated that there are certainly jobs that are less thanked than mine..... let me continue.
Today was one of those days. Education really is a weird thing. We all want the benefits of it without the work required. We all want to get smarter. We all want to make good decisions and benefit from the success that education can provide, but we hate doing what it takes to get there. I mean we've all been there done that, cheered when class was cancelled, smiled when a teacher decided to shorten the assignment, or copied someone's homework because we were too lazy to do it ourselves. And on the flip side how often we groan when a teacher assigns work, get defensive when we get docked, and are mad when teachers hold us accountable.
Here's the hard thing about being a teacher. My salary is in no way a reflection of how much my students learn. What does that mean? Every time I assign a reading, dock a grade, or hold a student accountable..... I am getting nothing for it. Well except complaints, anger, resentment, and today.... tears. Yep. Today was a first. After 9 years of teaching it finally happened, an angry parent made me cry.
Now of course because this is a public blog and teachers have been fired over complaining about parents, I will not go into any details.
Rather I write this post for two reasons. First, to say like so many other teachers have pleaded for before, Realize teachers are not the bad guy. They are not out to get your kid. They are not trying to ruin his life. Maybe the teacher doesn't seem reasonable, maybe it doesn't make sense, maybe it really isn't fair. But remember. The teacher is not the bad guy. The teacher is not getting paid extra to give challenging assignments, try and give feed back to help the student learn from mistakes, or for punishing kids when they aren't responsible. Teachers do this because there is a reason they went into teaching. They certainly didn't do it for the money or because they get some type of weird satisfaction in making teenagers miserable. They did it because they have a dream. Whether it's their sense of duty or their passion.... they do it because they are trying to make the world a better place. So please, when in doubt, support the teacher.
Second, thank a teacher. Not for being hip or cool, but for challenging, stretching, and inspiring. Because man oh man, a couple more parents like that is enough to make any good teacher be the teacher that gives the easy A while showing movies and handing out book work. Because at the end of the day, we all get paid the same.
And while you're at it. Thank a police officer too.
Some extra reading if you are interested:
What every teachers really wants to tell parents.