Friday, August 9, 2013

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. 

355 comments:

  1. Well said....I love this. And thank you!

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  2. Wow!!! I needed this. I am already feeling the overwhelming anxiety of the year! Thank you.

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  3. I am now a retired teacher. I gave it the best of my health and had to leave although I did so love it because I believed I made a difference. Your article describes a true teacher. Teachers are, every day of the year, in my prayers. Thank you for pulling the art of teaching together so very well.

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  4. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing!! I hope you can hear all the other teachers out there smiling and laughing and sighing a little with you. Have a great year.
    Ashley
    Teachingpawsitively.blogspot.com

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  5. It has been nine years since my retirement, but your blog took me right back to the classroom. Spot on. I read another blog written by a teacher recently entitled "About a Boy." You might enjoy it. :)
    http://www.breathechick.blogspot.com/

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  6. Absolutely right on!! loved this...thank you!!

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  7. Thank you. This sums up my life as a teacher very well. I am already surveying my class with my hands on my hips...and have had many meetings already this summer.

    Have a great year everyone!!

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  8. Your statement is absolutely ridiculous and insulting to those of us who work in the same world in other professions, be they rooted in the private or public sector.
    Unless you work in the bowels of the public school system of a major urban area city school, your work place environment is far better than the average workplace of just about 70% of all workers.
    I am a huge supporter of public education and public school teachers, but it is like pins and needles in my eye when I hear you complain about the difficulty of your job compared to other professions.
    Your work schedule is ideal and set in stone. Yes, I do know that you have to go home and grade papers, God forbid, but most of us take our work home as well. And, we don't get the benefit of a three hour head start.
    Additionally most teachers and schools observed every federal holiday and just about Every ritual holiday on the calendar. Oh and did I mention? The majority of schools in the United States observe the arcane system of "Summer vacation" which is a agricultural-based system set in motion in the early 20th century so that children would be home to help with crop cultivation and harvesting, or other business that the family may have endeavored.


    Teaching, like any profession, is a skill that requires a good deal of study and repetition to perfect. However, once a teacher develops a tried and true lesson plan, they can basically use the same lesson plan year after year. Now that we are in the "digital age" that system may change a bit more frequently than in the past, but it is a very secure and steady work method. Please quit whining.


    I think it is insulting and denigrating for you to refer to parents as "hecklers" or, at least that is the implication made in your statement.Teachers are held accountable to several factions. And that is necessary. Just like most professional workers are held accountable to multiple entities.


    For example a stockbroker, is accountable not only to his clients, but his office, his branch manager, the company he works for, and the companies that provide the product for the financial advisor to sell. A mineworker, likewise is accountable to himself, his other workers, for safety benefits, his company, most likely a union. In the professions I have referenced, I do not believe that any of the parties that hold the employee responsible are "hecklers".
    So teaching is tough. What of it? Most of our jobs are tough and demanding and we all have our grievances. But I am getting really tired, especially this time of year when I have to hear teacher friends whine about going back to work after two months of vacation. It makes me want to Semack them in the back of the head and bring them into reality.


    Vito Corleone said in the Godfather movie "gentlemen this is the we have chosen...."


    Zach P.
    Democrat
    Masters degree
    Southern white male
    Votes for liberal causes
    Hates whiny bullcrap

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    1. The hecklers are some of the students.

      I wonder why you took so much time to answer this so completely. And why you took the time to read this. Hm...

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    2. Zach,

      Bless your heart.

      2 months of vacation? No, surely you meant two months for the district to plan subject-area curriculum meetings, conferences, conventions, Common Core training, COMPASS training, and any other training they feel is necessary.

      The hecklers are students, not parents. If more parents were present in their child's education and took the time to come to school, the jobs of educators would be a lot easier.

      You take your work home? Ok, you probably bring something home but you will never be able to compare that to the hours a teacher spends grading papers and planning lessons. 3 hour head start? Riiiiiiight.

      Use the same lessons and lesson plans over and over? Not on your life, buddy. Our curriculum is always changing. Teachers are at the mercy of newly implemented initiatives almost every school year, the "flavor of the year" that is either new a method, a new lesson plan template that requires the addition of new materials and deletion of others, a curriculum that tells you what text to teach and doesn't care if you've never seen it before, etc.

      You may be tired of whining. And yes, teachers may have chosen this profession. But ask a teacher if their profession has remained constant as you suggest. I bet you they will all tell you that it changes every year and not what they imagined when they filled out their first job application.

      Bless your heart. You really just don't get it.

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    3. Zach,

      I'm not a teacher. I'm a parent, a professional, and a student. I have a couple things to add to your soliloquy:

      First, you dropped a stank response to a teacher describing her livelihood on her own blog. To what end? She isn't incorrect, she isn't actually whining--did you think she would read your little diatribe and say, "You know, Zach was right. I'm just a mine-working stockbroker who trades in children"? Was that your plan?

      Second, another teacher actually critiqued and gave comments on your response. You came off like a troll; she gave you compare/contrast notes.

      Third, by virtue of the fact that you were able to compose such a comment, break it into paragraphs, and make your points as succinctly as you did, means you should thank a teacher.

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    4. Zach,
      You have a huge chip on your shoulder. Maybe you were one of those children that disrupted one too many times and had to be corrected by the teacher and you dislike all teachers. Or maybe you're just snarly about life. Join us in the classroom for a month and get a true feel for what it's like and maybe you will stop YOUR whining.

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    5. Dear Zach,
      Join us. You sound like a hard working person, and we really need folks like you in the teaching profession.

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    7. Hey Zach?

      I have taught for three years and I have never once reused the same lesson plans. I have reused some of the activities, but not the lessons. Every year I have made new notes, because every year the dynamics of my students changed. And you forget--sometimes we don't teach the same subject every year, sometimes we are asked to teach things we aren't even certified in, so we have to go out in our spare time (and if you were a teacher you would know we don't have much of it) and learn something entirely new, and learn it well enough so that we can break it down for our students. ALSO, we do in fact have two months off--in the truest sense of the phrase, as we do NOT get paid for those two months. Any money we receive is money that was docked from our paychecks during the 180 days we are actually hired for. We are essentially laid off and rehired every year. So... try to walk a little in someone else's shoes for a change, would ya? And thank a teacher that you got enough education to get that Masters degree while you're at it.

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    8. Zach, until you have taught, do not sit in judgment on a teacher. This is her blog and she has the right to express her feelings and emotions. I spent 17 years in the classroom and just quit this year because everything keeps getting harder and harder. Teaching was tough when I began years ago and is so much tougher now. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can stay in this profession because no one is making it any easier on them.

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    9. Here is my blog post about teacher hours.
      http://llwcontemplations.blogspot.com/2011/03/if-teachers-worked-like-doctors.html

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    11. I'm just sitting here laughing at the misguided idea that I might get to use the same lessons over and over. I don't even get to teach the same way from one class period to the next because the chemistry between the students and class makeup is different from first through seventh period. Some periods the kids are asleep and I have to wake them up so I stop mid-lesson and change their state with an activity, some periods they're hyper and I have to calm them down. Some of my classes include special ed kids or kids with 504 mods. I am, however, able to teach the exact same objective to 150 kids a day, knowing that some of them don't have the background knowledge and I need to fill it in before they can move on, knowing that none of the kids have the same learning style so the one who doesn't "get it" with a verbal description is also going to need a visual, some of the kids need to kinesthetically move around, grasp, and manipulate concrete items and work really hard to translate that to theoretical knowledge, and none of these babies come with a user manual. You have to be an expert diplomat to coax out of them the information YOU need in order to help them the most. Then there is the fact that as the kids get older, they don't like you. Many of them come into the room the first day with the mindset that you are the enemy, they are at war, and their primary tactic is sabotage. Now, do you know any other profession where your clients who come to you actively dislike you and try to sabotage you, and the first thing you must do before you can work for them is convince them that you are not the enemy? Now do that for about 30 clients out of 150 that you see in a day. Good luck with that. Your writing skills are passable, z, but someone failed to educate you about manners. This is a blog, the internet equivalent of someone's front porch, and you just stepped uninvited onto someone's front porch and took a dump. Bravo. Hope it helped your self-esteem.

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    12. DEMOCRAT. That sums this up.

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    13. You have absolutely no idea what it takes to be a teacher. Bless your heart. That's all I have to say.

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    14. Zach, are you serious? I'm not a teacher either but I feel so sorry for you. When you were a student, you must have been home sick the day they covered something that you evidently missed. I have to agree with whoever said "bless your heart". It's probably not your fault. If you get a do-over, try taking an apple to school. It just might change your educational experience.

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    18. Guys, Zach is *not* serious. He is nothing but your typical blogger-troll and is trying to get teachers fired up and hopping mad. Not a second of back-to-school time should be spent on his gleefully trollworthy heart.

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    19. Zach, Apparently you have not lived with or even known a teacher. My contract is for 200 days and 7.2 hours a day; however, those are the days and times where I am actually paid. During the school year I come in early and stay late daily. There are days when I have been kicked out by the custodial staff. To prepare for SOL testing I tutor students after school, on Saturdays, and during my planning time. Technically we are supposed to have 45 minutes of planning a day to take care of planning and grading, but there is NO WAY possible to get all our work done during this time; that is why we work late, at home, and on weekends. During planning we also attend meetings for special education students. The only real break that I get during the day is my "30 minute duty free lunch" which really comes to 20 minutes because I take and pick up my students from lunch. Have you had your toe broken breaking up a fight? Do you get cursed at your job? Do you get physically threatened at your job? Do you have wait to go to the bathroom? Have you been vomited and spit on at your job? Have you spent your own money for pencils, book bags, paper, notebooks, lunches, clothes and shoes for other people's children? Does it rain in your workplace? Have you had to have a conference with a person who is drunk? I know things can get bad at school; but I also know that the police, firefighters, and military have it worse. I am not complaining about my job though; I love teaching! I hope that I make a difference in my students' lives. I love sharing my joy of learning with my students. I could work in the suburb that I live in, but I work in an urban middle school; two of my former students are in prison for murder, and one is in prison for rape. Last year I had three on probation, and I can't even tell you how much stuff has been stolen from me. Why do I work there? These children need me. I love teaching math and want every one of my kids to be successful. I am tough with them; at times they hate me for being tough. However, even my worst students have come back, hugged and thanked me-they know I was tough because I love them and want them to have the best learning environment as possible. You really should know that we don't teach the same lessons over and over. The curriculum changes, we are constantly improving, and we are required to address students individual needs. We have to make modifications for gifted, LEP, and special education students.
      Let's talk about what you perceive as our summer vacation. Most teachers that I know (including myself) work a second over the summer and year round. We did not get a raise for five years, but our health insurance costs have continued to rise. Therefore, most of us are making less money than we did five years ago. Teachers also have to renew our licenses which require us to continue our educations (we should be setting a good example of lifelong learners). During the summer we attend (no pay) curriculum development, professional development, and this year we are required to attend CPR and AED training. I earned a Master of Education and am working on an add-on to my license. I also attend conferences (at my expense) to become the best teacher that I can be.
      As for the schedule---I would welcome year round school. The school board and state law determines our schedule, not the teachers.
      I agree with Star and Cheryl Watkins above, too ... Bless your heart (for your ignorance) If you don't believe how hard teachers work speak to my husband (or the spouse of any teacher).
      Zach, I am sorry that you did not have parents or teachers to instill the "Golden Rule" and my favorite rule--"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I will keep you in my prayers and hope that you become a contributing member of society.

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    21. Don't judge a teacher til you walk a mile in his/her shoes, Zach. Or better yet, be a substitute teacher for 6 weeks. Then come back and let us know your experiences.

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    22. Your words remind me exactly of my ex-husband's way of thinking about and seeing life. Neither you nor he will ever get it, and I don't mean just about the life of an educator. But what I do know is that time is far better spent offering encouragement and support and being a positive source of energy in life. I'm sorry this post bothers you so much. Perhaps you have subscribed to the wrong blog and your opinions would be better spent on a site that matches your vital stats you listed, one where perhaps you would find many others with your like-mindedness who says what you want to hear and believe.

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    23. Pt 1: WoW! Zach!!! You must HATE your job! And it must really frustrate you that so many teachers LOVE their job despite almost unbearable conditions.

      I am NOT going to line item critique your SHALLOW, DELUSIONAL, INEPT attempt to belittle the teaching profession, because I actually would prefer to spend time working on my lesson plans, which I was just working on earlier today and will do more later tonight to get ready for the first day of class two weeks from now.

      But, I am going to address a few of your particularly shallow comments. Like, your misunderstanding of summer and other "vacation" time.

      Believe it or not, summer time for me means:

      1) Fixing everything around the house that broke during the school year that is impossible to deal with.

      2) Go to various doctors because I refuse to take time off from school since many doctors will not see you after 3:00 pm (at least in this area)...and they aren't open at 6:00 am when I am headed to school.

      3) Work on stuff that is broken in my classroom. Every summer, I spend no less than 20 hrs a week working in my classroom redoing, fixing, revamping, etc. This includes assisting the janitors to do the floor which involves shuffling everything in my room, as well as other maintenance issues in the classroom. This summer, that mean redoing the darkroom sink, which took many hours of my time.

      This summer, they replaced the computers, which meant an additional 40+ hours breaking down and stacking up the old computers and setting up and reinstalling everything with the new computers (even with a ghost image of one computer).

      4) Try to get back in shape because their is little time to work out when you put in an 18 hour day either AT or FOR the school.

      What you don't seem to understand is how emotionally, physically and mentally demanding a school day is for teachers.

      First, my day starts at 6:15 am...when I arrive at school. That gives me 1 hr to get ready for the students. I am usually running from the time my feet hit the pavement. Clock in, check mail, respond to any messages from parents that were in my mailbox, or fill out SAC assignment sheets, get labs ready to go, tweak any lesson plans that I had worked on when I got home the night before.

      Once the students walk in, it is usually 7.5 hours before I sit down again.

      I can't fully address the demands of the 50 minutes of trying to teach, with overloaded classes, with students that can't focus for more than 30 seconds or read more than 160 characters, the constant battle for their attention (and I actually allow approved use of electronics because even the BEST students would sneak their cell phones under the desk), etc.

      Let me just say that each 50 minute period is a battle of whits. Some classes go well. But, most of the classes I am in impossible situation, trying to make it through the class. Don't get me wrong, most of classes are at least effective. But for every good class I have, I will have a bad class. When you have every seat full, and easily 25-50% of the class will not even attempt to do their work, and verbally abuse the teacher, it makes for a touch class.

      I wish you could be forced to put up with a BAD class for 9 months...and see if you don't walk out after about 5 days!!

      Maybe I will sit during lunch. Oh, lets talk about lunch for a minute...all 30 minutes of it. I scarf my food down as fast as possible so that I can get back to work, mainly getting ready for the next day. During prep period, I usually have a few calls to return, emails to write, requisitions for field trips, supplies, fund raisers to organize, contests to coordinate, committees to tend to, and on and on and on for the business side of teaching.

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    24. Pt 2.
      Then there is the actual lesson plan. Reuse last year? Yes. Is it the same? Of course not. I teach a technology class, and it is changing faster than I can write/record my own tutorials. At least you acknowledge this in your shallow diatribe! But, at the very least, I am always making changes to my lesson plans. I usually take notes during the day. Then, at the end of the day, I make changes to the next years lessons right then while it is fresh on my mind.

      Now, lets talk about this three hour head start!?!? OMG. WTH are you talking about? When the final bell rings, I usually have to sit for a few just to recoup. Then, as soon as I can muster the energy, I have to start getting ready for the next today.

      I think one of the things that you don't understand is that during the school day, there is NO time to do anything else. For MOST teachers, we are teaching from bell to bell. That means, lecturing, assisting, monitoring, etc. I don't get to sit down during class, and then between classes, I have to monitor hall traffic and other duties between classes.

      So, when the classes end, that is when the REAL work begins. Our day ends at 3:00. I am LUCKY to leave by 8:00 pm. Some days, well into the year, I may get out of there early to go do something, try to get a work out in, etc. but frequently returning to school, or at least working from home, thanks to things like DropBox and Logmein that allow me to work on school programs, documents, websites, etc. from home.

      But 3 of 5 days of the week, I am there until until well into the evening hours. Duties include calling parents...which can take 1-3 hours easily. Preparing lesson plans for the next day takes 1-3 hours. I start the week out with the generally outline based on the previous year, but each day is unique and constantly changing. Working on the room, and preparing it for the next day takes time. This includes making any copies that need to be made including a trip to the main building. Then I get to grading. I tend to let the students grade the easy stuff, but it is up to me to do portfolio reviews, and giving feedback for work graded, etc. On the average, I spend 2 hours an evening engaged in student critique and communication. Just this week alone (a summer vacation week...unpaid mind you), I have spent several hours communicating with students preparing their work summer assignment for the upcoming year. Bet that didn't cross your mind...that some of us actually work (for no additional cabbage) during the summer.

      I think part of your problem is that you don't know what you are talking about. You think the average teacher does little to nothing. Perhaps there are a few teachers like that. But the vast majority of the honorable, worthy and dignified teachers, teach bell to bell, work with the students, work with the parents, and try to manage our lives until we get a break to catch back up in our own life. We plan activities like trips and contests that are not required. We shop on our own time for things for our classroom, spending our own money because it is more important to improve our classroom. We develop our classroom and our classes to the best of our ability dang near around the clock.

      Summer is not just a break for the kids to "work the fields". But they do need a break. Going to 7 classes a day, homework every day, being pushed constantly to work by 7 different teachers is exhausting.

      But is also a break for the teacher to recharge, get excited about going back into the classroom, because quite frankly, by the end of the year, of going maximum speed, every day, by the end of 9 months...we are toast! Personally, I am all for year-round school. Maybe then, I might not have to wait until summer time to deal with things around the house.

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    26. I think the bottom line here is that no one can ever truly understand the difficulties and rewards of another person's job until they live it. Anytime someone describes their job to you, it sounds simple, because it's probably a 1-3 minute summary of a complex job with a lot more to it than what they tell you. Teachers, Zach does not understand your workload because he has not been a teacher. But likewise, you don't know Zach or what he does. You don't know how many hours he works, how much emotional energy he devotes to his job, the kinds of problems he has to put up with.

      I do think one key difference is that many jobs are jobs people just "fall into." They don't like them, that's not what they wanted with their life, but they need a job so they do it. Teaching isn't one of those careers, for the most part. Most people who teach do so because that is the job they dreamed of. Maybe you didn't anticipate the difficulties that come with it, but you're doing something that fulfills you and that makes the difficulties worth it. I'm also blessed to have a job that I love. But for many, they feel trapped in a job where they get absolutely no sense of fulfillment or purpose and must deal with terrible bosses, back-stabbing co-workers, long and late hours, and not enough pay.

      Basically what I'm saying is...teachers, I hear that you want us to be sensitive to how hard you work. And we need to do that. But treat people like Zach with the same respect you're asking for. Unless you've worked at his job, in his position, with and for the same people, you can't say your job is harder than his.

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    27. Thanking your English teacher is no 'replacement' for showing respect to teachers in general. Nice try but I saw right through that drivel. Speaking of 'frustratos,' tu passes beauooup de temps ici avec les profs, tu n'as pas d'autres choses a faire? Peut-etre que tu penses de toi-meme en decrivant les profs en espanol? Zero respect for the people who helped you far enough to even get a Master's degree. Tsk.

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    28. Zach...oh Zach, You're either bored or have some deep seated contempt for teachers. Why else would you take the time to go off on such a rant? I actually laughed out loud at some of your statements. 3 hour head start? Wth are you talking about? Use lesson plans over and over? Are you high? Get your facts straight. BTW this teacher was NOT whining. She was trying to pump herself up and inspire other teachers on HER blog. You came off angry and bitter.

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    29. Zach,

      I thought your reaction was interesting, and one that my own family sometimes offers. This was a reflective piece by this author, and, because it was public, you have every right to criticize it.

      I did not see this as the author whining or complaining. As a teacher entering my 23rd year of teaching, I will say some of your observations lacked support, and I wonder if you had some teachers who were not very enthusiastic or good at what they did.

      I work quite hard to do my best work. My husband has begged me to leave the profession for what it has claimed of my emotional health. It runs a person down. Yes, people in other professions work as hard. The author was not claiming they didn't. However, the point was: teaching is hard. If it isn't, the teacher is not doing her job right.

      I did not believe when I entered college that teaching would be like it is. Who could have foreseen the change in parenting and society's views of the profession? Who would have known that the US would have wanted a child to be whittled down to a series of numbers and a teacher to be criticized based on a child's performance over which she has little control? I just wanted to spend my day making students love learning as much as I did. Teaching now is NOT what I signed on to do. However, I continue, because I would rather spend my day with nine year olds than adults who logic worse than nine year olds. I teach my students to offer opinions without name-calling, to offer solid evidence to support their bias. They do a pretty good job with that, and understand that using inflammatory comments makes people turn away from the merits of the message.

      JoLynn

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    30. Zack,
      Fluent in spanish you are not buddy.....and that is the first error of your self assessment.

      May god grant you the wisdom to know the difference.

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    31. Dude...your spanish is HORRIBLE!

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    32. Hey Zach,
      I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that we are probably close to the same age, but I am also going to say that we received a very different education in life. Your life, one of some privilege, since your family is educated(which I think you should be very proud of and should brag about as often as possible, for they worked hard for you to become the person you are today)and my life, given opportunity from the American people and the family who worked hard to rise above poverty (the year I started college, my family's household income came out to be $11,000). I will never complain about my job because I entered my profession knowing fully what I was signing to do. You have some hecklers of your own and rightly so, but I don't think anything you said was incorrect based off the knowledge you have about the education system today. The general public will never know about what happens in the American Education system if regular classroom teachers don't inform them. So, here is a little information I learned just this past week about the American Education system the general public sees as a failure because they have been informed that we are not the top nation in the world. Please, remember to have an open mind as I tell you this because I am thinking it is probably new information to you and I haven't found one person who has made an argument against it. I learned that in other countries the diversity of those countries is very little, as little as 1% in some countries; and with so little diversity, educating a populace is by far easier than in America. I also know that some countries only educate the very rich and the very intelligent. I'll contrast that to the American education system where everyone has the opportunity to receive an education. Now I want you to think about all the different types of people you know, have met, have seen laying on the street, in a subway, driving a car, on the television, and the list goes on and on and on. And you tell me if we should be comparing ourselves to any other nation in the world? Is it fair to compare our population and our diversity to a nation of all Finnish people? I mention Finland because THEY are the top nation in the world and as statistics and facts would have it, (for as a banker, I know you look at statistics and facts, also rightly so)Finland has based their educational system off of the American educational system. And if we compared only our very rich students (who by far receive the best education) and our very intelligent students, (who come by it naturally)then we are the top nation in the world by a long shot. However, your point has very much been made, we as educators need to stop complaining about our jobs. Teachers, if you don't like how education reform is going, well then get up and start talking to your congressmen and women! Those are the ones who can change educational reform and how our school system is set up, not this innocent citizen who has only spoken an opinion about what they have been educated on from the media today. I say that if you want the general public to hear what you know about the education system, then you need to start informing them of the facts, instead of complaining about the nuances of your job. For as life would have it now, people thrive off the negative and never look at the good until they are made to see it! I bet the author of this blog never thought she would get a reaction such as the one she has received and we should thank Zach for getting us all fired up to get some real reform going in the public school system.
      And Zach, please do not reply to this post, I believe you are a very well-educated man and I thank you for your frank honest opinion. You have the freedom to speak your mind any way you choose and have reminded teachers, just what the general public really thinks of them. If they want change, the only way to get it is to make it happen themselves.

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    33. A heckler....at his best.....with ill will for someone....who has her own blog with her own thoughts.....you know...freedom of speech. I never understood the heckler...so filled wiht negativity and vile feelings for others......but, alas, it does not change the positivity of the writer......it only detracts......and gives a perfect example....of how much tougher life is ....with a heckler in the mix.

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    35. Zach,

      I have been a military officer, corporate IT professional (coding/designing all the way to management), and a corporate trainer/systems administrator. Teaching middle school English is more difficult than all those jobs, and for the most part teachers cram an entire work year ( estimated large systems projects so I actually know how long a work year is) into the days school is officially open and paying them. And in ten years, I have never reused a year of lesson plans.

      You truly have no clue.

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    36. "Business." In your heavily researched quote, you left out the word "business." Also, the word "gentlemen" should be capitalized. I do not have enough time to go into your punctuation. I understand you are "just" a troller, trying to get under the skin and raise the hackles of hard-working, under-paid, yet dedicated professionals. I suggest you limit your use of profane descriptors (ie: "zipper-heads) and instead use your time to research the teaching profession in order to create a thoughtful, insightful reply. We are well educated, frustrated with the constant change thrown at us, ready & eager to edit a poorly written blog reply, stand behind our fellow teachers, and (according to you) have plenty of free time to nit-pick and blast you right back.
      Ignorance is bliss. You certainly live a blissful life. I am glad I am not as lucky as you.
      #badassteachers
      @BadassTeachersA

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    37. Zach, you just made yourself sound like a stupid unaware idiot. I've worked in both worlds. I actually got to use the bathroom, and eat lunch sitting down while at my "other" job. Tell me Zach, do you come home and work until 12 midnight without stopping to eat dinner? Do you really think teachers work at school from 8:30 to 4:00? Our school schedules are more like 7:00 to 6:00, and then home working until 11 or 12 midnight. And weekends - hahahaha! We have none during the school year. Why do you think so many teachers leave for "other" professional positions? How hard do you think it is for them to give up their summers off?

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    38. Democrat said it first. Liberal said it second. You didn't even have to waste your time and energy convincing us your are a ding-dong.

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  9. Thank you! Don't forget the clothes for the child who never knows new, clean clothes. Also, the Fridays you sneak food to a child to make sure he/she has something to eat on the weekend.

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    1. C.L. Johnson... wonderful addition <3

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  12. Zack- You wrote your hurtful words very well. Have you ever thanked a teacher for teaching you the skills it took to do that? Just asking. I wish you well.

    This is the BEST and most inspirational post I have read in a long time! I love my job and do it because I care. I care about the students and their families, and I care about the future of our country.

    Wishing all teachers WELL,

    MP

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  13. Your statement is absolutely ridiculous and insulting to those of us who work in the same world in other professions, be they rooted in the private or public sector.
    Unless you work in the bowels of the public school system of a major urban area city school, your work place environment is far better than the average workplace of just about 70% of all workers.
    am a huge supporter of public education and public school teachers, but it is like pins and needles in my eye when I hear you complain about the difficulty of your job compared to other professions.
    Your work schedule is ideal and set in stone. Yes, I do know that you have to go home and grade papers, God forbid, but most of us take our work home as well. And, we don't get the benefit of a three hour head start.
    Additionally most teachers and schools observed every federal holiday and just about Every ritual holiday on the calendar. Oh and did I mention? The majority of schools in the United States observe the arcane system of "Summer vacation" which is a agricultural-based system set in motion in the early 20th century so that children would be home to help with crop raising or other business that the family may have endeavored.


    Teaching, like any profession, is a skill that requires a good deal of study and repetition to perfect. However, once a teacher develops a tried and true lesson plan, they can basically use the same lesson plan year after year. Now that we are in the "digital age" that system may change a bit more frequently than in the past, but it is a very secure and steady work method. Please quit whining.

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    1. 70% of all professional workers? of workers whose educational qualifications match? based on what study? - or didn't your Master's program require you to analyze primary and secondary sources like mine did. No one's saying other professions aren't difficult. I would say, however, that other professions aren't always dictated to by those who have no expertise in their fields. For instance - does the American Medical Association consist of non-medical folks? I don't think so. But (hardworking) local school boards are seldom staffed by educators, and state/federal legislatures seldom consist of educators, and on it goes. At any rate, I love(d) teaching and still love educator, entering my 40th year. I could've earned millions as a professional baseball player - an occupation that brings many people joy, but is hardly necessary for the advancement of society - but - wait - I don't have the skill ! nuff said :)

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    2. Zach, I sit here at 5:30am on a Sunday two weeks before school starts with my Master's, two Bachelors, two Associates and have worked as an Executive in the private sector. I am creating documents for my incoming class this morning and have been for the last three weeks night and day much to my families dislike. I am the chair teacher in charge of six other teachers. I have endless meetings after school every day but one. I do not get paid for this. I work Monday through Thursday 6:30am to 4:00pm (that includes my meetings and Friday 6:30am to 3:30pm.)
      On Saturdays I go into work for 4 hours to set up for the next week. I spend on the average$ 700.00 a year on my students out of pocket. I attend at the least 12 evening events throughout the year that gets me home around 9:00pm AFTER working my regular work day.
      I have taken in students and families of students to live with me over my 13 years of teaching (one’s mother was arrested for drugs and she came to me and asked me to take her child while she went to jail and rehab) I have taken in children and their families who lost their homes to foreclosure, divorce, abuse, and fire. I myself have a family and children. I make fewer than $50,000 a year with my degrees and am required to continue my education with a total of 120 additional hours in five years ON MY OWN TIME.
      I spend my summers working a host of jobs because teaching does not afford me to send my own children to college. I spend at least 2 hours an evening and most evenings 4 hours grading papers and filling out paperwork required of me that I cannot fill out during the work hours because I am busy teaching students.
      I do not get a pee break. I get one break a day for 40 minutes at 1:10pm to pee and eat. (Let’s remember that I have been in the building since 6:30am) After I drop my students off, talk to any of the following about a troubled student: counselor, principal or interventionist and then go pick them back up, I may get a 20 minute break. That is IF I am not in training, I.E.P., parent conference or evaluation meeting. Yes, they are planned on my break time so that a sub is not required. NO, I do not get a lunch break for I eat with the children who in that 20 minutes need things opened and most often do not handle the time wisely and I must intervene.

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    3. I most often have anywhere of 20 to 32 students in my room. The average year gives me 25 squirming seven year olds. I become their everything: teacher, mother, father, nurse, counselor, and friend. I must teach them an ever changing curriculum, be held accountable if they do not pass the state standardized test all the while being evaluated at the least once every two weeks by a host of many people from my principal, reading specialist, math specialist, a panel of leadership team members, district office personnel and the host of anyone who would like to come and watch me teacher from parents to community residents. I am also given new teachers to train on the job from the local colleges and high school students to introduce to teaching who are enrolled in career courses. Each comes with mounds of paperwork.
      I am expected to call and conference with parents on a regular bases and schedule all those appointment times (on average I meet with at least 30 sets to accommodate children with two sets of parents) and this is AFTER my work hours and again I do not get paid for this. In addition I am to find a service learning project to support with my students. I organize events and collect money and complete races, runs, walks, skates to support organizations such as cancer research.
      I lived through 911 and the sniper of VA with students. I held crying children in locked downed rooms while we got the news of 911. I had students whose parents were in the Pentagon when it was hit. I used my body as did all my fellow colleagues, as a shield to make lines on the bus ramp so that we could get the students in and out of the building during the sniper. I spent weeks in a room with 27 students who came in each morning to tell about the shooting at the Michael’s Craft store the one I just went to the night before. I practice hiding my students in my room in the dark while administration shakes my door handle loudly to resemble intruders in the building all the while keeping those squirming seven years olds calm and quiet.
      So Zach, come walk in my shoes. You have no idea what it is like to be a teacher or a spouse of a teacher who gets talked into coming to school for community service day, spend their evenings running around to football games, baseball games, softball games, dance recitals, of children they do not know. Or get calls to meet at school to move, lift, hang, create a host of many objects to make children an atmosphere that all children can feel safe and open for learning.
      I chose this profession. I do not complain or moan about it. I love it. I endure the low pay and the long hours. I do it because it is an important job. I do not belittle other professions nor am I saying mine is more important or harder than anyone else’s. I understand that other professions have their ups and downs as well. I get to spend my days with the most amazing people. Children. I laugh every day and my “co-workers” hug me as they leave and thank me. I do it for them. I am making a difference one child at a time one day at a time.

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    4. I love teaching. I'll say it again...I love teaching! I work without a conference period often. I plan meetings for students who are in multiple grade levels. I teach Students with special needs. I love what I do. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my students. Those who get it know this and are appreciative...especially when their education is based on someone who stood in front of them from kindergarten to 12th grade teaching them. How do you not acknowledge this. And then when you graduate it is the professors, trainers, and professional development coaches that prepare you for your career. So for someone to think that a teacher who is asking for real acknowledgement in the workforce pyramid is whining about our belittling the careers that their students are most likely aspiring to be is ludicrous. This is a statement to fellow teachers. And by the way, the salary I spread out over 12 months is not supplemented. I love teaching. My own children help me every year set up for children they will never have contact with. I spend on my students money that I will never get back. I love teaching. I love when they get it. I love the little successes and the big ones. I teach because I have always wanted to and can't see myself doing anything else.

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    5. Zach, every profession has highs and lows, but your analysis of a teachers duties is completely incorrect. Not sure were you are getting the following:
      Three hour head start? Few teachers leave at the end of contract hours! Most come in early.
      Reuse lesson plans? We often reuse activities; but changes in grade levels, classes, curriculum, and students require us to make new lessons.
      Working from home? Yes, when I was an accountant I brought work home, but it was never the amount that I do now.
      Working conditions? I work in a school that was built in 1960, it needs to be torn down or gutted. We cannot use the restroom anytime we want. Some students are violent. I have had classes of 40 students in a room with 36 desks. As an accountant I never bought my own supplies.
      Work schedule set in stone? After school we tutor, hold club meetings, coach sports, conference with parents, make home visits, mentor, attend open house and other school events.
      I am grateful for firefighters, police, and servicemen....they truly face challenges.
      I love my job and when I stop loving it I will leave. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing my knowledge with my kids. No complaints here!

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  14. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article! There are a lot of tough professions out there. Every job has their pros and cons as well as the tough work that comes with it.

    Teaching is hard work, but it is incredibly rewarding! It is hard for others to understand the difficulties that come with it unless they too are a teacher- or if they have a close love one that is a teacher.

    Zach, while it's true that teachers can reuse lesson plans it isn't always to the advantage of the teacher or students. Every group of students is different- and what works well with one class of students may not work well for the students you have the following year. A sales person may develop an awesome pitch for a product and sell it, but that same seemingly wonderful sales pitch may not work on everyone. Every audience is different and we have to adapt and change things to meet their needs.

    Also developing new lessons pushes teachers to be more creative and find multiple ways to teach a topic. How boring would it be if we always did things the exact same way! :-)

    Thank you for this wonderful post and for being a teacher! Good luck with everything in the fall!

    -A First Year Teacher :-)

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  15. Thank you Star for replying to the nasty comment. This post was not about putting down other professions it was about uplifting teachers and helping others realize all the work that goes into being a teacher. I have been at work the last three weeks that are not contract days meaning I am not being paid for it. Please let me know what other profession has that happen.

    Beautiful post! It is exactly how I feel as a teacher. The hands on the hips has been me all week.

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  16. As a third year teacher, I thank you from the very depths of my being for writing such an eloquently worded post. It warms my heart to see someone put into words every emotion I am feeling. To this Zach fellow, please let me just give you a word of advice.

    You got where you are today with your pretty master's degree and your democratic ideas because of a teacher- actually multiple teachers. If you are not in the education field, please do not tell us to "quit whining"- you have not one inkling what our lives our like and please do not pretend like you do. I find your post to be extremely insulting and quite honestly, uncalled for. Who cares if you are a white southern male? Who cares if you are a democrat? and really.... must we throw the Master's Degree in our face? If you really think this is so easy- why don't you do it? Teach. Walk into a classroom full of adolescents and come out with your sanity. Odds are, you won't.

    Jennie, thank you immensely for your post. As a fellow educator, I salute you!
    Best wishes for the new school year!


    Karie
    anchoredinthemiddle.blogspot.com

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  17. Aw, Zach, you've clearly missed your calling. Don't worry -- it's not too late to get your life together and become a teacher. After all, you have that Master's degree you're so darn proud of. Then you, too, can start learning about the recent (and ongoing) implementation of Common Core State Standards and their accompanying online assessments, and data mining by the school systems to aid corporate fat cats. Then you, too, can be constantly expected to do your job without asking questions. Mind you, the WAY you will have to do your job (including the curricula used) will actually change every year at the behest of not just your school, then your local school board, but also the state school board, and the US Department of Education. And when you hear your principal tell you that you can expect that the kids won't do so well on the new online Common Core-aligned assessments, and that your job will be in jeopardy because of that, you can always fall back on your southern white maleness, right? Perhaps you could use your liberal-minded agenda to show a little tolerance for others, and help protect the civil rights that are being taken away at every turn (did I mention data mining of schoolchildren?), instead of bashing what is clearly a well-meaning, caring, young teacher.

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    1. Thank you for such a well stated reply!!! I have worked in the education field for almost 30 years and each year i gain more and more respect for what teachers do and less for the government agencies that can't seem to understand how best to support teachers and students in our schools.

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  18. Great post. I'm starting my 27th year of teaching. National Board Certified, Masters Degree, Specialist Degree in Administration, and I am still standing there that first day of pre-planning with my hands on my hips, making several trips to the Jeep to get bags of stuff I have purchased for the classroom, and each year is always different from the previous. If you can read this, thank a teacher, and if you understand this you must be a teacher! 2 months off........as if!

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  19. Well said Jennie! As a teacher for 25 years, with 4 degrees (2 are master's, Zach), it is spot on with what you said. Meetings in the summer, new curriculum, plus new books this year make it a LOT of extra work. Our hours are not set from 7:30-3:00. You also do hours, days, weeks, of research to stay current (who can say Common Core?) and provide the best for your students. My students are always on my heart. It is not something you can turn off and be done with for the day. Especially when you are fighting for a child's well being, and helping them through a stint at alternative school, living with a foster parent indefinitely, even after a parent got out of jail, losing said home while in jail.......I could go on and on. And that is just 1 of close to 100 I teach. So many think we get paid all year for 10 months of work. Wrong! Our pay is spread out over 12 months, but we don't get paid for so called "8 weeks of vacation!" ("Vacation" consisting of all the aforementioned meetings and training, taking ourselves and our own kids to all those professionals: doctor, dentist, eye exam, meeting with insurance agents, updating banking or whatever else we don't have time to do during the actual school year because of everything being closed by the time we actually leave work!) ESPECIALLY when we stay late regularly to tutor! That doesn't begin to include the second job many have to do, just to pay the bills! (Said bills including what we pay out of pocket for a kid's lunch, or put on our credit card to make sure some kids DO have clothes, supplies, a coat because it's winter and they don't have one, etc...)(In one case I even gave a kid a sleeping bag because he had NO place to sleep at his home!) We also go to school events and support kids who aren't ours biologically, but they need us just as much! I could go on and on! Teaching is a calling for sure. "I went in teaching for the money!" said no one, EVER! We are not the only entity to get state holidays, but yet get singled out. We had a grand 5 whole days off this past year to have Christmas "vacation." Wait, that meant only 1 or 2 days to shop! I would love to see Zach spend time actually substituting in a school system for a bit, I bet he would have a different opinion of our job! We dry their tears, doctor their boo-boos, counsel their drama, and so much more! Being a teacher is a gift! We are the ones blessed in so many ways!

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    1. Yeah, I wonder what Zach would do if he were in some of the situations I and my colleagues have found ourselves in? Having a child come to school with a black eye and bloody lip and tell you their stepfather attacked them last night for standing up for their mom... only to have the student change his story when the cops (that you called, because that's your job) get there because he knows his stepfather will just beat him more if he reports him? Or the time a child broke her finger at school and I, the science teacher, had to call her mother to tell her that it was broken, only to have the mother tell me "Oh, she'll be okay, it's not the end of the world." Or the time a child nearly died from a severe Grand Mal seizure and his parents didn't even go to the hospital (his teachers did) because they were too busy to be bothered... what do you do when you are faced with those things? All the Masters degrees in the world can't help you then.

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    2. I could add so much more! I also had a child that fell out of her desk as I was walking around during the lesson, and she had a grand mal seizure for the first time in her life. It lasted for over FIVE minutes! Luckily I had well trained kids who immediately got another teacher as I helped the student. They then all waited in the hall as other teachers came to assist, the school nurse got there, paramedics got there, and finally a parent. We have had children who have no idea where they will go after school from day to day, or who will pick them up, or whether to ride the bus....Sometimes children don't get to go back home. In the K-12 school I work at, I've seen them go to jail, or DHR takes them to a safe situation. Tell me how you can teach when they have THAT on their mind. I've even had to deal with students who have had suicide in their immediate family. One year, 2 little girls and their mother were murdered. At the time, I was teaching kindergarten, and had one of them two years earlier. They were aged 5 and 7. How do you help students deal with that, at those ages? I've had kids lose parents during the school year. I have taught middle school for the past 14 years, and every day is like a soap opera! As for maternity leave, it is NOT paid for to us, we have to use sick days. Imagine! I could touch on so much more we deal with that occurs to me as I read these comments. We give up the right to go to Wal-Mart incognito, since we are always called out to like we are rock stars! (Always when you have on no makeup, and have just been in the garden). This is by kids or adults we don't even know, but they know us by association! I am not complaining about any of it. I chose it. I wouldn't continue to do it after 25 years if I didn't love it. My comments are merely the facts and observations about my job.

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  20. Thank you for being a teacher. You obviously care greatly about your students and your profession. We are lucky to have educators such as yourself. Let us not fall into the trap of comparing (in a negative way) the efforts of individuals who work in other fields. Work is hard -- whether you work in an office or a classroom or (especially) outside in the elements or in a dangerous situation (as are some of our classrooms, unfortunately). Yes, certainly, the summer breaks (and the other breaks) are unusual and generous perquisites that many (not all) teachers have, but the writer also presents some of the unusual challenges that those same teachers face. The bottom line is that all work is challenging and, if done well, is worthy. Well done, good teachers!

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  21. This was a *perfect* article and the comments have been enlightening. One thing about being in a 9-on-2-off-6-for-the-summer schedule is that we have already been back for 3 weeks, back to routine, and I get to read these blog posts from a different viewpoint -- one of looking back. The beginning of the year is so HARD. . .not just the change in schedule of course, but the new regulations, new students, sometimes moving from a subject, room, or school (not always a "choice"). . .so glad teachers have time to sit down and reflect on these days and have the gift to do so with such vivid words. Zach is just a representation of what is driving our data-driven society -- people who do not believe that teachers actually "work", so we must continually be regulated. It's a sad state but yet, the teachers still continue to fill the classroom -- our spirit is not quenched! I think the character of most teachers of the world came through in the responses too. . .teachers are not people who immediately take defense and begin arguing because we have a Zach or two or three or eight every year in or out of our classrooms. We take a kind voice, a tolerant voice, a voice trying to reason with those who come to us with their own hurts and bruises and scars. Those hecklers, Zach, are students that we are still responsible for -- and we are happy to take on the responsibility of educating even YOU, because you matter. . .just like every other student we have (this year that would be 150+ for me). Teaching is more of an emotional investment, something that *cannot* be measured -- and I thank every teacher I ever had and each and every one that has cared for and nurtured my own children!!!

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    1. I've always sais God lets us forget the first days back so we'll have the strength to do it again :)

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  22. Because my response to Zach was so long.......it wouldn't post. Here is my response on my blog.

    http://commoncoretoolbox.blogspot.com/

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  23. Bravo! You really captured those first teacher work days! People like the much-maligned Zach will never understand, and that's ok. Who needs them?

    What people will also never understand is the way teachers, professionals with degrees, are paid. Next week, I begin my twentieth year as a proud 7th grade teacher. This year, in North Carolina I will do so with the state-wide loss of tenure and due process. We have not been given a raise since my 14th year. Sure, we never went into this for the money, but many of the young teachers I mentor- who have advanced degrees- qualify for public assistance. Can any other highly-qualified profession say that?

    Last year, on one of those treasured 'lunch days' a colleague and I were in a car that was hit by a man doing 90 mph. As I lay in the hospital's level II trauma ward for two days, all I could do was think about, besides how my own children almost lost me, was how my classroom would not be ready, and beg them to let me out for the first day of school. My friends and family with 'regular jobs' just didn't get it.

    Bless their hearts, they never will.
    My favorite quote is 'I Teach. What's Your Superpower?". It says everything we all know about the job we love.

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  24. Thank you. We're in this together! It is a calling. It's encouraging to know how much we are needed as we work diligently to shape the minds of the present and future of our societies and world. Be blessed as you begin an awesome new year!

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  25. Excellent blog post! Everyone have a great school year!

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  26. Thank you for the wonderful post. There will always be those who think that teachers are just babysitters that collect money over the summer for nothing, reuse the same old lesson plans, and whine about how hard our job is.
    So what? We do what we do everyday for our students...not for them. I live for that moment when that something just clicks with a student.
    When we whine, we are just kidding. We all know that there is no other profession that we would want to be in. It is hard, we know it and we LOVE it!

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  27. Thanks for this reminder and encouragement on the eve of the new school year! Even if "they" don't get it, we do, and our kids will, too! Just what I needed to get finished with those many projects I worked on this summer :) Have a great year!!

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  28. What a wonderful and timely post! As I end my summer today and take my walk back into my building tomorrow this is exactly how I feel. Thank you for expressing what we really do.

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  29. Thanks for the post! I am beginning my 16th year, and it does get harder every year--more red tape, more meetings that take me away from my students.

    Just wondering what Zach does for a living--seems like he is pretty angry. And we don't whine, we observe and make comments about our chosen career paths. I think we have all earned that right.

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  30. I'm pretty sure I had Zach in my daycare! He was the one that wouldn't try his green beans because it's a free country, and couldn't see that I only wanted him to be healthy, despite his all knowing powers. But I tricked him and told him it was the number one food fueling the NINJA TURTLES! I loved him anyhow! He made me smile! We all get it! Have a great year teachers! My best friend is an elementary teacher, and I "get it!"

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. If a daycare provider isn't allowed to post in a teacher forum, then I suggest a certain "banker" should meander along and leave the teachers alone, as well. Ta-ta, now.

      By the way, kidsrme, thank you for choosing to take on the responsibility of caring for the tiniest, most vulnerable children, and teaching (yes, teaching) them the basic skills and coping mechanisms to be properly socialized and ready for school.

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    3. Zach, why the anger?
      I have been a special education teacher (one who really taught to the student's capabilities) for 16 years. I now teach at a private psych hospital. By law, we still teach 6 hrs a day, 5 days a week, and 180 days a year. I find and attend 60 hrs of in-service training a year, on my own.
      I can have up to 16 students, from pre-K to 6th grade, regular students and sped students. Most students have long term medications withdrawn the first few days of their stay. These students have been raped, tortured, sold, and the majority are in the revolving door of foster care. Some have organic mental illness (bi-polar, schizophrenic, etc.)
      Chair throwing erupts about 5 times a day. I am alone with the students in the classroom all day, but there is an emergency backup crew of muscular young men and women.
      I do not tell you this because I am 'whining'. I choose the job that I felt I could make a little difference in someone's life. And yet, even with the horrible things these children have had done to them, very few seem to be as angry as you. By the way, we do have an adult unit.

      Delete
  31. I was in the military for 10 years, then worked at a "regular" job for about 5 years before going back to school and becoming a teacher. Now I'm about to start my fifth year teaching and I have to tell you, this is the hardest job I've ever done. But it is also one of the most rewarding.

    I love how succinctly this article was written. It sums up how I've been feeling the last couple weeks. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have to admit that I have not read all of the above replies. However, I am a retired teacher/principal/professor with over 40 years experience in the field. I would still be in the field if not for health problems.

    I want to add that my fellow educators were so compassionate that they actually bled for their students. Living near St. Jude Children's Hospital, we often had students who were patients there. We would go to the hospital in large numbers to donate our blood and platelets for our students.

    I wonder if Zack would have done that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I would ma'am. I work 50 hrs/week, teach guitar, and still take the time to tudor a kid who has made it through the 7th grade and cannot multiply 12x10. His teachers have failed him. He was in a county school system and now, having moved into the local city school system, is completely under water. In fact, it is sad that in my city, there is a week where parents from the county camp out in line like they were waiting on Beatles reunion tickets to get a chance to enroll their child into the city schools, and pay the tuition. That sux! Don't question my compassion or sense of empathy, just try to teach these kids 9^2 by the time they are 13!....Zach

      Delete
    2. by the way, "bonnie," it's pretty despicable that you would use sick children and the great institution of St Judes to make a smart aleck remark questioning my own deeply personal feelings of compassion and charity. You people are really low blowers. I actually think LESS of this particular group of educators than I did after reading the initial "I have to get up at NINE-THIRTY now..." article. Christ sakes folks, y'all sum nasty buggers...

      Delete
    3. Zach, dear, you spelled "tutor" incorrectly. And you need a comma between "sakes" and "folks". Now run along and play with your money...

      Delete
    4. Zach,
      If a 7th grader cannot multiply... it was his parents who failed him.

      Delete
    5. My 2nd grade teacher started us on our multiplication tables. Only if he was homeschooled, meaning his teachers were parents, (they weren't , by the way-one had died and the mother had drug problems-he lived with his stable grandparents) would that apply. His teachers and ultimately his school just passed em on down the line. Failed the kid badly. This was, as I said, a county school. Nevertheless, multiplication deficiency=teaching deficiency....

      Delete
    6. Teachers cannot control the tragedy of someone's life. Poor kid...he did not deserve a drug addicted mother.

      But i have a question....Did no one at that county school know how to multiply..or is it an isolated case? Did you do any research on the school district? How many days of school did the child miss while under the care of his mother? How was his nutrition atthe time? All of these factors play a role?

      The only factor that the teacher can control is delivering lessons...the rest are parent controlled.

      I say it again...his parents failed him.

      How could they not know?

      Delete
  33. Dear Z.P. Pierce, I challenge you to spend the first 2 weeks with me in my first grade classroom with 33 first graders! I guarantee you will be running away with your opinionated yet ignorant tail between your legs before that 2 weeks is up. Bless your heart. You really don't get it. (insert eyeball roll.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Why do I doubt ZP is really who he "pretends" to be? Have bankers and teachers in my family and I have never experienced such vitriol from a professional banker and over the top antagonistic behaviors as he demonstrated. The competencies that I thought successful bankers possessed were focused on rational and measured approaches in analyzing situational conflict that are solution based. I smell an fake.....

      Delete
    3. Real Deal....Series 7, 63 & 66 NASD/FINRA licensed investment rep since 2003, worked for Wachovia, UBS an current employer not to be named because of the crazies on this journal....

      Delete
  34. Great post...thanks for expressing the fear and excitement we all have

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  35. Zach sure is quiet now. Where is the respect?

    WONDERFUL! Have a great school year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey teacher. No I just had a lawn to mow (oh my god, how tuff it is...)...get over it.

      Delete
  36. I don't want Zach to be the only male represented here, so I guess I will speak up... Like Zach, I have my Master's degree, am a liberal, and have worked in the "professional" world for many years. However, I have taught elementary school for 7 years and it requires more planning and energy than he or any non-teacher can imagine. I don't know where he received his education, but it was probably from teachers. My only critique of the blog post was that it was gender specific. I work my backside off as the only male teacher in a school with about 30 teachers and it gets old hearing teachers referred to as "she" or "her". I know it comes from the perspective of the author, but we don't want to read articles where every time a doctor, lawyer, or high ranking official is referred to as "he" or "his". I consider the work I do more important than most teachers because I am the only male influence on many of the children. If more men would get into the profession, maybe we could eliminate thinking like that of Zach who see it as "woman's work" and therefore not worthy of notice or compensation.

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    1. You are implying that I believe that teacher's is somehow a woman's work-very offensive and a huge assumption there, boy. My father was a teacher and my grandfather was a teacher, and then the best superintendent my school system has ever seen. You were way off on that-pal. Didn't anyone teach YOU about logic and fallacies and ad hominems....?

      Delete
    2. Steve, as a woman who works in a school with several male teachers, I thought the same thing as I read the post. Most of the time teachers are called "she" even though we have so many males in the "trenches" with us. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your "gender specific" observation. Thanks for what you do for the profession! :)

      Delete
    3. ZP, I bet your father and grandfather didn't teach in elementary school. No surprise that a superintendent is male. My brother is a banker and works with the richie rich folks. Kind of funny, because when *he* whines about his job hours, all I can think about is his $450,000 a year salary.

      Delete
    4. The tale gets taller with the telling

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    6. Thank you Steve. ..I too am a male...and I used to work in the private sector...I've been a teacher for 10 yrs now.

      You would think that with the amount of responses to Zach he'd consider that perhaps he might be mistaken...

      Delete
  37. This is a brilliant piece- I have been a teacher for the past 35 years and I still love teaching- the joys and the challenging and watching the little ones develop their sense of wonder of learning. I can so relate to the many feelings that you expressed in this touching post. Thanks for acknowledging the challenges and appreciating the many things that teachers do that are part of their job. Have a terrific school year.
    Regards from Alberta, Canada,
    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  38. so well said. i would add: loving the "raw material" you're given to work with but having no control over their "ingredients", little control over the tools, and total responsibility for the outcomes. beginning my 40th year (minus 1-1/2 total semesters of maternity leave) - like family: the best and worst of life is in this occupation - have a great year!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think the next person to imply that my job isn't challenging will be locked in the classroom with my students for the full day. They will be given cupcakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Jennifer! How diabolical! I love it!

      Delete
    2. Jennifer, you should also give them Kool Aid and rubber bands, too!

      Delete
  40. I am married to a teacher and I agree with everything said. Just one thing, though. Sometimes the "she: that you write about is sometimes a "he" and deserves recognition as well!

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  41. I have enjoyed these comments as I am a retired teacher who didnt start teaching until I was in my 40's. My prayer for public school teachers is that someday, somehow, enough will finally be enough. One morning we will all collectively wake up and say "Im not working free for one more hour. I will do the best job humanly possible during the hours I am paid to work but I will not work free because it belittles my profession and makes us seem less than professional.I will work to see that 'meet the teacher night' is not after hours and that activities such as school carnivals and hamburger suppers are restructured so that they take place during the school day if need be. I will help our local district understand that a teachers planning time should be uninterrupted so that we can work and never take work home.I will support the efforts of principals who insist that teachers not take work home and not work on Sundays. We have to start somewhere so why not start gradually, today? This school year? It can be done and will change the face of teaching. Anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  42. I just retired after teaching 35 years in 2nd grade. This past month has been a difficult one for me. For 35 years I have enjoyed setting up my "new" classroom for the new school year, shopping for school supplies, planning for the new year, & so much more. I didn't realize I would miss it so much. This piece brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for writing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sally, you don't have to miss it! Find the nearest elementary and VOLUNTEER! You will be loved!

      Delete
  43. Message for Mr. Zach: Please come visit my room and I will show you all the planning, preparation, phone calls, emails, training, in-service, committee meetings, purchasing, and money spent for me to just START my classroom year. And it's not all me! My principal, the school attendance clerk, school nurse, and our school secretary also put in a lot of time and effort to help us make sure our records are current, birth certificates and proof of residence are in order, and immunizations are updated. If it weren't for the front office staff, our work load would be much higher! When given our planning time each day (30 minutes)we are busy collaborating with our teammates, principal, and special needs or Title I personnel. So, Mr. Zach, come walk a mile in my shoes. You will come back feeling a little more humble and embarrassed about the shoes you are filling.

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    Replies
    1. No, I promise you I will not. Most teachers, notice that, as in my original posting, I say "most" have great work environments. Especially when compared to industrial and trade or manufacturing jobs. I am completely not embarrassed. What DOES embarrass me is how weak and thin-skinned SOME of the people in this forum are. Do you get months off in the summer? It's a yes or no question?

      Delete
    2. No, that's a fallacy (a false or mistaken idea)! Thank some of those teachers in your life that you know that, and a few other big words. My statement was a comparison to rock stars, since I can't go anywhere without being recognized by someone I don't know. I never said I was a rock star. Plus, we are having a healthy debate it seems. Yes, I took debate in college. After all, we debate daily with our students. Thin skinned? I think not! Those folks don't last in our profession. We have to earn the respect of all students, their parents, administration, etc. We are just explaining what our job entails, not whining, or anything else. We are also the ultimate secret keepers, unless it would hurt a child, then we are required by law to report it. We are "like" doctors and lawyers in that respect-confidentiality! We wear many hats. That doesn't mean we have the degree for all of those jobs. I love that you are tutoring a student. One student is not representative of all kids. Any associations or ideas you get about teaching or teachers, based on your interaction with one student is not nearly enough to make a valid argument about the general population. Just like one teacher is not representative of the whole group. Each child, and teacher, should be judged on their own merits.

      Delete
    3. I guess the months in the summer question is valid. This is a black and white question however, with a gray answer. Yes, I am on vacation from teaching students (2 1/2 months), but am I on vacation from my career? Absolutely not. In the last 4 weeks, I have spent about 4 days a week working between 5 and 7 hours in my classroom to prepare. I have spent about 10 additional hours a week lesson planning. I have also attended 3 separate professional development workshops (paid for by me). So the last 4 weeks, I have worked between 30 and 38 hours, unpaid as an educator. On top of that, I work a second job year round to help pay for things (20 hours a week during the summer at minimum). So, from education I get about 6 weeks in the summer, a week and a half at Christmas, a week in the spring, 2 days in the fall, 2 at thanksgiving, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Presidents Day. That adds up to 10 weeks total unpaid actual time off for me a year (i say for me because some other educators could work more or a little less preparing for their school year). My husband currently gets 6 weeks PAID vacation a year as a software developer that he can take any time during the year. He also receives about 10 federal holidays (including Christmas, Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day, plus others I am blanking on right now). This adds up to 8 weeks PAID time off. So, essentially, I get 2 weeks more than him, but I don't get paid for it. How does my time off make my job easier simply because I get most of it in one big clump?


      I love my job and while it is hard at times, I in no way compare it to or believe it to be anything like working in a factory. I know there are harder jobs, both physically and mentally. I know that I am lucky to have any vacation time. What we as teachers are asking is that people understand the hard, extra behind the scenes work that goes into being a teacher that few people, aside from our families, ever see. More than the time, teaching is emotional. You fall in love with these children and they become a part of your thoughts all the time. Their struggles become yours and it is impossible to leave at school at the end of the day. Would i change that? Not in the slightest. My love for those kids is why i teach. It's easy to think we have a 7 1/2 hour day, 9 months out of the year but it takes so much more than that to be a successful educator! If you are putting in the bare minimum, you probably aren't doing your job very well. In no way is this reply meant to rant, whine about my profession or become a "Peggy Hill". I just thought maybe comparing our "vacation" to someone else's profession with numbers and details would give a better example of what other teachers have said.

      I guess my question to you is, how much time as a banker do you receive as vacation during the year? Do you also receive federal holidays? I'm asking these questions rhetorically in hopes you can examine your own time off and realize we do not receive that much more than many other professions in comparison, and ours is all unpaid.

      Delete
    4. "Time off"....no we do not get 2 1/2 months of time off...we get a week of pd sick/vaca time off (at most). The 2 1/2 months are unpaid. Like your weekends..... Zach.

      Delete
  44. Wonderful piece! Thanks for writing this. SO FUNNY about standing, hands on hips, surveying the room to see what needs to be done! It's going to be a GREAT school year! Best of luck to you.

    And as far as Zach is concerned...all you can do is shake your head and laugh, because he has NO. IDEA. Lol.

    -Gayla
    Teach On.

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    Replies
    1. YES. I. DO. You have no knowledge of my background and life experiences. So you, my friend are committing a fallacy known as an ad hominem attack, which I learned in HONORS ENGLISH while in high school from a wonderful teacher who had a Ph.D and was a former boxer. Bad form. You should know better. Or, would your students write that last part "no better." We are getting slaughtered in education here in America compared to other developed countries. Thanks for your lame assumptions. Zach Pierce

      Delete
    2. Hey troll, get off this blog. Chastising others in a grandfatherly fashion and then using the word "lame," you're still in grad-school aren't you?

      Delete
  45. Thank you - and as an avid Moms In Prayer warrior, we attempt to pray for the school, and for each teacher by name for the patience and energy to do the things you've listed.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I worked in the private sector at 4 different careers, white and blue collar, for 20 years before becoming a teacher. After 20 years of teaching, I have concluded that teaching is quantum leaps more difficult and also more rewarding than any other career I have observed.

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. I just experienced many waves of emotion in reading this blog and through the comments.

    Jennie, thank you for writing. I often use the same analogy of teaching as an 8 hour performance on stage. Your insights are remarkably spot-on.

    Zach, given the inflammatory and ill-informed nature of your comments, I encourage you to do some research. Hopefully this can be a great learning experience for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please inform me of what I am apparently ill-informed, madam. Simply because an idea might not fall into total alignment with your mental paradigm, does not make that idea or expression inflammatory. Unless you are proving my point about the whining and apparent thin-skinned nature seems to hang over you. This is incredible. To disagree (I know. English teachers, you shouldn't start a sentence with a gerund)with the general hypothesis and then be slammed for it almost to a man in this forum makes me feel as thought I am dealing with a fascist group. It appears to me that the basic response is "you better agree with us on every point and don't think for yourself." That, my friend is a fascist dogma.

      Delete
    2. Zach,
      Now you are becoming extremely defensive and even more insulting. What you really "don't get" is that you offended every teacher by calling it "whining." The original blog was NOT whining, it was just expressing those back-to-the-daily-challenge feelings. She said Teaching is hard, but it is GOOD. I hope you see how many teachers are saying, "Spot on."
      I am glad to see that you are working a little with a kid who just has not responded to his teacher's best efforts. I am sure those teachers really tried to get him to learn to multiply. Did he really try? Have you been any more successful teaching him to memorize a few math skills since you can work with him one-to-one than his teachers did in a full classroom? When you say, "His teachers failed him." Are you saying they held him back a year or are you saying they failed at their job? How was his attendance in those precious early years? Does he have learning disabilities? Did he need special services? Were those special services available in his district? How much reinforcement did his parents give as he should have learned those basic math skills?

      Zach, Teaching is so much more complex than you are giving credit for. Be kind to teachers who are giving their all.

      Delete
  49. Wow! You certainly hit the nail on the head with this. I head back to work on August 19th and I still do NOT know what I am teaching. Thanks for a great blog post!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I never thought about it this way. It is my wish that my grandchildren have a teacher like you this year as opposed to the coach my grandson had last year that called him names and cursed at him. When I confronted the Vice Principle it became his word against my grandson. Who lost out? My grandson, of course. Not only has he no respect for teachers, he also hates school. He was in the 7th grade. I raised his mother and keeping a child in school for 13 years is hard as it is. He came to me today, the first day of school, to tell me that he thinks this year will be better. His new coach is cool and his teachers are nice. Thank you, God! If this continues, I will thank the teachers. I respect teachers because I know quite a few of them. Only one of which has taught any of my grandchildren. This is one job I could never do. I tried it for 3 days and it was not for me! Thanks Jenny Scott for giving me something to think about when my grandchildren bring home their report cards and they have achieved a good grade. It is because they are working with a good teacher. Please notice that I said WITH. Thanks Jenny and all of the other teachers in this blog. You obviously care about your students. That is amazing!
    Luanne

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    Replies
    1. Luanne, it is not too early to thank that coach and that school for helping your grandson get off to a better start this year! A short e-mail would be a great 'ice breaker' especially since they may not know he 'hates school'. Invite them to email you with any questions and that you look forward to working WITH them all this school year to make Zach's school attitude a better one! Believe me those teachers do care!

      Delete
  51. Thank you for your service - and your heart!

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  52. None of you so-called "teachers" must have taken a civics lesson or a debate lesson. I hope to the good Lord that you surely aren't teaching civics or debate to students.

    Because, since I made a rational objective post last night, I have received nothing but ad hominem attacks on my own self. Most of these are made with ignorance and rage, rather than with careful thought out arguments.

    There is no wonder that our American education system is falling further and further behind that of other civilized nations.

    I am appalled and astounded at the reaction from the people in this forum, who are comparing themselves to actors and artists and rock 'n roll singers who are in some type of passion play or Ed Sullivan Show being watched with amazement by onlookers who jeer and throw tomatoes at you as if we were in some old vaudevillian style theatre.("run-on sentence!" says the properly trained English teacher) What a load?!

    Check it, you are not the Rolling Stones or John Lennon or Sir Laurence Olivier or Marlon Brando. To compare your selves as such is a farce and rather comical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you wanted a debate? Why didn't you say so in the first place instead of rambling about agricultural schedules and scolding teachers for supposed whining? Let's explore a few of your choicest assumptions in your original post about the perks of the teaching profession. Do understand, I am not whining; I am educating you.

      "Your work schedule is ideal and set in stone."

      My work schedule begins at 6:30 am when I arrive for the morning tutorials. That's not terrible, I will concede. While I do leave campus at 3:30 pm three or four days a week, one or two days a week I am there until anywhere from 5 to 8 pm. Most days I'm able to get the daily work graded before I go home, but on test and assessment days, my work isn't over until I give up sometime around midnight. My schedule during the day can be erratic. Sometimes a teacher is out without a sub scheduled and everyone has to pitch in and cover it happens about once every other week.) We have parents who show up during our conference period and catch us as we're exiting our rooms for our first trip to the restroom in 4 hours. I'm also expected at school on odd Saturdays for tutorials. Any preparations (printing out things for copies or putting together materials for lessons) happens during lunch and after school - volunteered, off-contract time for which we are not paid. It is obviously not set in stone, and "ideal" is based on one's perception - perhaps, for you, this sounds ideal. For some it is rather rigorous and exhausting.

      "Summer vacation"

      I'm not paid for anything that happens between June 6 and August 26. That doesn't mean I'm on "vacation." I have donated 160 hours of my time to work this summer - remember, it's not paid. Do you work four full-time weeks, unpaid, every year? This particular summer that time was spent planning for the new scope of teaching next year, because the entire sequence of the math curriculum in my state is being shifted forward. We have to shift everything forward and compress it so as to fit in an entire new unit at the end, teaching material that, last year, was considered Algebra II, not Algebra I. Other summers have been spent building curriculum for the Algebra Lab and for the Geometry intervention classes. Now, at this point I'm expecting you to follow established paramaters in this argument - the typical response is "You CHOSE to do this!" Well, as I said, I'm not whining about it. I'm just informing you that you got it wrong.

      "once a teacher develops a tried and true lesson plan, they can basically use the same lesson plan year after year."

      I just told you one reason that is not true. I've also already made my argument that one cannot even teach with the same method from one class period to the next, much less one year to the next.

      "I think it is insulting and denigrating for you to refer to parents as "hecklers" "

      That was an error on your part for not understanding that she meant the students. You are excused.

      "I am getting really tired, especially this time of year when I have to hear teacher friends whine about going back to work after two months of vacation."

      I've already debunked the "two months" portion. Now about the "having" to hear it: do you not have a small "x" at the top right hand portion of your screen that would remove this offending post from your eyesight? You didn't "have" to read it, and consequently, you didn't "have" to spend any time typing a response.

      Delete
    2. Jen H wins the debate...sorry ZP

      Delete
  53. Amazing commentary on teaching! It perfectly describes how I feel! :) Thanks for writing this! :) I hope everyone has a wonderful school year. We are one of the few professions that has our own "season". Yes, "Back to School" is considered a season!!! :)

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  54. The ONLY activity that will broaden Mr. Zach P's perspective on what a public school teaching job is like, is for him to actually work as a teacher for a few years - and I think middle school in a poor county school system would be the best setting to get the point across to him. Too bad that will most likely not fit in his misinformed paradigm.

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  55. Dear Zach,

    Thank you for your comments. In a few weeks I'll be starting back to school and my class will be blogging and commenting as part of a global project. (Of course this was in my lesson plan 20 years ago when I wrote that great plan I use year to year). You comment will be perfect to use as an example of how NOT to comment on another person's blog, as it is neither polite nor constructive. Thanks for a great example!

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  56. Thank you to everyone who has left a kind comment. I appreciate the passion you are showing, but I just encourage you to be respectful of those with differing opinions. I don't want to remove anyone's comments, but I also don't want this to become a place where negativity is bred. Thanks so much!

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  57. Zach, Give it up. You are only digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole. You are making your position even more offensive.

    No teacher want to be compared with the rock stars you mentioned. I taught for 35 years and subbed for 10 and have been out of the classroom completely for two. Just the other day, as I walked into a WalMart store, I heard some students approaching from the back of the store, yelled "Hi, Mrs. Bry...." After the few years, it was fun for me to hear from them. But it does make one stop and check their image every time they go into a public place.

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  58. Gang!!!
    Don't feed the troll!
    We as teachers are better than that and we'd not let this stand in our classrooms. Let's not let it stand here!
    We know what we know. The troll knows what he knows. Let's leave it there.
    As teachers we've got bigger fish to fry.

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    Replies
    1. "There has to be at least one adult in the classroom....... Make it you!" I love that quote, wish I knew who said it originally.

      Delete
  59. Excellent article!

    The only thing I could possibly add is to also thank any MALE educators (teachers, professors, etc.) who you may see!

    Thank you so much, Jennie! I hope that you and all educators have a wonderful and productive year!

    Teaching changes lives!

    Dr. Gary Alan Davis
    Professor

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  60. ..sigh...

    Lack of Funding = Lack of Resources = Lack of Motivation (teaching) = Lack of Education.

    Did that sum it up?

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  61. I just wish I could "Like" many of these comments! Everyone have a great year! I for one am looking forward to being a part of 75 new families at last count! Plus, I'm done feeding the troll.

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    1. I was just thinking the same thing. :) Maybe we should suggest blogger get a like button for comments as well.

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  62. I will defend Zach P a little here. I am a college strength and conditioning coach. I am in the weight room from 5 am - 6pm or whenever the last person in the weightroom has decided that their guns are big enough for the day, and just so we are on the same page, I have put many PT's and doctors in the place when it comes to human anatomy and biomechanics. I know what I am talking about so no, I do not just yell for a living. I do not get summers off...in fact summers really mean nothing to me. The year never has a break in it. Also, I get paid roughly 10,000 less than teachers and some coaches do not even get benefits. However, I am not complaining because I love what I do. I am complaining about the not having benefits part but other than that I am peachy. Teachers make the job seem like it is a job. Teaching is a privilege and if you thought of it as such, we might not have blogs like this. As far as summers off goes. I personally think that is a joke. If anything, I believe that students should go year round. A) If you can stand being away from your kids that long then you don't deserve to be a teacher. I feel empty when I go loner than a week without my kids. B)Some of these kids in your school would benefit from going year round. Some of these kids live in terrible neighborhoods and the last thing we need as the kids spending more time there then needed. Your job is bigger than you...don't be selfish all the time. The biggest problem I have with teachers is that the tend to make their job harder than what it is. You should want these kids to do better. I worry when my kids go home for school breaks. I wonder if they are getting into trouble. Will the come back with terrible habits? I just worry because I feel more like a dad to these kids than a coach most of time and that is what keeps my loving my job. Before you want to put an elbow in my sternum, you must know my wife is a teacher at a middle school that is 100% free and reduced lunch( which technically should not matter because I believe kids with money are sometimes having a rough time as well...don't think money solves everything) and she can't stand when teacher either a) are excited about getting out for the summer or b) when teachers groan about going back to work. She is always thinking about her children during the summer...trust me, I know. I hear about it allll the time. I know more about these kids then some of their family members do. The hardest thing about the teacher/coaching/ or any other profession that deals with addressing the general public is that you have to keep your personality at a 10 the entire day because if you are energetic about what you are doing then who else will be. However, I will say this, if you think you are putting to much personality out everyday...quit and go find a cubicle job. I'm sure personality is not a prereq and you can mindlessly go through your whole day. If you truly believe deep down inside of you that you could be a roofer and deal with 110 degree heat with a smile on your face, then go right ahead. Please, do not make your job seem like a job. When it becomes that, you should quit my friend.

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    1. "Teachers make the job seem like its a job."
      What? Of course its a job. Teachers work their butt off to make sure their students get the best possible education. Now I can agree with you on some points. There are 2 main types of teachers. Those who are in it for the kids, and those who view it as no different from any other job. The good news is the latter usually do not stay in education very long, since it is a high stress job, even for those who love the kids. In fact its even MORE stressful for the good teachers, since because they care about the kids it involves MORE worry. Not to mention the fact that they spend their days getting cussed at, yelled at and disrespected by those very same kids that they love. So although not all teachers are in it for the right reasons, to say that it isn't a job is absolutely ridiculous. Its one of the most important jobs in the world, as it shapes the young minds that will be the future of our country. I also do not see any problem with them enjoying their "breaks". This is a great opportunity for them to recharge and be at their best for the next group of kids, and to prepare their lessons and other materials. If they had ample planning time during the year, it might be different. But planning time is almost non existent. They have to sacrifice time with their families in the evening to make sure they are prepared enough to hold the attention of the toughest audience around.

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  63. As far as should teachers get paid more for what they do...nope. The salary is fair for what you do. The problem really is that some professions should get paid less, however we as humans can never be satisfied with what we have and we always have to compare. However, should you get more respect. Yes and no. Yes, if you are doing your job for the betterment of the kids. Yes, if you put all you have into your job to allow your kids to make something of themselves. Yes, if you are proud to say you do what you do. No, if you just do it for the summers. No, if you just do it because it was your fall back and you treat it as so(you know there are many a teachers who are teachers because there college major didn't pan out for them and it was the easiest thing to do that paid a decent salary and gave benefits). I personally respect the heck out of most teachers because honestly the one thing that separates you from me is that I may or may not get my point across to my guys in a more um, whats the word, stern manner. Yea, we will use the word stern. So, if I were a teacher, I would fail however I did not start off as a teacher and therefore my skill set as far as how to reach my kids is much different. Had I had started off as a teacher then I would have been a good teacher because I wouldn't have adopted the habits I have. The way I coach works for my players and myself, and I'm sure the way you teach works for your kids and yourself. Also, I know some of you are thinking it.."Coaching is nothing compared to teaching. You are not dealing with kids who do not want to learn. Your athletes want to be there." If you truly believe every D I, II, III, and NAIA athlete wants to work out every day, you are in a fantasy world. I get more flack from my players than I promise you do as teachers. I have grown men who are most of time bigger than I am and who have heads the size of a watermelon when it comes to their talents. I want you to try and coach that. I have also worked at academies where the kids ranged from 8-21 so don't throw that younger kids are tougher crap at me. If you can teach, you can teach....if you can coach, you can coach. All teaching and coaching boils down to is the ability to relate in such a way to your athlete/student that they trust you enough to do what you ask of them knowing that it will benefit them in the long run. Ok, so that's enough of my tangent. I will end with this. Teachers rock and keep on teaching. You are probably one of the only things that can save this country.

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  64. First of all, let me say that I am a teacher and I did cry at the end of the article! Lol.....so thank you! I was interested I Zach P's comment because, frankly, I get tired of hearing people whine about summer also. I don't think it's good for the profession but certainly not all teachers 'whine,' nor do I think that's what this post was about. I also happen to agree that our agrarian calendar is outdated and should be reconsidered. However, i take issue with his comparisons to other professions like accounting and mining. Accountants work with numbers, and yes, they are accountable. But the money is either there or it's not. Period. And when it's not, unless the accountant has stolen it, it's not his fault. A miner goes into a mine every day to mine for something specific and comes out with it. Period. Teaching is kind of like being sent into a swamp to mine for gold. If you don't come back with any, you're a bad miner. I teach special education. Each year, I have to get high school students who are profoundly disabled to perform grade-level standards on grade-level. No modifications. Basically, I have to get a nonverbal student whose IQ is lower than thirty, who is cortically blind in the one eye that he has, while wearing his helmet so that he doesn't give himself further brain damage by beating himself in the head all day, to demonstrate the midpoint theory. And to sequence, compare abdcontrast Huck Finn, discuss the book among a peer group, and to analyze the characters. I also had to get him to demonstrate the voting process and make a timeline of Eleanor Roosevelt's life and show how she contributed to the lives of women and children during the Depression.

    I had to do all of that, and much more, with 16 students who are just as disabled. Of course, we would have to stop and take breaks when they had grand mal seizures, or when we had to change their diapers and feed them, which I don't mind one bit, and I did have to stop one time to pick up another student from the floor, where she fell from having a grand mal seizure that caused her to aspirate and choke...luckily, i'm trained in CPR and First Aid, so I saved her. After all of that, and much, much more, the least of which concerned my responsibility to uphold the rest of their individualized instruction, I did indeed turn in that portfolio as part of the state's standardized assessment. And guess what, Zach P? They all FAILED.

    So the next time an accountant is handed a bag of leaves and told to make somebody rich, and then has their professional reputation smeared across the news when those leaves just won't turn into dollar bills, Zach P, THEN we'll talk!

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    1. You ma'am should be given an award.

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    2. Amen! We roll with it! Not all children are a cookie cutter pattern. We get what we get, and we do the best we can! In so many cases, we have to meet their basic needs first, before they can begin to learn! Don't even get me started on NCLB!

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  65. People like Zach are the reason I homeschool, NOT teachers! I have enormous respect for every one of the teachers that taught my children in public school. I was the parent who did come to the school often to volunteer at anything I could just so I could spend time with my children. I saw a teacher holding a crying child while the whole school moved frantically around her. His mom had died over the summer and it was the first day and he NEEDED that hug! I observed first hand those "hecklers" and how the teachers HAD NO CHOICE but to keep putting up with their behavior because their hands are tied in the disciplinary sense, although I also saw some very creative disciplinary ideas as well. When my oldest got to middle school, more of her math time was spent watching one of those "hecklers" cause trouble for the teacher than learning math, yet she was still responsible for having that knowledge. I hated the one size fits all approach that got adopted in middle school, how the teachers and administrators had to treat ALL the kids like troublemakers. It was upsetting to my child, who is a pleaser. I decided to homeschool and it has been the best decision I ever made. Yes, there are days I would LOVE to send them to school so I can clean my house, or run errands. A homeschool mom is NEVER off! I know what it takes to get those lessons into those minds, and I am only dealing with three, although they are now high school, junior high and kindergarten, which is a bit of a challenge to plan and coordinate. So teachers, THANK YOU for what you do every day. Thank you for the time, the patience and the heartache you experience in the line of duty. Even though I am teaching my children, you are molding their future just as much by teaching their peers, and I appreciate your hard work. Have a great year.

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    1. Thank you for this! Reminds me that I need to hunt down Jose and check on him again this year. I had him as a freshman and he's a senior this year. He's had a rough time, but he always gives me a big hug and a smile when I find him on campus to ask if he's doing his homework. See, his dad had cancer, and neither of his parents were in the country legally.

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  66. Teachers. ...Educators....lend me your ears.....have you not experienced the students like ZP each year in your classroom? Grandstanding to gain attention even when it is so masochistic by incurring the wrath of peers and teachers indiscriminately. ...we all have discovered ....where there is smoke ...there's fire..... when an emotional diatribe such as we have witnessed is evident to such an extreme as in this blog. ...I say we wrap our loving teacher arms around ZP and him the educational "hug" he so cries out to receive

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    1. Amen!!!! I envision some of my 'favorite' students speakings Zach's words.

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  67. This is great and so right! Thank you!!

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  68. I loved my teachers, I love my children's teachers, and I love living in a country where free speech is encouraged and can be debated. Through honesty, we can see each others pains and can, hopefully, reciprocate in a loving way. Good teachers can always sleep well at night knowing they made a difference in the life of a child, wouldn't it be grand if we all had a job with rewards such as this? May God bless you all this coming school year.

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  69. wish I could pin this amazing post. You said it to a T!

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  70. I love this! I shared it on my facebook page Mindys fitness journey! I go back in 2 days... excited but I know that I am going to be exhausted til at least Thanksgiving :)

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  71. Well said. As I get ready for my 26th "first day of school" as a teacher, I can honestly say there is nothing I would rather do. I don't love everything about my job, but I do love every kid that walks through that door- even the ones who are "hard to love" because they don't love themselves, which is pretty sad when your are only six years old. Do I wish it were easier? Do I wish every parent would "show up" for their kid? Do I feel like screaming/crying/running away to join the circus some days? Do I wish I got paid more or even had the option for a bonus or raise - it has been 5 long years? Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. But I love these kids and love knowing that the job I does makes a difference. That somewhere out there, there is a kid, a teenager, an adult that thinks back and remembers something I taught them and how much I loved them.

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  72. Incredible how your words filled my heart with a peace, knowing someone else gets it. Thank you for writing from your heart. I hope you have a wonderful school year!

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  73. I was so incredibly reassured by this message!!!!!!

    I feel every single detail and emotion that you described and I am so glad to know that there is a support system teachers out there like yourself and the people commenting on this message. to all the teachers out there, good luck this year and I hope this one truly is your best! 0:)

    And Zack...I will pray for you.

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  74. Zach, I am trying to answer the post where you mentioned summer breaks. Every state has different school calendars, so I can only answer for my state. We are not required to report to our classrooms to teach during summer break as the students are not there. We are required to attend numerous trainings and meetings during summer breaks. That's why many teachers do not like to hear that they have the summer off when they know it's not true. That is my answer to your question. I am very sorry that the original post made you so angry. Trust me, I am a great teacher, and I can tell you this young woman was not whining. She was sharing what other great teachers feel. Unless you are (or are married to) a great teacher, you can not possibly understand. The same way I would not understand my neighbor's workplace frustrations-he works in a hospital. I do know that I would not assume that I knew more about how he could/should do his job. I'm sorry your son is having a hard time. Maybe that is why you seem to be so angry towards teachers. I'm a parent, too, but you shouldn't take your anger out here. As you can see, I'm not a great writer, and I break a lot of composition rules....I love commas! I am a math/science girl. If you lived near me, I would tutor your son for free. He would be able to understand and would thoroughly enjoy multiplication (I was cooking while reading replies, and multiplication was what I read, if it was another subject, then sorry I got it wrong). I am a Kindergarten teacher, I can make anything fun! I can also teach Spanish-speaking 5 year old students to read, but this is not about me. This is about how you don't understand that she was not whining. Teachers have one of those jobs where the public thinks they know what it is all about b/c they went to school once upon a time. The post was about all of the 'behind the scenes' parts of our job that only great teachers know about. We love it, as ehausting as it is, and we enjoy knowing someone else out there gets it. You should apologize to the great teachers on here that you have offended.

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  75. Zach...Hominems? Do you mean Homonyms? Way at the beginning of this discussion, I noticed "...a agricultural..." Honors English? Isn't it "an agricultural?" Sorry, the English major in me, my humble Master's Degree, teaching license, and media specialist license give me the annoying habit of correcting people's grammar and spelling!

    Thank you, fellow teachers, for putting into words all of the feelings August brings out in me. After 13 years in another profession, I start my 17th year of teaching in two weeks. It's harder than any other job I've had, but the most rewarding...and the young students and colleagues I work with now are AWESOME! Have a great year teachers.

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  76. This is really beautiful! I just left the classroom, where I spent the last 8 years doing everything you described here, so that I could spend some time raising my children at home. But I'm sure I will be back in the classroom in a few years.

    I'm thrilled to have discovered your blog and I am now following you on GFC. I'd be even more thrilled if you decided to come follow my brand new blog here: Desert Momma

    Thank you and best wishes for the new school year!!

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  77. One more thing...........are there crappy teachers out there? Of course, unfortunate as it is. I know some of them. They wouldn't spend a second writing about their job. That's another reason I know this woman didn't deserve your rude reply. She has what it takes to make a positive impact on the lives of many children. I really hope she never gives up because of people like you. People that presume to know what she goes through every day. And no, Zach, getting another job is not an option. Great teachers are given their gift from God, not many of us could consider doing anything else.

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  78. I needed this tonight, as I sit here stressing about what I am going to do with my students tomorrow. Having no idea where to start teaching them. I am very thankful for this and the inspiration I have found in it. Thank you!

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  79. I've been working in a daycare for the last 23 years and I know a lot of people would probably say that what I do is not teaching, no my job is more demanding than a teacher's because I am a coach, referee, sometimes just a lap to climb into and tend to a scraped knee. I encourage the children under my care to take that first stumbling step when learning to walk. Dealing with children who are sick is a daily part of my routine. Also dealing with parents can be difficult at best, but you have too put on your best face and deal with it like a adult. I work about 350 days out of a year with no summer break to speak of, this is the grassroots of teaching.


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    1. Perhaps not more demanding, just demanding in a different way. My daughter has a WONDERFUL daycare lady. We love her like family and my daughter is able to do things only because of this woman. I thank you for being willing and able to work with those little ones. That is not something I think I could do and I have great admiration and respect for people who can.

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  80. Peeps, "Zach" is clearly a troll (a fake/phony poster who just tries to see if he can cause a ruckus). Skip his comments and move on. ("He" also has a trashy, vulgar mouth - the post he attempted to write in Spanish should be removed as completely inappropriate language.)

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  81. I am going to stir the pot here, and agree with the devil "Zach." His point is mostly this; Other jobs are hard too. Perhaps even harder. He's not discounting what teachers do, or that it is difficult, but perhaps asking for a little perspective.

    I'm a physician, for example. Right now, I'm only reading this because I'm on call and I have some down time, but can't sleep. I've worked 72 hours this week and I am on call until tomorrow morning, when I will work a full day tomorrow. I am 150000k in debt. I will make <60k a year until I am approximately 35. (So much for rich doctors!). I've also encountered a lot lot of things I never envisioned when I signed on for being a doctor. Abusive patients. Abusive doctors. Abusive teachers, this is a first. But I digress. My pager is going off, and I literally have no time to ponder my sorrows.

    Also, the comment about that no other profession is dictated by people that don't actually do that profession, in particular using the AMA as an example? BLESS YOUR heart (to use out of place, but over used phrase on this blogs comments). The insurance companies dictate what happens in medicine, not doctors. The AMA tries, but they will never have the lobbying power of these monstrous for-profit entities. Good try though.

    Leave poor Zach alone. Would you treat your students this way when they beg to differ?

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    1. Melissa,
      I decided to take your advice and have a little perspective.

      It is ABSOLUTELY horrible that insurance companies and healthcare "reform" are dictated by people who are not in the trenches and actually dealing with the medicine and the people involved. I am glad you seem to COMPLETELY understand the frustration that many teachers ( myself included) have with the non- educators who are dictating our policies and procedures. We also do not have the lobbying power that the political parties who use education "reform" as a talking point for their election do.

      You are also correct that other jobs are hard, or harder. I don't think any teacher, or doctor, would disagree with me that our servicemen and women have a MUCH more difficult job than anyone. I know your job is difficult as well. Neither are jobs I could ever imagine for myself, yet I am incredibly grateful for anyone who does either one. I know I always enjoy hearing that someone appreciates the job I do and doesn't try to belittle it in anyway. I am sure you do too.

      Again, I would have to agree with you that college debt is KILLER! I also have a LARGE amount of debt and I will make less than 35K a year until I am about 35...which is only 4 years away....and not that much more after that. One of my best friends and her husband, who is probation officer, have about 100K in student loan debt and combined make only about 10 grand more than you. ( So much for rich teachers!)


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    2. Question.... Where did you go to school if you are 150,000K in debt? You got ripped off. I think that may should have been 150K... Careful writing prescriptions, wouldn't want someone to overdose with that kind of mistake. ;)

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  82. I guess Zack thought there wouldn't be any teachers that know Spanish or Spanish teachers here. Well for those that don't know -- here is what Zach said (translated to English) ----- "that's why they're so 'ass'y to their students. And i told them thank God because those people are crazy and frustrated with their lives and their spouses. Probably they aren't having sex and that's the reason they're so angry. Mthrfkers and b1#ches."

    just thought Jennie and everyone should know what he posted on her blog - since he wasn't brave enough to say it in English.

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  83. Forget Zach! When I first started dating my husband, he couldn't understand why I wasn't home at 3:30! After all, school got out at 2:15! What in the world would I have to do after teaching all day? Plenty! In fact, I would say that the amount of time I spend teaching is equal to the amount of time I spend planning, working on my website, figuring out how to integrate technology into my lessons, creating assessments, answering emails, and of course, GRADING ESSAYS! I worked an 80% contract last year and had 152 students! They submitted their essays online, and I sat at my computer and read each one, stopping to make numerous comments throughout the essay. Many times I also created a personal voice message for my students summarizing my thoughts about their work. It took me well over 12 hours to do this. Of course, research shows that if feedback isn't given promptly it isn't effective! So, imagine how fast I must work to get it done quickly! I am not complaining-just trying to explain to people who may not know what we do besides teach! My husband quickly learned to appreciate and respect teachers in a whole new way. He can't believe how hard I work. However, I don't HAVE to work as hard as I do. I WANT to. Why? Because I absolutely LOVE what I do. I look forward to every single day of seeing my students! I never dread going to work. I love the teachers I work with. I adore my students. I enjoy their parents. I love learning new things. It is hard work but so enjoyable. I don't think I'd feel this way about another profession (well, maybe a labor and delivery nurse).
    In regards to having summers "off" I spend a great deal of time during the summer working on lessons, creating my website, playing with technology, and reading up on the latest trends in education (right now it's the Common Core Standards). l will spend four days attending workshops of various sorts. Do I mind? NO! All of this makes me a better teacher! Also, I don't get paid in July so really have to save during the year!
    The only thing that irks me about teaching...BAD teachers, lazy teachers, mean teachers, and arrogant teachers, I am not a big fan of tenure. I do think something needs to change.
    In regards to pay, feel I am paid very well for what I do! I am so grateful to work in an excellent district where parents are involved for the most part, administration is caring and supportive, and kids are motivated and well-mannered!
    So Zach, maybe you will marry a teacher and see that it isn't as much of a cakewalk as you thought.

    "Choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."

    JK teacher for twenty-one years

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    1. God bless you for that. I minored in English because I love everything about it, but I majored in Mathematics for my Bachelors and took the 8-12 Mathematics content certification. I just couldn't stand the idea of grading essays! Math is a challenge to teach - I'm constantly looking for ways to authentically engage my students because, face it, it is rare to find a Freshman who loves math - but grading 150 tests is a BREEZE compared to grading 150 essays! I don't even want to look at what a single Freshman might write!

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  84. I took the time to read the initial blog entry - loved it, wonderful. I will be there in another day - at least for inservice and work day. Then I read almost all the remarks including Mr. Zach.

    Here's what I think. He is a bitter man, doesn't like his job, and makes so many conflicting statements, he sounds silly. People like him will not change, regardless of how many of us take him to task. So why try? I think he wrote in this blog on purpose to see how mad he could make us! :)

    What I enjoyed about this whole blog and responses is that we teachers got so fired up about his remarks, that we started defending ourselves. I'm glad! I've heard about every remark about teachers there is. I have defended myself among my close friends, but I don't stand up and defend myself to the general public. We (and I includ myself) should stand up and defend our profession. We should let people know what we face on a daily basis, and make our cry be heard in Washington - LET US TEACH. Stop with the zillion assessments that make our students cry. Stop changing curriculum to the latest "buzz method" floating around the country. Let us go back to realizing that these precious children are all unique and different. STOP requiring us to cookie cutter stamp them!!!!

    And regardless of our responses (yes, I know I started a sentence with "and"), someone like him will continue to be bitter.

    As for summer vacation - I do like to vacation AFTER I repair, fix, clean and organize everything that I've neglected during the school year. Summer vacation - my husband actually gets to see me between the above cleaning, fixing, etc. BUT still, I've been in and out of school during the summer, planning, putting stuff up, sorting, organizing my teaching tools because there is no time during the school year.

    As for the hours we work, I kept track of my hours for one school year. When I totaled them up, I worked around 200 more hours in 9 months than most CEO's work in a year.

    So thanks to all my fellow teachers. Hang in there. If we make a difference in one child - we have done our job. Bless all of you this coming year.

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  85. I thought the article was very inspirational, but did anyone notice that the article was totally gendered at the end. I'm pretty sure their some pretty good male teachers out there as well also. Right??

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  86. All of the comments here are interesting. I truly appreciated and respected the original blog for it's detailed content observing the career path of a teacher. I also respect Zach for his opinions although they are misguided and maybe not expressed as well as he could have. I have 2 very good friends that happen to be teachers and I see what they do and what they go through to do it. They have my upmost admiration and if I haven't said thank you, I will now. Thank you.
    What I do believe overall about this post is that it is geared for a teacher's reading. If you think about it, anyone who works in a "service" type job for the general public deserves admiration and respect: How about nurses? And though it doesn't take a college education to be a cashier in retail, imagine wearing a smile and saying "hi how are you" eight hours a day while standing on your feet, taking insults from 3 out of 10 customers because the prices are not what they'd like?
    Bottom line, I love teachers. I have fond memories of my education because of teachers. BUT I think we all need to stop and think of others not matter what their profession/job/career. We all need to remember to say thank you to all those who give so much of themselves for our betterment. Thanks!

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  87. Poor, poor Zach!
    I am a retired teacher of 33 years and I am very proud to say that I made it that long in spite of bitter, angry students like Zach. However, I had students that will forever be etched on my heart and have made me a better teacher and a better person for having known them. I left this profession because the new evaluations and standards were stressing me to the point of not being able to be the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I didn't want to be known as a number from 1-5 or to second guess if I was saying the right words, or if my classroom environment was detrimental to the standard I was teaching that day. I was very fortunate to be able to do this financially, but I still work part time at another job. Most teachers DO have to find another income during the "off time" in the summer OR they are going to school to earn a very minimal pay raise to help their families make ends meet.
    Teaching is a noble, brave, and honorable profession - kuddos to those of you who have been able to weather the changes and demands that have been placed upon you. You have something new that is required of you every year and you work numerous hours preparing DIFFERENT lessons, ideas, experiments, games, songs and dances, or WHATEVER it takes to help a child learn the curriculum concept.
    I really believe I made a positive difference in many lives, and Zach is just one of the few pitiful souls who will never appreciate that!

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  88. Thanks for wording that so well-- it is a ton of work, but it's good. I stumbled across your post via Facebook, and I had to share-- I featured you on my blog's Monday Mash-Up.

    http://mprintblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/monday-mash-up-from-mommy-guilt-to-bear.html

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  89. The ONLY problem that I have with this piece is the use of "thanking HER" and "I guarantee SHE doesn't hear thanks nearly enough". I know that there are more female teachers than male, but the use of those female pronouns upsets me as a future male teacher. Are we invisible?

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  90. I taught third grade for 20 years and you hit the nail on the head. I've lived every word of this fine post and I"m sharing. Thank YOU for all you do for children !
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  91. Some people do not want to understand! I didn't fully understand myself until my husband became a teacher; he taught at a community college where you'd assume students game to learn how to make a good living for themselves and their families. Not always so; many were there so they could get "a check" from our government. Needless to say they were not interested and made life miserable for their teacher and other students. They wanted to sleep or disrupt; it was the teacher's responsibility to teach; therefore this wasn't allowed. That is if you cared about the students and what they learned. Try as hard as you could, you couldn't win all of them, they just didn't care and made life miserable for the teacher and their fellow students. When scheduled breaks came you desperately needed that time to recoup so you could give your next class the best you had to give, as that's what they deserved. Some students quit, some went by the wayside, but some stuck it out and are now responsible citizens who are making a very good living. Many have returned to say thank you for what they learned, both in being a citizen who you would love to live next door to, as well as an education that puts bread on the table. I'm reminded of the good my husband accomplished on a daily basis as I pass two (2) of the three (3) businesses one of his former students owns and operates with a very high reputation of good honest work. Is that the sames business you'd like to depend on to do business with? Someone had to give that young man the basis he needed, the knowledge he needed to accomplish what he has earned on his own merits. What would you have taught him, Zach? Somehow I don't think you would have had your entire class to respect you, and not many would have made it through to gain an education and become a better person. NOT EVERYONE CAN BE A TEACHER. There are only a few who have what it takes and my opinion is, YOU DON'T HAVE IT. God bless you in your profession, may you develop a better attitude, I'll be willing to say you need that at your place of employment as well as in your home life, whatever, they are. There's always room to improve and to change, and God willing maybe you can understand that. Again, it takes a very special person to teach and not all of us possess that God given trait.

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  92. I'd like to address Zach's comments from a numbers perspective since he is a banker. I teach math and my mom was a banker for almost 40 years before she retired at the beginning of the year. Was her job difficult? Yes, it was. Did she complain or "whine" as you so graciously put it? Yes, she did. I guess you've never done such a thing. By the way, dad was also a teacher before he retired as well.

    Anyway, let's say that I get to school at 7am (which I do) and leave at 4:30 (which I also do when I'm not coaching.) We will also take out the "30 minutes" for lunch that I am supposed to have. That makes the workday from 7-4, which equals 9 hours. For five days a week, that's 45 hours. Now, my school system goes 162 days from 7:45-3:30 (Most around here are 8:00-3:00 for 180 days). IF I factored in about 20 workdays, that makes 182 days for 9 hours a day. Multiply that out and you get 1,638 hours. Now, let's say that I work for 2 hours when I get home on school stuff as well and we will also say I work 130 of the days, so that's 260 more hours. Up to a total of 1,898 hours. Now, I will add in the hours I spent in workshops this summer. I was lucky this summer in the fact that I didn't have to attend too many, so we will add in 30 hours. Total of 1,928. I have also gone in a couple of times to work on pacing guides and the likes for a total of about 15 hours, so we will make it 1,943.

    Now, let's look at a typical 8 to 5 schedule. If you take out an hour for lunch, that gives you the typical 40 hours work week. My mother had 3-5 weeks of vacation time available at her bank and always took a whole week off after Christmas. Let us also say that she took other weeks (not at one time, but spread out). We can also factor in that she did receive holidays off (Columbus Day, Easter, Christmas, New Year's etc.) If you don't receive those holidays off as a banker, Zach, you may need to look into that. So let's say she works 48 weeks a year (taking out vacation time and holidays). 40 hours a week time 48 week is 1,920 a year. Let us also that work was brought home a few times and we will just round up to 2,000.

    1,943 hours for the teacher and 2,000 for the banker. A difference of 57 hours or roughly a week and a half of time. Wow, that seems like SUCH a big difference in work schedules.

    Not sure if this is the "debate" you were talking about, but it is what my brain came up with since I am so focused on numbers.

    To the teachers who keep trying to explain things over and over again to Zach, you are wasting your keystrokes. I have decided that there are just some people who do not get teaching and that is okay. I have never worked in a factory job, so I do not know everything that is involved with it. The difference between Zach and I though, I don't judge them. Zach, are your superiors (branch manager, CEO, district manager, etc.) people from all walks of life or were they all at one time bankers, tellers, and the likes? As far as my mother goes, all of her bosses had been in her shoes at some point in time, so they knew how it felt. I cannot say the same about our legislators.

    There are so many more points that I could make but, as I said above, there are just those that will not "get it", just as there are students in my classroom that have trouble "getting it". Zach, good luck in the banking world. There is so much more red tape than there used to be which makes the job difficult. Not sure what department you are in (mom was business loans), but hopefully things will get better.

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    1. By the way, I have a Master's Degree as well. My husband is currently working towards his (he also teaches). In my state, getting a Master's degree means nothing now. If you do not complete the degree by April 2014, you will not receive any type of pay raise anymore. Thank goodness my husband will be able to finish in December.

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  93. Well said, thank you so much for sharing!

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  94. Thank you! This is my 25th year of teaching and I feel the same way! I love teaching and couldn't imagine ever doing anything else!! Thanks for the great reminders!!

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  95. I’m not a teacher; I used to work as a behavioral interventionists at an elementary school. I did that for 3 years. Enjoyed it! One day, I was working with a 3rd grade teacher to help a student get resources (shoes, pencils, and a few other things). When I saw tears in the teacher’s eyes and she said that she loved her student, I questioned whether I’d ever get to that point for any student. As I stated earlier, I used to work in the school system; I left and took a different route. Bravo to that 3rd grade teacher and hats off to each of you!!! I’d hug each of you if I could!!!

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  96. Am I the only one who noticed that Zach dropped the f-bomb in Spanish up above?

    And said that we are frustrated with our lives and spouses, probably because we never get any sex? You and your potty mouth are busted, Zach....thanks to a southern white woman who paid attention to her Spanish teacher (although recognizing the conjugation of "chingar," alas, came as a result of living in south Texas).

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  97. It's really kind of funny that I see a comment like Zach's. We used to do a thing called "Project Business" where we brought business people into classes for 1 hr a week for 15 weeks.
    These guys would show up unprepared, thinking they could wing it for an hour... and they failed miserably. Then, after the classes, they would say "how do you get these kids to pay attention?'
    I remember one successful local businessman whom, by the 3rd week, i had to go into the hall and bring into class. It was if he had been terrorized by my 8th grade class. "They don't listen! They don't do what you tell them! How do you get them to do anything?'
    Yep.. they aren't' employees to be bossed around. Their job doesn't;t depend on doing what you say. they may not even be supported by parents who demand they do well... but we teachers... we get them to read,to write, to think, to listen... and you know what,m it's an art.
    And that 3 month summer? Every year at the all school meeting, they ask all the teachers who were attending professional development to stand. Most of them do. Or else they are working summer jobs to make up for the lousy "professional" salaries we receive. We grade AP tests, go to seminars, work on curriculum, etc. The teachers who also coach don't even get a summer break.
    I alays hear that business people want schools run more like business. Considering the high % of businesses that fail every year.... no thanks. I think maybe teachers need to come show the business world how to work. You answer to a client? We answer to everyone.

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  98. Jennie:

    Thank you for sharing. I am in non-formal extension education so I can share some of your frustrations but unlike you my students choose to be there so I know I have an easier audience and they are in most cases information seeking adults so again my audience is more engaged without me doing anything, although I think I am pretty engaging and knowledgeable.

    None of this is to my point. I am saddened that Zach has stolen so much of the attention to the exclusion of your point. It distresses me that I even mention him.

    I have raised two school teachers and I can attest from observation your job is never done. I have spent countless hours witnessing after hours work. And no your profession is not the only one that requires work outside of the “workday” but it is one of the few that gets no respect.

    So ignore the detractors and soldier on, the vast majority of us want to say thank you!

    Jeff

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  99. The blog is wonderful and well said. I love the analogy of teaching and performing! I taught for almost 40 years and every class, every day and every year was different and demanding. I know that other jobs have their challenges, as well. This blog was not about complaining--it was about trying to help others understand that teaching is a lot more challenging than most people, who are not teachers and have never taught, could possibly understand! I have a sister who always made snide remarks about all the vacation days and the summers off but she never once walked a mile in my shoes! As to Zach--I have a friend whose philosophy is to not argue with an idiot because they do not have a brain to use to change their minds!

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  100. I read many of the comments, but did not have the time to read all. I will do that in segments as there are so many.

    I retired three years ago after teaching elementary school for 38 years. I've always said it was the only profession that I knew of where one has to see all of his/her clients all at once.

    Each of those "clients" in a classroom has a different cognitive ability, different emotional makeup, different set of previous experiences in their life (from home discussions to travel, etc.) Each has their own "baggage" that they bring to the classroom each day, and also there is that "mystical" thing that happens when a group of students come together. Some of those collective classroom "personalities" are delightful and enjoyable to teach. Others seem to be out of a scary movie that we have previously seen. Yet, we have to teach them all - and all at once and be successful at that!

    My last year of teaching consisted of mostly 14-16 hour days in that I was assigned a new grade and subject which had a textbook that didn't fit the state standards. I became a curriculum writer each evening as I did research for lessons in a few days ahead, on top of evaluating over 100 papers each evening. I finally had a "life" at the end of the day on Friday, and it all came before me on Sunday evening once again.

    On top of that, my district was bankrupt and I had no raise of any kind for over four years. I really didn't complain. I had good benefits and knew that I had chosen this path.

    Now into my 4th year of retirement, I still dream of teaching at least one time a week. I say that I am now working the night shift with no pay!

    Blessings to all the teachers who once again take up the charge put before them to be all things to all people - and still come home to be mom/dad to their own kids after every single drop of "mercy" has been drained out during the day!

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