It must be nice to be a Teacher.

"Wait, you're on holidays again?"

Simply typing those words makes me want to deliver a swift kick to the nether regions of the poor soul who dares utter that question.

The responses I am given when people ask me what I do for a living are always the same. "Oh teaching, that must be a fun job" "It must be nice starting work at 9am and finishing at 3pm!" "Wow, you get all those holidays!" "It cant be all that hard" "They're just kids."

I could write a whole post dedicated to each of the above statements but this afternoon I'll settle for the holidays part. In my neck o'the woods, we have eleven week terms with 2 weeks break in between each one. It is one of the perks of the job, for sure; who would turn their nose up at getting time off?  Like any other careers, teaching can be fantastic and rewarding. It can also be very, very stressful.

We have syllabus documents to teach by. We have hectic class timetables that are jumbled around every few weeks to fit in unexpected new events. We are expected to teach more content than is humanly possible in every year. We teach lessons to children who don't speak English. We teach lessons to children who have behavioural problems. We teach lessons to children who have learning difficulties. We teach lessons to children with disabilities. We monitor and most importantly teach students for longer hours than some parents even see their children. We have to create a programme for every single term and be able to justify what we are teaching.

And when do we get the chance to do this programming? Certainly not in work hours; we're too busy teaching. We do the majority of this programming in the holidays, or in our own time after school hours are over. Let me ask you some questions. Can you switch off your work thoughts the second you walk out of your office doors? How much work do you take home in your time off work? Are you expected to do professional learning and accreditation in your own time?

Certainly, I've enjoyed a number of days in the past week where I have relaxed, exercised and watched far too many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I'm also about to start spending the last week of my holiday planning for next term. Programming for teaching. For teaching your children. Care to keep on judging?

So in answer to the question, yes. I am on holidays. Again.

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lara said...

i remember when i got my first teaching job (for a private group), i began to wonder how anyone who didn't LOVE teaching could ever be a teacher. it's so much extra work for which we're NEVER paid. if you love it, it's worth it. but if not? why would anyone put up with it? i'm totally with you.

(also, fyi? i'm dating an aussie... :-P)

Susan C said...

Teachers don't have holidays. They have mandatory stress leave!

kirby said...

I feel I might be the only person, or one of a limited few, who can honestly say that even though I don't work from home, I take my entire office home with me. All of it. I also work, pretty much seven days a week. Five on road, and seven with phones and such... except I've taken to turning my phone off on sundays out of fear I will go mad. Even when I'm on "holidays" I'm expected to return calls. And all my learning takes place in my own free time.

alynda dear, whatever happened to our lives?

Ngaire B said...

I agree with Susan!! Tonight my husband commented on my long day yes I left home at 7 and was home at 6. It is a long day but would I change it for anything? Nope!!

nancypearlwannabe said...

I'm with you... school might end at 2:05 but it's very rare that I leave there before 4. And also? I'm there at 7 every morning! Who wouldn't need time off from that schedule?

We're both on break this week! :)

reformattingmybrain said...

Oh how I wish everybody could see the work teachers do. I'm not a teacher myself. But my Mom is and I ask her almost daily how she does it. I guess I'd handle it if I had to - but teaching now a days is not fun. It's hard hard work. You teachers deserve the utmost respect! Thanks for all you do!

People need to think of it this way sometimes. You teachers keep those kids learning and doing for almost 7 hours (maybe 6 after lunch and recess breaks)! I know parents who can't get their kids to sit and do one thing for 10 minutes!! I'd like to see a parent keep a child going for 7 hours a day - haha

All this coming from a parent. I KNOW it's hard work!

Laurel said...

Once again, I have no idea how you people (AKA teachers) do it!

You forgot to mention that you have to stand up all day. That, right there, disqualifies me from the profession.

Pink Herring said...

If people think teaching is sooo easy and glamorous, then why the heck don't they quit their job and taking up teaching? Oh, right. Because it's hard and underpaid and underappreciated.

My friend was a teacher for 3 years in Teach for America so I feel like I have to stand up for teachers everywhere when people talk about all the time they get off.

heidikins said...

I could never be a teacher, I don't have the patience for it. After about 3 hours I think I'd pull my hair out like a crazy person and bolt for the door. I adored several of my teachers while I was in school - but I cannot imagine being one. You are amazing! Teachers are heros!


Horrible Warning said...

I know I get sick of people dogging on civil servants, talking about how lazy government workers are, how we suckle at the taxpayer teat, all of that. It is really irritating that we are lumped together like that by people who have no idea what they are talking about.

And there are no 5 year olds involved. I can't even imagine, and neither can the ignoramuses (ignorami?) that say those stupid things to you.

How can people not remember how evil they were as children?

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