On Saturday, I went to a conference for childcare providers, and I have some thoughts about teaching.
The thing about teaching is that it is under-appreciated.
One of the first questions asked to an acquaintance is “What do you do?”
If the answer is “doctor, military personnel, lawyer, engineer”
The response is usually somewhere along the lines of “wow.” or “thank you” or “thats impressive.”
But if the answer is “teacher”, the response is usually
“oh, how fun!” or “so what do you do all day?” or, “it must be nice to have summer off!” Occasionally, I get the “I could never do that!” but that’s about as far as the credit goes.
Now, I am not saying that doctors did not work hard through their years and years of medical school. I am not saying that military personnel do not make unending sacrifices to serve our country. I am not saying that being a lawyer is not impressive.
But at least they often get the credit they deserve, whether through respect or a paycheck or even just bragging rights.
Being a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or a secretary or a Wal-mart cashier is hard work, no matter what.
Through the past few months as I have really strived to get my teachers license and began teaching, I have faced a lot of bitterness about the attitudes towards teachers, and I am only now starting to overcome that. I have grown to respect teachers all over- whether the teachers that I had in elementary/high school, or the teacher that drove to work at 6:30 this morning, the teacher that is spending half of her paycheck in the checkout line at Target for her students, or the teacher that is working a second job all summer just to make sure that ends meet.
I guess what I am trying to say is this: Don’t disrespect someone for their job until you really know what it is like. I have NO. CLUE what it is like to be a doctor. I have no clue what it is like to be a fireman. I have no clue what it is like to be a garbage man. But can we please respect everyone for the job that they do? Can we please check our responses at the door of our mouths before blurting out our first response to their job (That’s must be so fun!)? Can we please take the time to listen, and not compare when a friend or fellow human being is having a slight “rant” about their job (instead of responding with “that’s nothing…”).
Let me get this straight: I love my job. I wouldn’t trade being a teacher for anything. I would like a little more respect, however. Teaching is hard work.
And in closing, here is a poem that was read at the conference on Saturday:
Today, like millions of other Americans
I went to work.
I didn’t design a beautiful skyscraper,
I didn’t write a proposal to save an endangered species,
And I didn’t drive a bus or fly a plane,
Or write a crucial bill that would someday become a law.
However, I did spend time with some very important people.
I read a story to an attorney,
I sang the alphabet song with a Supreme Court Justice.
I ate lunch with a pastor,
and patted the back of an engineer until he fell asleep.
I taught a policeman how to tie his shoes,
and introduced an astronaut to the color red.
Tomorrow, who knows whom I’ll meet,
but one thing is for sure…
They will be very IMPORTANT
For they are our precious children,
and the hope of our very future.
And to all those who taught me, and didn’t get the credit they deserved,
– because I can’t remember your name
– because I just don’t remember you teaching me the alphabet (even though you did),
– because I was too concerned about which boy liked me to realize how much work you were doing
– because I was too busy writing notes in class or planning my wedding or sending out emails