I’m not a teacher. I tried to be one. A year of my life, I spent trying to become a history teacher. I loved the historical part of it, but I found out that teaching teenagers is hard. Really hard.
Really, really hard.
Since then, I’ve lived with the feeling that teachers do not receive the respect they should get. Many people live under the impression that teachers simply sit in front of a classroom, work through their plan and enjoy long holidays. When I listen to some people who know nothing about the profession, it sounds like only lazy or unambitious people decide to take up the educating mantle. Such words often come from the lips of those who have never seen a classroom from the other side of the desk, and who see their own office jobs as far superior.
As a non-teacher, and inspired by this brilliant comic over at ZenPencils, I want to voice my support for all the teachers out there. Whoever you are: thank you.
Yeah, thank you! Unlike many others, you’ve decided to not just consume knowledge, but to reproduce it in a way that others can profit from it. You’ve decided to stand in front of a room filled with thirty kids, with quite a few who would rather be somewhere else, and have the balls to draw their attention to a subject they deem boring. You do your best to combine authority, inspiration and an ever-increasing thirst for knowledge in one person, so you give young people an educational foundation. In a way, you are not just a teacher, but also a leader and role model. I haven’t seen many corporate managers doing so many jobs at the same time.
Yes, your work is hard. You’re not done when you leave the school building. At home, you create lesson plans and gather material. You check tests, call parents and prepare meetings with your colleagues. At night, you lie in bed thinking about that fight two of your pupils had. In a way, you’re never done with your job. But you still do it, because no matter how tough your day or how annoying the parents of your students can be, you get out of bed every morning, put on your game face and dish out some teaching. Why? Because nothing is more rewarding to you than seeing “your” kids succeed after all these trials. Your reward does not come in the form of some financial bonus, but in that of smiling faces and the simple sentence “thank you for everything” (though you surely wouldn’t mind the raise…).
Sure, there’s rotten apples. Like in every job, there are teachers who don’t have the passion and heart others have. Fortunately, I have met half a dozen inspiring and motivating teachers in my educational career, some of them teaching subjects I didn’t like. They all had a certain conviction and drive in common, trying to push me beyond my limits and helping me succeed. Granted, they didn’t succeed all the time, but that sure wasn’t there fault. They showed trust in me when others didn’t, and you can’t imagine how much that means to an insecure, awkward teenager.
Again, thank you, teachers of this world. I know your job can be tough, and I know you get flamed from all sides for whatever you do, but I hope my words can give you some trust. There’s at least one guy working an office job out there who thinks that your job is meaningful, no, even essential to our society.
Keep on teaching.