Okay, normally I am a pretty laid back person. It takes quite a bit to get me riled up, but tonight is one of those times. So please excuse me as I get on my soapbox.
I was reading this story on Yahoo! news titled "20 Worst Paying College Degrees in 2010" because I knew they were going to include education jobs and I wanted to see what they had to say about it. It's your typical "Don't major in these areas because your salary will suck" story. Then I moved down to the comments section - bad idea. The first thing I read was this jewel of wisdom:
"Yeah, teaching is so hard. That must be why it's the favored career path for head cheerleaders and "mean girls". I guess you can't leave school mentally, Peter Pan. I bet you volunteer to chaperone the junior high dances, living vicariously through today's twelve year olds. Yeah. Challenging career."
That was then followed by this:
"Exactly! This is the real world, come out and live in it."
I wanted to respond to those comments but decided not to on the page. So here is my response to these fine gentlemen and their nuggets of wisdom.
Oh My Gosh! Thank you two for explaining to me why I'm a high school history teacher! I didn't understand my reasons until now! Wow, I thought I became a teacher because I have a passion for my subject and for the job. I thought that I was a teacher because I love seeing a student's eyes light up when they understand a difficult question or problem. I truly enjoyed going into the classroom every day with activities that excite my students and make them want to learn history, but now I know that I was only lying to myself. The real problem is I just can't grow up. I am socially stunted and only want to live out my teen fantasies through my students. Everything makes so much more sense now!
Get over yourselves! Get your head out of the sand and realize that people (men as well as women) go into teaching because that is what they are passionate about. I cannot stand the self-pretentious people, such as yourselves, who claim that education is a soft major and an easy job. It's not easy. I can attest to that fact right now as I am going through my new teacher orientation and realizing that I am not as prepared as I want to be. My job does not consist of just standing in front of the class and feeding the students information. I have to actively monitor the students to make sure they understand what I am trying to teach them. I have to make my lessons interesting. I have to integrate technology into my classroom to accommodate the current generation of students who have grown up in a technologically savvy world. I have to set up a plan of classroom management, implement it, and then make sure I enforce it fairly. I have to keep an eye on my students to make sure they are doing okay mentally and emotionally. I have to deal with parents who don't care and parents who don't know how to let go.
I do all of this because I love teaching. I don't do it for the salary or the recognition or because it's popular.
Teachers are dismissed and looked down upon by many in our country. Enough! Teachers deserve respect for their profession - it's not as easy as it looks, as I tried to demonstrate above, and people need to recognize that. We are living in the real world and are trying to prepare today's students to live in it.