I'm a lawyer by trade and a writer for fun. I'm not a teacher. I’ve never pretended for a single second that I can teach anyone (especially a child) anything, and I try to avoid doing so at all costs. So this weekend’s experience of leading a one-hour lesson in resource conservation to my daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy troop was a stark reminder to me of how hard it really is to be a teacher.
Children are terrifying to me in any context, especially in groups, so I honestly can’t believe there are people who willingly enter a profession where they spend all day trying to expand young minds for what is objectively not enough money.
For some reason, people (politicians, mostly) are always shitting on teachers. They have the whole summer off! They’re part of a shiftless, corrupt union! They leave work at 2:30! They want dental and vision insurance! (Some nerve, right? They want to be able to chew food and see six feet in front of their faces). Let’s cut their “bloated” salaries and “bloated” public school funding.
These arguments are asinine. One hour of teaching is the equivalent of seven hours of sitting around arguing with adults or responding to emails, which is how I spend a lot of my work day. Teaching in this country is exhausting and difficult and largely thankless. And yeah, there are people who phone it in and do a crappy, delinquent job. But poor performers exist in every profession, or at least they do in mine. In abundance.
You couldn’t pay me enough money to be a teacher, much less the amount of money our teachers are actually paid. Anyone who takes care of my kids all day long and sends them home happy is alright by me. And the really good ones are memorable, positive adult influences in all of our lives. Think about it: you never forget your teachers—both the good ones and the bad ones. They make an enormous impact, and the good ones work a lot more than their assigned hours, just like conscientious professionals in any field do. I’m extremely grateful to the teachers in my own life and my children’s lives.
Maybe we should stop shitting all over our teachers and put that shit where it belongs: on the people who keep saying teaching is easy and overpaid. I’d like to see even one of those dicks survive a single day in a classroom.