Teaching is a hard job. I’m actually married to a teacher myself, so I know a lot of the struggles that they go through. Imagine having a job you truly love – only half the time you can’t actually do that job the way you really want to.
These teachers/Reddit users share some of those trying times.
1. Abstinence Only
If you are a teacher at a public school in the US – a school that receives federal funds for anything – and a student asks you a sex question, you cannot legally answer it. (If you have written parental permission to teach it in a class, you can make that happen, but that’s not the way you commonly get those questions.) Let me be specific: A 14 year old girl could ask you privately “It’s true that you can’t get pregnant your first time, right?” or “You can’t get pregnant in a hot tub because of the chlorine, right?” or “…if you do it standing up/..if you douche with Pepsi right afterward/…if he pulls out … right?” And the only way you are legally permitted to respond, is that they shouldn’t be having sex. You cannot set them straight, without breaking the law.
Yeah, see you in jail.
Pretty much anything related to the state-mandated test.
3. Classroom Management
It’s not what I’m teaching, it’s how I’m teaching. Teaching 30-35 kids all together at once is near impossible, in terms of making sure that each kid actually understands whats going on. I spend so much of my time just dealing with behavioural issues and classroom management that there is very little time left to actually really delve into whether each individual child really understands everything. The kids who are smart enough to teach themselves will do fine, but the rest are obviously going to suffer.
4. Just let me do my stuff
I teach a college writing course (freshman composition), and every year the administration picks a book that all incoming freshman will read, and then we’re supposed to take time out of our course to discuss it. We end up losing 1-2 weeks to it and it’s rarely related to what I’m trying to teach.
I get having something like this to have a shared educational experience for the entire class of students, and the author comes in to give a talk and Q&A and stuff, but I think it’s just stupid to pick this one course to have to teach it. Add a 1 credit, 4-week course and put it in there and let me just do my stuff.
It happens even on the college level. For example:
An incoming freshman music major was made to take basic Music Theory, even though he could’ve aced the finals and probably have taught the course – that’s how advanced he was at that point.
The administration simply wouldn’t let him take an equivalency exam and move ahead to where he belonged. From the dean’s point of view, it was imperative not to set a precedent, but to fulfill requirements.
Standardized tests, having these in effect does NOT teach students how to deal with the subject matter, instead everyone learns how to test well. I was one of those pain in the butt students , no homework, BSing an essay minutes before class, yet I always aced tests and projects, why because I learned the material. The SAT PSATs are the greatest disservice we could do to education.
7. Common Core
Teaching kids in 1st grade how to do double digit addition the common core way.
The “standard” right now is to teach them to draw multiple ten frames and than to cross out some of those frames to add to other frames to make whole tens.
Kids in my class were pretty much clueless. . .so much trouble on their work for days. . .and than we showed them to draw a line down the middle between the tens and the ones, to add the ones first, if it’s above 9 to add carry the 1 to the top of the tens place and add again – they all got it pretty much right away, no more trouble.
8. No, No, No
I used to work in a “university academy school”, it means that it teach the children how to pass the university test and be a successful university student, so no arts, no religion, no sports or interactive science.
It was annoying sometimes but I was allowed to have an art class (as long as it was free for the administration) for the students who wanted it, so at least they had something and I had fun with them.
But one art day the new principal came with little Bibles for my students and told me to talk about God and tell them some good Catholic words so they can be good people
I asked him why.
He told me that they needed religion in order to be successful.
I asked him why I needed to talk about religion the catholic way. He told me that he knows I’m not catholic but for the sake of my students I need to be catholic because I need to set a good example of how to be a good person.
I was puzzled.
He gave me the box and I entered the classroom visibly annoyed. It was not about me, but my students, they were diverse and there were some non believers, how could I lie to them and tell them than in order to be good persons they need to be part of an specific religion?
I couldn’t even believe I was being kindly forced to talk to them about a religion they didn’t even practice.
So I write in the board one word “Tolerance”.
And since that day they were a lot more than just students in my art class.
I told them the truth, I wanted them to take their own decisions and I wasn’t able to teach them otherwise.
If the new principal knew that, he would have personally fired me. But my students were nice and never sold me out.
I miss my students dearly, but that Administration changed a lot of stuff and they don’t welcome me anymore unless I talk about God in my resume.
I have mixed feelings on the teaching of phonics, if you don’t include the ‘names’ of the letters alongside the ‘sounds’, you end up having to speak phonetically all the time. “Go to point buh” instead of “go to point b” for example.
10. Be prepared
I’m a preschool teacher and I have three, four, and five year old children in my class. I don’t quite feel as if it is a disservice to them, but I (fairly) often get really frustrated with the fact that public schools put such an emphasis on incoming Kindergartners knowing so much academically, but don’t care nearly as much about their social and emotional skills. There is so much emphasis on ‘Can they write their name?’, ‘Do they know their ABCs?’, and ‘Can they count?’, which I agree are important things, but when we take the time to work on things like cooperating with others and being a kind human being we get told we aren’t teaching them anything. Then when we take time to focus on those academic skills and the kids go to Kindergarten and start throwing fits and starting fights, we’re told that we are all just babysitters and don’t know how to control and mold children’s behavior.
I feel like so many people forget that these children are still young. They’re not adults yet and definitely will not be perfect. Heck, I’m 25 and I still don’t have my crap together.
11. In that order
TA here, but I still got to see the standards being taught in the class I was working in.
The stupidest thing the teacher and I had to deal with last year was these science lessons. The lessons themselves were actually not that bad. We had five different units, each with their own workbook. One was animal life, one was about the weather, one was about plants, etc.
What was stupid about it was that we had to cover the units in a very specific order, even though each unit had been made independently of the other. As in, Unit 3 didn’t require knowledge from units 1 or 2. We could have done them in any order and it would have been fine, but nope. School district said it had to be a specific order.
This was a problem because these books were written by people in Texas (most textbooks come from Texas or California, actually). I live in Michigan.
The order of the textbooks had us covering ‘animal life’ in January. Several of the assignments in the textbook involved going outside to observe animal life in the wild.
Because we couldn’t switch them up and do the other units first (‘weather’ was the unit right after animal life, and we could have easily done that in the middle of winter), we had to delay all science lessons until April. Then we had to rush to cram in three units of science in the two months left of school. We basically did not have a single social studies lesson that entire time (we were supposed to be alternating between science and social studies every other day, but we did all the social studies in the winter and then all the science in the spring), and then the teacher I work with got marked down on his yearly evaluation for ‘not adhering to the district standards’.
All because people in Texas and in my school district forgot that it snows in winter.
I love my job, but the people I work for sometimes make me hate it too.