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Top 8 Reasons Why Non-Teachers Can Never Really Understand Our Job

Or, Why Nobody Enters Teaching Just For The Vacations


Teacher with papers
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Believe it or not, I once had an older family member approach me at a party and say, “Oh, I want my son to talk to you about teaching because he wants a career that’s easy and not stressful.” I don’t even remember my response to this illogical and bizarre comment, but obviously this lady’s cluelessness made a major impression on me. I’m still confounded by this idea even ten years after the incident occurred.

You may have been on the receiving end of similar comments, such as:

  • You’re so lucky to have so much vacation time, especially summers off. Teachers have it so easy!
  • You only have 20 students in your class. That’s not so bad!
  • It must be so easy to teach elementary school. The children don’t have attitudes when they’re so young.
All of these ignorant and annoying comments just go to show that people who aren’t in education simply can’t understand all of the work that goes into being a classroom teacher. Even many administrators seem to have forgotten about all of the trials and tribulations we face on the front lines of education.

So in the interest of bonding together and examining the commonalities that only true teachers can understand, here are the Top Reasons Why Non-Teachers Just Don’t “Get It.” If I’ve forgotten anything, post your thoughts on the Forum.

1. Summers aren’t enough recovery time. - I do believe that every teacher appreciates our vacation times. However, I know from experience that a summer vacation isn’t nearly enough time to recover (emotionally and physically) from the rigors of a typical school year. Similar to childbirth and moving houses, only time away can offer the necessary respite (and memory failure) that allows us to gather the strength and optimism required to attempt teaching anew in the fall. Besides, summers are shrinking and many teachers use this valuable time to earn advanced degrees and attend training courses.

2. In the primary grades, we deal with gross bathroom-related issues. – Even a high school teacher could never understand some of the crises related to bodily functions that a typical K-3 teacher has to deal with on a regular basis. Potty accidents (and more instances too disgusting to reiterate here) are something that we can’t shy away from. I’ve had third grade students who still wear diapers and let me tell you – it’s stinky. Is there any amount of money or vacation time worth cleaning up vomit from the classroom floor with your own two hands?

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