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My Teaching Rant

teaching is hard

I recently had a discussion with a couple friends. They were slagging off teachers. Complaining about work hours and holidays and attitudes. They were even so innocent about our profession that they quoted an education report (a bad one) that suggested that teachers should be paid according to student grades. I resisted the temptation to barrage them with every Ken Robinson quote that I know, and instead listed the jobs that a teacher has... (you know the list...)

  • Plan learning in each subject area
  • Plan to assess every student in every lesson according to every outcome whilst differentiating for each students needs and background
  • Assess or know every student before every lesson to ensure that the learning is appropriate
  • Navigate and support every students relational and friendship need
  • Love and encourage every student in your care
  • Encourage, reassure, inform, support every parent of every student in your care
  • Report on assessment to the appropriate administrative system, person and structure
  • Create resources for every subject area
  • Create, inform, report to & navigate and meet all curriculum guidelines and objectives
  • Ensure that your teaching is inline with the pedagogy, philosophy, budget, values and vision of your school, state, country and educational theory in general
  • Make sure every student is eating
  • Ensure every student has enough water during the day
  • Monitor that the students haven't forgotten their clothes, hat, lunchbox
  • Make sure you have enough resources
  • Make displays (making sure that they all look good and all students are celebrated equally
  • Keep a blog/ portfolio / learning management system
  • Create student portfolios
  • Run parent teacher meetings
  • Answer every little email without sounding rude, condescending or impatient
  • Mark student work
  • Make sure that marks are authentic and personal
  • Engage in professional learning (know what you're talking about)
  • Be kind and nurturing
  • Develop a real and positive relationship with every student
  • Care
  • Work in collaborative groups
  • Do all the extra things that are asked of you (run trips / do service / run after school activities and coach teams)
  • Make sure that the individual learning styles, intelligences and needs of every student is met
  • Manage behaviour
  • Break up fights
  • Nurse grazed knees, paper cuts, broken limbs, fallen out teeth, and bruised emotions
  • Navigate religion, culture, gender identities, sexuality, and ethnicity differences with care and genuine understanding. 
  • Manage friendship groups
  • Negotiate staff friendship groups
  • Don't upset ANYONE
  • Do all of this, but act like a normal person with normal interests when in public (because talking about school is boring and misunderstood)
  • Oh... and teach (and what does that mean?... make students learn facts? or... help a group of individuals work together in a way that they collaboratively construct and co-create appropriate learning (knowledge, skills, qualities, understandings, values and ethics) that is authentic to them whilst meeting the educational goals and requirements of the system that they are embedded in...
  • etc etc etc etc etc (the list goes on and on and on)

...My friends didn't believe me... but what they did say at the end of the list was... "if thats really teaching... nobody would do it, YES teachers need those holidays and NO they don't get paid enough.