While comments and questions such as, "I remember elementary school math, I could easily teach it" or "Isn't teaching glorified babysitting?" or "You're just a teacher?" are frustrating, it's important to remember that those who say these things actually have no idea what teaching entails. Rather than feel deflated by these statements, educate!
1. Teaching is incredibly challenging. As much as there are classes, books, and guides about how to be a great teacher, each day is different. Each student, class, family, school, and year are different. Everything is constantly in flux, evolving, and changing. Just when you think you have something figured out, something else lands on your plate that you've never encountered.
2. Teachers work more hours than one can imagine. The school day doesn't just start and stop when the bell does. Teachers are grading, planning, organizing, collaborating, in meetings, and preparing for the next day. Teachers work countless hours after school and on the weekends. Just because the school day is over, doesn't mean it's over for a teacher.
3. Teaching requires flexibility. A teacher might have a fantastic lesson planned for students when a cockroach enters the classroom. A sharp teacher will use that moment as an opportunity to teach about cockroaches, their physiology, function, and lifespan. Teachers must think on their feet, improvise, and adjust to meet the needs of their students.
4. Teachers are required to be 'on' the entire day. Teachers are relied upon by students, families, and administrators to keep the peace, encourage, love, motivate, inspire, support, care, push, help, listen, and stay positive. When done well, this is incredibly draining. To love that much, to listen, to be there, to be fully present, to have conversations about challenges and successes, takes a lot of patience and energy. Teaching requires a great deal of emotional energy, more than most professions. Teachers will often be drained at the end of a school day and benefit from a bit more support and understanding.
5. Teaching is deeply rewarding. In what other profession is it your job to help shape young minds, inspire curiosity about the world, push students to reach their full potential, introduce ideas and concepts that spark new ideas, and motivate those who are ready to give up on themselves to believe they too can make a difference? Teaching is a noble, worthwhile, and necessary profession which not only has a great impact on individuals but affects the vitality of society at large.