Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I don't do this very often, but I have to discuss one of my biggest pet peeves: when people speak about what they do not know about. This bothers me in many facets of life, but the one I'm talking about in this blog is misconceptions about teaching.

I have encountered a lot of people expressing their opinions about teachers in general as well as specifically about the job of an art teacher.

Assumption #1: "I should be a teacher because they get 3 months off!"
First of all, it really is not quite 3 months. Next, teacher contracts are only for 187 days, therefore, WE ARE ONLY GETTING PAID for the time we are working. I think it is safe to say that those in the education field are among the highest educated, lowest paid population of people. Most teachers don't do it for the money, but because they find it rewarding in some way. Hey I'm all for having year round school if teachers get paid for their time! I have never complained about my salary because in Texas we are paid much better than in many states. Although, in my mind, shouldn't teachers be paid well? Without well-educated teachers to inspire children to be the best they can be, what would happen? I know that personally my summer will consist of writing lesson plans/planning for next year, attending numerous professional development classes (total right now is 6 7hr classes) Yes, some of these cost $$$ and no I don't get reimbursed or compensated. I am also in class for my master's degree which is obviously in a related subject to the subject that I teach. I won't even get into how much I buy for my classes out of my pocket either...

Assumption #2: "teachers get to go home at 3:30"
I don't know ANY teacher who has the same schedule as the students. Teachers arrive early and stay late. They bring grading and work home. They spend entire weekends at competitions and other events for the students. Teaching is not a job that you can leave at the office.

Assumption #3: teaching art is "fun" and "easy" because it is not a core subject.
Yes, teaching art does have fun moments! It should be fun! Let me clarify though, that in order for the students to have fun, it takes A LOT of planning and preparation from guess who... the TEACHER! This is not "easy." Rewarding is the term I would use more than "fun" or "easy". What other kind of teacher is expected to teach 6 different age groups/ have 6 different preps? (I'm sure there are some, but who knows?) I had 24 sections of kids this year! We have expectations from the state, district, school, art coordinator; shows to put up throughout the year, as well as competitions. Anyone who has been in a room with 48 Kindergarten kids using scissors in close quarters knows that the job of a fine arts teacher can be called a lot of things, but "easy" is not one of them! It is challenging in a DIFFERENT way than being an academic or homeroom teacher. Guess how many lbs I lost 1st semester strictly due to NEVER sitting down/stress/not having time to eat lunch some days...nearly 20lbs!

I would NEVER pretend to know what an engineer, astronaut, mom, financial trader, business owner, or math teacher goes through in the midst of their daily duties, so you know what- I would never assume that it is "easy." I call that "ignorant."


Susan said...

Ignorant is right. I whole-heartedly agree with all you said. Plus, teachers have the ability to actually motivate, encourage, and mold their students. Not by any means an easy task.

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