Sunday, September 8, 2013

Teaching is hard work.

Teaching is a tough profession. I know everyone thinks their profession is hard, and I fully grant that each profession has it's difficult qualities. I am by no means trying to say that I work harder than other people or demean other professions.

But, I do feel that it's easier for others to have the perception that teaching is easier than it really is. Especially preschool teachers. Oh, you just color pictures all day, right? You just get to have recess and build legos, right? The hardest part of your job is creating colorful bulletin boards, right? You get your summers off and only work school hours, right? You only have a couple kids and they all get along and play nicely, right?

Wrong. I do not get summers off, and I do not just work the school day hours. You have to teach children how to treat others nicely and get along. Yes, you are right that we color pictures and do those other things, but did you know that by coloring a picture, I assess the child's pencil grip, which colors they know, what type of drawing stage they are using, whether they can identify what they draw, how that drawing connects to their past/present life experiences, etc.?

Probably not. I have had plenty of people who are not teachers make comments to me that I must have a really easy, stress free job and that I don't work very hard. How can it be that hard to have summers off and just color all day?

CBS did a special on Friday about some exceptional teachers. You can read an article about it here. I didn't actually watch the special, but I want to. I read the article, though, and it makes me so happy when great teachers get recognized and honored. They deserve it! Of course it's true that there are teachers who don't really care and don't work hard, but that's thankfully the minority. Almost every single teacher I have ever met is passionate about their students and teaching. Almost every single teacher I have ever had or worked with deserves recognition and praise for their high efforts.

I work hard. You think we play all day? Yes, but each center is specifically designed, set up, and changed daily/weekly for optimal learning. I plan what to put in each center, each story that is read, each craft that is made, every song that is sung. Every activity is carefully planned. (Well, most of them. Of course you have those few extra minutes where you have to come up with something on the fly.) And along with all of that, I answer parent emails, check out library books for the next week, take a ton of anecdotal notes each day, write those notes into their conference books, write lesson plans/newsletters/calendars, and be on my game to be encouraging and energetic to each child all day.

I'm not complaining. I am proud to be a teacher and I do not regret God guiding me down this path. I could never be a good teacher without His strength and joy.

I'm just speaking on behalf of all teachers out there- you work hard and you deserve praise. Any encouraging comment from a parent or coworker is so appreciated.

I don't just want to teach. I want to be good at it.

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