You think you’re going to be a teacher, but you’re not. You pay lots of money to go to a four year college and get a teaching degree. You finally get hired. Then the disappointment begins.
Teachers in this state have a three year provisional license and if you don’t dot your i’s and cross your t’s . . . which means do exactly as told, including attending meetings with mentors and supervisors to insure you are teaching correctly and not becoming too creative, which might, in fact, hold children’s attention better . . you might not get that regular teaching certificate.
Then after your initial three years, you hopefully get a regular teaching license, but by then you have been indoctrinated into the “Do as we say, not as you think is right” belief. You miss days in the classroom attending professional development meetings while your class full of children have a sub and miss out on your expertise. You find out that faculty meetings are either before school, and earlier than normal report to work times, or after school, and those are the worst because they can drag on forever! You have unappreciative parents, children who refuse to settle down and be a part of the classroom, so more time is given to discipline and classroom management than you’d expected.
The first two weeks of school focuses on routines and procedures where you teach your class how to enter/exit the room, how to line up, how to behave during a fire drill, how to turn in homework, how to turn in classwork, when to use the pencil sharpener, when they may speak, where materials are, etc. . . .
The vision you may have had of guiding children into exploring the world and learning about science and math and reading and writing, health, art, music, etc . . . begins to dim.
You sit in meetings every week where your grade level decides as a group what they will do the next week for lessons. You are warned not to veer from the path of lesson plans. Do as you’re told, not as you think might work best for your group of children. I had one principal named Mrs. Fogg, who insisted that every First Grade teacher be doing exactly the same thing in each First Grade classroom at all times during the day. She would do “walk-throughs” to insure her demands were being met, and if you had taken a little longer to explain a topic because some of your children didn’t understand it, and you were not reading the big book at the same time the other two teachers were, well, you got called into the office to discuss it. She is the reason I left that job.
That’s another thing. Principals. They can make or break you. A good one is heaven, as was Mrs. Burton whom I loved and enjoyed working for. Others will make your life a living hell. One I know has even worked two teachers to death.
Teaching – it isn’t what you think it will be when you sign up for the education degree at your college.
My first few years of teaching, back in the late 1970’s, I thoroughly enjoyed. The last few years, working with Mrs. Burton, I enjoyed. Many of the years in between . . . well, I kept wishing I’d gone into Physical Therapy instead. That was what I chose between – where my interest was – Physical Therapy and Teaching.
For today’s teachers, many quit within the first five years and never come back. It’s a sad end to a four year degree you worked so hard to get.