Teachers don’t particularly like going back to school any more than kids do, much to the surprise of the general population who likes to imagine that teachers just LOVE getting back into the classroom. Teachers are supposed to thrive in the first few days back at the job, learning everyone’s name, handing out shiny new textbooks, and setting up the classroom just the way they want it.
After a full summer off, the last thing any teacher wants to do is actually start working again. Think about it for a second: if your boss offered you 6 or 8 or even 10 weeks off and then expected you to come back all happy, would you? Chances are you would rather stab your eye with a pen than try to get back into the routine of working. It is entirely okay to resent teachers for this; after all, we spend the entire summer envying them as they jet off around the world, lay on the beach soaking up rays, and sleep until noon. By the time August rolls round, however, they’re already thinking about nights of marking, students talking back, and lunchroom drama. Come to think of it, we wouldn’t want to go back to work either if we were them.
It’s more than likely your teacher is actually cringing at the thought of going back to school and wishing she could go anywhere else but the classroom. Here are five reasons teachers HATE getting back into that godforsaken classroom.
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1. The Kids
The entire world believes that every teacher loves children – after all, why would they choose a career that involves teaching them five days a week? To be fair, most teachers do love children – that is the children that are there to learn, follow the rules, and otherwise behave in class.
Unfortunately, however, not all kids are so nice and many are teenagers couldn’t give a crap about learning and behaving well. Let’s refer to these teens as mean-agers because that’s exactly what most of them are: mean teenagers.
Teachers are subjected to criticism, harsh words and negativity as soon as they step into their classrooms, all by students who think they know better than the university-educated and specially trained teacher. And what about the children who think it is perfectly fine to hit their classmates or to lay down on the carpet kicking and screaming?
Again, we can’t really blame teachers for not wanting to go back to work.
2. Lesson Planning
It must be fun to plan all those lessons – said no teacher ever. Planning lessons takes a considerable amount of time and effort, and is done entirely out of “office hours”, which means many teachers spend their summer months, during their holidays, planning lessons. Unfortunately, many teachers plan all those lessons out, spend a week with their class, and then throw the lessons in the garbage. That is because the lesson plans must be adapted to work well with the classroom. Teachers cannot simply enter the classroom empty-handed and this truly is a no-win situation. Lesson plans are, simply put, a pain the in butt, and teachers dread them. We won’t even bother talking about substitute teaching and how hard it is for them to try and follow a lesson plan without even knowing the students.
3. Marking Papers
How a teacher feels when grading papers is comparable to how one feels when getting a tooth pulled – incredibly painful. This is due to a number of factors.
First off, how much fun do you actually think it is to read 25 papers on the same subject? Let us be the first to tell you that it is no fun indeed. The next part that makes grading papers extremely hard is the advancement of technology and the abundance of plagiarism that now occurs throughout schools. Teachers must be conscious that some students may indeed be “borrowing” bits and pieces from the Internet, paying others to write their papers, and/or even cheating.
Slang has become a harsh reality in schools and teachers are forced to sort through words that didn’t even use to be words, spellings that have evolved over time and grammar that has simply disappeared in the modern world. The last thing that makes grading papers as much fun as getting a tooth pulled is the cold, hard truth that the papers are sometimes really, really bad. In this case, it is easy for teachers to blame themselves, thinking that if they had done a better job, the students’ papers would be better. “I am an ineffective teacher” is a thought that crosses most teachers’ minds while they are grading subpar papers.
4. The Dress Code
It’s true, there are dress codes for almost every office and workplace, and schools are no exception. The only difference is that schools require their teachers to spend time both inside the classrooms and lunchrooms, and outside in the playground for recess patrol. Which means dressing as a teacher becomes increasingly difficult.
The beautifully air-conditioned schools are great during the warm months – that is until you step outside in the blazing heat to patrol the yard for an hour and you are wearing pants and a sweater. Or how about those winter months when you’re wearing a skirt and pumps, and need to head out into the freezing cold, complete with winter hat and coat? While some teachers learn after years of experience how to dress, new teachers often can’t get the hang of it and its years before they figure it out. Plus, who in their right mind wants to put on a pair of heels after they have been wearing flip flops for two months in the summer months?
5. The Parents
There is one thing worse than misbehaving, and that’s their parents. Parents can sometimes, if not most times, be more trouble than the kids themselves. Nowadays, it is entirely acceptable in a lot of schools for parents to text their children’s teachers and, if you thought parent-teacher interviews were tough, try turning your phone on at the end of the day to find 45 texts from angry parents.
Gone are the days when teachers had complete control, when belting was an acceptable punishment, and when parents respected what was taught. Now parents think they know better than teachers, file lawsuits against them should they dare raise their voice, and demand explanations for every piece of homework their kids take home. A teacher no longer works from 8am to 4pm, but instead works long into the night answering emails, defending their teaching methods, and coming up with creative ways to deal with finicky parents.
Being a teacher is hard work, regardless of what students, parents and the rest of the population thinks. Between meetings, lesson plans, disobedient students and angry parents, it’s quite easy to understand why many teachers dread the beginning of the school year. Try being extra nice to those teachers this year, whether you are a parent or a student, as you now realize just what these teachers go through.
Can you think of any other reasons why teachers hate going back to school? Let us know in the comments section below!