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Many people seem to have lots of strong opinions about a lot of things nowadays, and the educational system is no different. Every person has ideas and opinions about teaching, teachers, education, and schools. However, many of these perceptions are incorrect, and many people believe myths about teaching to be true. Whether you hope to be an educator one day, are an opinionated individual who wants to know the truth, or a teacher who just needs a laugh, here are some of the most common myths about teaching that many people don’t know.
Teachers Have the Best Schedules
It is true that teachers don’t have to report to work during part of the summer. But don’t let that fool you. Teachers not only spend a large portion of the summer planning and preparing for the upcoming year, but they also spend several hours outside of the normal school day helping out with school activities, grading papers and assignments, and preparing for upcoming lessons. Teachers also have to take continuing education courses every year and are often required to attend conferences during weekends and school breaks. A study found that while the average American works 42.3 hours in a given work week, teachers work an average of 53.3 hours per week. Their school hours may be 8:00 to 4:00 for nine months out of the year, but that doesn’t mean that teachers only work that much.
Teachers Sit at a Desk All Day
Most teachers can attest to the fact that they rarely sit at their desk. They are usually in front of the class teaching, walking around to students’ desks to give individual help, or interacting with the class as a whole during group activities. Teachers may sit at their desks to grade papers or check emails, but that generally only happens between class periods or during lunch. The little amount of time teachers spend sitting in a given day would probably shock the majority of non-teachers.
Anyone Can Be a Teacher
Simply put, only very special individuals can be teachers. Patience, kind-heartedness, and passion matter a great deal, and not everyone has those characteristics in a way that fits in a classroom. Teachers have to have the knowledge of the material they’re teaching in addition to actual teaching skills. It’s not enough to just know how to read or how to do advanced calculus—you have to have a myriad of tools and techniques in order to instruct others with different learning styles as to how to do those things. The amount of time teachers put towards improving their skills and looking out for their students is incredible, and not everyone can or will put that much time towards a profession or investing in other people.
Once Teachers Start Teaching, They Never Have to Go to School Again
Obviously, teachers go to school every day. But in terms of additional education, teachers are not off scot-free once they’ve gotten their bachelors. In fact, many teachers have multiple degrees, and on top of that, they have to participate in continuing education classes every single school year and during most summers. Educational standards change, teaching techniques change, and new elements are implemented into education constantly. Teachers need to stay up to speed with these changes and ensure that they are fine-tuning their teaching skills year after year. Teachers are truly the best students, as they never stop learning and are constantly involving themselves in new educational endeavors to better themselves and to best serve their pupils.
Finding a Teaching Job Is Easy
While some school districts do seem to be looking for teachers regularly, finding a teaching job is not easy. Finding a good teaching job is even more difficult. The administration of a school and the school district matters far more than most people realize when it comes to career satisfaction, teacher support, and general quality of life. At the same time, being in a school where parents are involved and supportive of their children’s education is far different than being in an area where parents expect teachers to teach, parent, mentor, and more. Finding a teaching job is challenging enough as it is—there are several displaced teachers and many school districts that have been on hiring freezes in recent years, making it more difficult to find a teaching job.
Teachers Have a Lot of Free Time During the School Day
Say this to any teacher and you’ll likely be laughed at. Teachers have very little down time during the school day—if any. Most teachers rarely have time to use the restroom during the day, much less sit and relax or get any grading or planning done during the day. Even if teachers have a planning period where they have no students, they typically spend this time preparing for upcoming lessons, completing school-required paperwork, corresponding with parents, or attending staff meetings. It’s possible that teachers have less downtime than almost any other professionals during their typical workday.
Teachers Have No Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Their Jobs
This is one of the most frustrating myths for teachers to hear. No, the government does not pay for everything teachers need, and neither do school districts or parents. Yes, teachers do get some supplies from the school and from their students’ parents, but those supplies are not all-inclusive. Many teachers have found unique ways to keep themselves organized and keep their students engaged in learning, and sometimes the supplies they need are not given to them. Educators and schools can get pretty creative when it comes to saving money on school supplies, but about 94% of teachers have spent some of their own money on basic supplies such as pens and notebooks. The average amount a teacher spends per year is nearly $500, and they generally do this because they see a need and simply take the initiative to solve the problem themselves.
All Teachers Do Is Lecture
Educators learned a long time ago that kids don’t like being “talked at” and that lecturing is typically not the most effective means of teaching students. Yes, there is a time and place for a lecture, but classrooms today are more innovative than ever before when it comes to differentiation and varied instruction. Teachers today are all about collaboration, whole class participation, and multi-dimensional lessons. They want students to engage in the material and concepts that they’re learning, rather than just sit idly and listen passively. Teaching is far more than just talking about the information students need to learn and expecting them to learn it.