There is always the argument that the hours are light and we have the summers off. When teachers aren't in the classroom, they are busy preparing, making lesson plans, studying. Teachers are lifelong learners. They are attending and presenting at conferences - the kind that have you busy all day and into the night. They are getting training to teach new subjects and to meet the changing needs of modern students. Teachers are always on the clock, always thinking (and often worrying) about their students. The actual hours spent in the classroom don't even begin to tell the full story of what it means to be a teacher.
STANDING UP FOR TEACHERS
Someone recently asked me, half sarcastically, "How do I get your [cushy] job?" I replied, with a friendly smile, "practice the saxophone for about 20,000 hours, borrow $100K to go to the best universities for ten years, and get an international reputation as a performer, author, and composer. Then, compete against a hundred other highly qualified applicants for only a handful of positions in the entire world." I could have added, "and be prepared to accept a starting salary in the forty-thousand range with no ability to negotiate."
I'm not being snarky. This is the reality, and I accept it with a smile because I love my job, even when I am swimming against the tide of criticism and public misunderstanding about what I actually do. I also keep things in keen perspective by comparing my situation to what K-12 public school teachers face. With standardized testing scores connected to funding, pressure to teach outside their areas of interest and specialty, lack of support for students with special needs and language barriers, and a general lack of support from politicians and the media, it is much, much worse for them.
But teachers will continue to teach. Not to pay the bills - there are better ways to do that. Not because they "fell back" - that's a myth. And certainly not because "those that can't do . . . " - give me a break!
Teachers will continue to teach for the love of humanity. If you've ever had a teacher that made an impact on your life, don't miss the chance to say thank you. It means more to us than you could possibly know.