Let’s pick up where we left off last week.
Yes, the teachers have funny — sometimes even hilarious — stories about their adventures.
Yet, until you put yourself in the teacher’s shoes, you have no idea how difficult the job can be.
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Is teaching the hardest job there is?
No of course not.
More difficult jobs are not difficult to imagine.
Imagine if you can – which you can’t really do if you haven’t experienced it – what it must be like to be in the military with enemy forces trying to kill you.
Imagine if you can – which you really can’t do if you haven’t experienced it – what it must be like to be a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency medical technician during one of their most difficult days.
Imagine if you can – which you really can’t do if you haven’t experienced it – what it must be like to undertake truly backbreaking manual labor.
Imagine if you can – which you can’t really do if you haven’t experienced it – what it must be like to work in a really poor country where you’re trying to help people survive. Just survive.
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Teaching is difficult in other ways.
Those who teach in elementary or secondary schools probably have 15 to 30 students in their charge at any one time.
Teachers need to know their subjects and be able to convey them to every student in the class.
Part of being successful in conveying topics to people of all ages is the ability to be both interesting and interested: Interesting as a presenter and interested in both the topic and the audience.
The former is even more difficult than before, as the general public, including student audiences, have shorter attention spans than before.
Please ask any teacher about this.
In addition, each student has a different personality, has a different aptitude and comes from different circumstances.
As for abilities, you wouldn’t want to live in a house that this columnist “built.” Or drive a car whose engine this columnist “revised”. The house wouldn’t stand, the car wouldn’t drive, and neither would be safe. At least not for long. Probably not at all.
In terms of circumstances, some students are fortunate to come from solid and supportive families.
Some don’t. It may be more difficult for teachers to reach students who lack such a chance.
Indeed, two of the greatest challenges facing teachers are (1) the reduction in attention span and (2) the decline of the family in general as a social unit.
Neither is the doing of the teachers.
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And consider this: when students turn 18, they have spent about 10% of their time in a classroom and about 90% elsewhere.
The 10% figure seems too low, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Please run the numbers. Children who attend half-day kindergarten and full-time K-12 school actually spend 13¢ of those 18 years in school. They do it about half the days of the year. And they’re in a classroom that many hours a day.
So, looking at alone time, school is not the primary influence on children.
Nevertheless, some people are quick to blame the teachers whenever something goes wrong with the children.
Marie cannot read. For this, some people do not hesitate to blame the teacher.
Johnny can’t do math. For this, some people do not hesitate to blame the teacher.
Sometimes the teacher can really do better.
Yet often the challenge lies elsewhere. Younger students aren’t exactly one step ahead if, for example, their primary “activity” from birth until their school years, they sat in front of a television with almost no one taking them away from the television and reading to them; teach them letters, numbers, colors, shapes, days, months, seasons or how to read the time; take them to interesting places, like a local library or local park; or have them play with other children.
Similarly, no student is exactly one step ahead if, for example, no one at home regularly and sufficiently reinforces (1) what they learn in school, (2) checks their homework, or ( 3) otherwise supports its teachers in particular or their schools in general.
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Yes, teaching can be hard work.
Teaching is one of the two toughest jobs Randy Elf has ever had.
COPYRIGHT c 2022 BY RANDY ELF