1. Relationships: there are so many complex and deep relationships that develop on a daily basis. We are in a unique position where we don’t just know students but we often need to get to know their parents, grandparents, siblings and children in other grades and year levels. On top of that you need to know your own colleagues and people in the surrounding community. My husband often laughs when I say that I have had conversations or talked to over 100 people during my day. By 11:00 in the morning, I had often chatted to numerous colleagues, parents and then of course the kids in the class, workshops and then on yard duty.
2. Most precious cargo: what is the one thing that families and parents value most in the world? Their kids of course! So as teachers, we see some parents advocate loudly for their kids, nervous parents and parents who are simply trying their hardest. We experience the range of emotions that come with different stages of parenting. We deal with a range of parenting styles and because everyone has an experience of school, we also have many ideas being thrown our way. Our job is unique because we deal with the most precious resource of the future: kids.
3. Minimal protection: in most jobs, there are things like security, human resource managers and barriers that put space between people such as counters or desks. Teaching offers little of that. There is exposure to people all day and minimal space barriers. Kids can access your things, parents can line up at your desk as soon as you walk in the door, you can get on the spot bookings, be available by email at any time and of course often you are alone. I have seen and heard too many teachers in vulnerable positions. Teaching is a job that needs to look at better support structures and procedures for staff.
4. No overtime or late night double pay: people sadly assume that when teachers stay at late night events, parent nights, interviews, school events, meetings or sports functions that they are paid. They are not. This is one area that I feel really separates teachers from other industries. I don’t know many industries where people are not paid for their overtime. Teachers stay overnight at camps for free, stay back for parent meetings free and attend school events free. Yes we get holidays. Holidays are often the time when we catch up on things that we cannot do during a term such as attend appointments or book to see people during the day.
So before we put teachers in a bowl and mix them with other professions, remember that teaching is a unique role. A job that cannot really compare to other jobs. Our job is one of a kind and let’s not compare teaching to other jobs because in my eyes, it’s not like other jobs. Maybe you have some of your own reasons and viewpoints so feel free to share. #TwoCreativeTeachers #teachingisnotlikeotherjobs