This article was written by Kim Larson — a lover of the arts, a reader, a Francophile, and an overachiever at work. She teaches French and English in sunny Florida. Find her many teaching goodies on TPT.
DO YOU WANT TO WRITE FOR BORED TEACHERS? CHECK OUT OUR GUIDELINES & SEND YOUR SUBMISSION TO: BLOG@BOREDTEACHERS.COM!When I was a kid, I always imagined my teachers as permanent accessories of the school, kinda like the plastic Lego figures that live in the Lego kit. Through my young eyes, they weren’t really people with families and homes and relationships outside of school. I imagine this to be true of youngsters today as well. Every teacher’s relationship with her students is different, but most of us know how to create that unique student-teacher bond. However, sometimes we wish that students could really understand us as people.
Wouldn’t it be great if your students knew that…
1. You stayed up until 2 a.m. putting together today’s lesson.
Students don’t grasp the hard work that we must put in to deliver those engaging lessons. Often this includes late, unpaid hours. Sure, we have textbooks in our classroom, but so many of us look to other resources to create meaningful lessons. We collaborate with other teachers, scroll through Pinterest like zombies, read teacher blogs, and even hit the stores to create the best lessons we can. Most of the time they’re great. Sometimes they flop. A student’s appreciation for the work we put into them would go a long way with us.
2. You have to work another job in order to keep teaching.
Many students know that teaching doesn’t pay as well as some other careers, but most of them probably don’t know that that sometimes means poverty. Many teachers struggle to pay bills, feed their families, and maintain their classrooms, and often this means a second job. The odd thing about teachers, though, is that many of them feel that teaching is their calling. While so many of us could change careers (and sometimes think about it), we feel that we'd be abandoning our students and doing our skills a disservice. Instead of leaving, we take on other responsibilities at work, or work nights, weekends, and summers just so we can keep teaching.
3. You really want to do fun things with them, and you WOULD, if only they could behave.
Sometimes, it seems that students just don’t get it. They talk, they use their phones, they avoid their work, they misbehave so that you have to spend half of your class time correcting behaviors. If only they knew how much fun they could be having! It takes a lot of maturity for a class to realize that they are their own worst enemy. By following your rules and accepting your lead, they would learn so much and enjoy it at the same time!
4. You have to pee really bad.
Students are often too focused on themselves to realize that you have to follow the same schedule that they do. Your lunch is only 25 minutes (if you're lucky). You only have 4 minutes to get from the teacher’s lounge to the classroom on the other side of campus. You aren’t allowed to use the restroom during class. When I have denied students a bathroom break during class, I have been met with disbelief, indignance, and even flat-out spite. But kids need to learn the discipline of planning their day around their duties, and sometimes this means holding it until the bell rings! It’s just a fact of adult life that we all need to learn.
5. You weren’t the best student either.
We as teachers don’t usually admit our faults and failures to our students. Some of us didn’t like school. Some of us didn’t earn A’s and B’s. Some of us had too many trips to the principal’s office. We don’t really want our students to know these things, but we do want them to understand that WE UNDERSTAND. And that may be why we do what we do, to help them to succeed in ways that we didn’t.
6. You are tough on them because you know they are capable.
They might think that you get a kick out of being in charge or that you're getting revenge for being picked on in high school, but the reason you’re so demanding of them is because you know them and you know what they can achieve. Settling for anything less than their best would be cheating them of their own success, and the pride that comes with it.
7. You hate testing, probably even more than they do.
My students dread standardized testing and the stress that comes with it. If they only knew that their teachers think the same thing! Teachers know that standardized testing is a necessary evil (at least for now), but they don’t look forward to administering laborious and flawed tests to their students, thus reducing all of their efforts to a spreadsheet of ill-begotten data. Not to mention the fact that many states are using testing data to evaluate teachers and determine pay. We know that student knowledge cannot be measured with one test, on one day. When will policy makers finally listen?
8. You think they’re funny.
Kids say the darnedest things, don’t they? As teachers, we have to put on our best poker faces to keep from losing it over a kid’s offhanded comment or silly joke. We really do appreciate their humor and we would love to laugh aloud, but we know that we risk getting the whole class off-task. Occasionally, they are too much for us and they win in the end, but we also know that giggling together as a class is sometimes totally OK.
9. You enjoy seeing them interact with their friends.
Yeah, you might nag them for talking, and scold them for P.D.A.s, but you secretly like seeing your students being social. This is because you know that learning to develop friendships and navigate social surroundings is just as important as learning academics. You love to see a shy kid make a friend, a victim stand up to a bully, or a new kid find a table in the lunchroom just as much as you like to see them ace a test. You might even make an exception for them when you make your next seating chart.
10. You really do love them!
Maybe this is something that we should be able to tell our students outright. That we really do care for them, and we only want the best for them. That we are there for them and that we support them in becoming their best selves. Some kids are harder than others, and some need more than others, but we teachers know that ALL of our students deserve our love, guidance, and support, and that our main goal is to give it up in droves.