1. ‘Those who can’t, teach’
‘…and those who can’t teach, teach primary!’
The above line being a famous quote from the very funny British Christmas film ‘Nativity!’. This is a well used phrase and many see it as a joke without thinking about what they are actually saying. I must admit that myself and many other colleagues showed this film to our classes at the end of the Autumn term as a special Christmas treat. We didn’t think twice about the connotations of the quote, but what kind of impression of teachers is this giving off?
It takes a great deal of skill to teach, as you are combining your specialist subject knowledge (or all subjects in the case of primary teaching) with the ability to teach children.
2. School finishes at 3:15 so the teachers get to go home
3. Teachers get their summers off
I will not delve into detail on the above two statements. I feel these are well covered amongst social media, but still deserve some extra attention. Whenever I see a teacher post something connected to the above two statements on social media, there is always backlash from one of their ‘friends’ or ‘connections’; either disagreeing or complaining that teachers are always complaining about these factors. This then makes some teachers too embarrassed to discuss these issues.
4. Teachers are all the same
This statement creates the idea that teachers are replaceable units functioning in the same way. Yes we all follow the same teaching standards, but we don’t operate like robots. Each teacher adds their own strength and character to their teaching to make it a more memberable experience for the children. Unfortunately, due to many teachers leaving the profession and hundreds of students being enticed with healthy monetar grants to train as a teacher, we are giving teaching a dispensable reputation.
5. Teachers just reuse and recycle old lessons
This used to be the case and was definitely noticeable if you had two siblings in the same school. Two years later your younger brother would be carrying out exactly the same art project of painting sunflowers as you did. Or at secondary school your older sister lent you her English coursework on ‘Of Mice and Men’ as it was exactly the same title.
Due to constant curriculum changes and changes in the personality and ability of our students, teachers are always (or should be) tailoring their plans to the needs of their current children. Recycling lessons like this is old fashioned and does give some teachers a bad name.
On the contrary, I think it is really nice to see certain projects repeated in a school each year. This is because they build up excitement for the children in younger years and it is something to look forward to.
6. Teachers know the answer to anything you ask them
No they don’t.
The great thing about teaching is that you can learn with your students. I find that children are more engaged in learning when you are learning together (even if you are just pretending you didn’t know something!). Some parents and students expect teachers to have the answer to any academic question and if they don’t, they start to worry about their child’s education. Teachers are as much learners and facilitators as they are anything else. They inspire the children to discover just as much as they share with the children.