The Truth About Teachers

School starts next Tuesday and the rest of the teachers can finally get back to work. In honor of our triumphant return to the workplace, I’d like to shed a little light on the noble profession of education. Many people believe that because they went to school, grew up in a family of educators, or drive past a school on their way to work in the morning, they know all there is to know about education. Nine times out of ten, they’re wrong. Very very wrong. Allow me to dispel a few of the untruths, myths, and rumors about being a teacher.

Urination is a privilege How many professionals have to schedule their bathroom breaks? Who has to inform others of their need to take a wizz? What woman has ever considered wearing Depends instead of tampons or sanitary napkins? Chances are, if you’re not a teacher, figuring out who’s gonna do your job while you relieve yourself of that grande caramel macchiato has NEVER crossed your mind. **TMI ALERT** Do you know how many times I pissed my pants while I was pregnant because I rarely got a break? I keep a spare change of clothes in my car just in case of a tampon fail. I have to retrain my bladder every single school year because the time of my break changes EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL YEAR!!! The next time you get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom whenever the urge hits you, remember that there is a teacher out there doing the peepee dance.

The work day just ain’t that short You know that six hours we spend standing in front of children delivering instruction (and not going to the bathroom)? Well, in order to teach six hours, we spend on average THREE MORE HOURS each day preparing lessons and materials, grading assignments, doing paperwork, calling parents, writing grants, researching new methods ET-FLIPPING-CETERA!!!! My workday is NOT over when the kids leave the building, nor is it over when I leave the building. If I need materials for a particular lesson, I go to the store and purchase them with my own money(while most professionals are given what they need to do their jobs effectively by their employer and if not, it’s reimbursed in full). A mediocre teacher spends approximately 10 hours outside of school hours preparing; an excellent teacher spends approximately 30 to 40 hours preparing. Just like a parent, a teacher’s work is NEVER done (even after the final bell rings because LaQuineshalantina’s mama forgot to pick her up again).

All those days off… Teachers work approximately 180 days per year compared to other professions who work about 250. I could go with the easy argument that we deserve those days or else there would be a lot more school shootings with teachers toting the guns instead of the students or that many teachers work after school and during the summer…but instead I’ll take a different approach. So you know how people take vacations to get away from work, right? And a teacher’s work is the children, right? Well guess who else is on vacation while teachers are on vacation? Damn right!!! KIDS!!!!! Not only are our vacations more expensive because we have to take them during peak seasons (spring, summer, and Christmas breaks) but everywhere we go is overrun with children! I went to Disney World during spring break, paid twice as much for the hotel, had to take butt crack of dawn flights because the other times were three times as much AND had to ‘bow my way through crowded ass Magic Kingdom! I didn’t even get to see Tiana!!! Yeah, I know, boo hoo, the kids are there but I don’t think you get it. The kids are ALWAYS THERE!!! Even that random Dead White Man’s Day we get off in March is a cruel exercise in emotional warfare when I go to the store and get bumrushed by students, former students, and they mammies. Hell, I was at the club one night and heard “MS. FLETCHER!!!!!!” being screamed from the other side of the room (a parent, not a student…I’m not THAT old). During this past summer, I attended meetings, worked in my classroom, prepared materials for the upcoming school year, researched new teaching methods, shopped for cheap supplies and books, taught summer school, took workshops: work stuff. Alls I’m saying is, is that although we do get a bunch of days off, unless we choose to lie in bed all day, we will never escape our jobs: the children.

Teachers often joke that our job descriptions should include mother, chef, social worker, custodian, nurse, author, magician and psychologist. We take on a very arduous task, often with little support and loads of criticism from individuals who think they have the answers but don’t even know the REAL questions. We’re disrespected by students and parents, underpaid and overworked, and expected to perform Jesus-like miracles (so you really expect me to teach this clinically psychotic kid off her meds who keeps kicking me and throwing what looks and smells like feces across the room? [True story]). We complain ALL THE TIME, but when you get down to it, we stand before 30 kids every single day and try to help them achieve greatness. The majority of the teachers in schools today are hard workers charged with teaching students who don’t understand why they need an education and fight us tooth and nail about it. Many times, we care more about our kids than their own parents do. The next time you meet a teacher, excuse me, an EDUCATOR, shake their hand and tell them thank you. We deserve your praise, not your turned up noses.

Ms. Fletcher
Educator Extraordinaire


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