Some people think being a teacher is less challenging compared to other professions like being a doctor or engineer. They think teaching is quite simple, because all you need to do is talk in front of children, read books, conduct tests and activities, and check school works.
However, what many do not understand is that the weight of the world is upon the shoulders of educators. With morality and discipline deteriorating as technology and democracy upgrade, teachers bear the responsibility of making sure the next generation will still be able to preserve the values that are essential to establish a secure society.
It is not easy to be a responsible teacher. To know why, here are seven real struggles that only they can understand:
1. Disciplining students without taking their liberty is quite hard to balance.
Before, teachers could spank students and use other disciplinary actions that force children to behave and respect authority. Yes, that method could have a negative effect on kids like trauma or physical injury, but if applied in the right way, it was effective—according to many who went through it.
Of course, it is wrong to abuse children in any form. Nonetheless, when teachers used authority and disciplinary measures without going beyond the limit, it was easier for them to instill discipline in the lives of students.
Nowadays, it is hard to discipline students. Since children are now more knowledgeable of their rights, there are those who do not take their teachers seriously anymore. They know their teachers cannot hurt them, so there is nothing to fear.
2. Trying their best to be a good role model in every way.
A teacher is expected to be a role model in all areas of his/her life. That means teachers need to be extra careful in both public and private engagements to make sure no issues about them surface. They cannot be too expressive of their emotions in the public like dance in the disco bar, kiss their dates in the park, nor shout at the annoying waiter in the restaurant.
Even appearance is a big deal. They need to make sure their clothes are not too revealing in case they encounter parents in the mall. Also, in many cultures, teachers cannot proudly wear tattoos publicly yet. They are expected to look neat, modest, and simple.
3. Pretending to be okay when they are actually not.
Teachers are expected to be good actors. They cannot be vulnerable in front of their students or else they will be overpowered. At least, if they are physically ill, they can excuse themselves from attending the class.
However, being emotionally down is harder. Since teachers are professionals, they cannot make loneliness, sadness, or anger an excuse to rest from work. As the cliché goes, they need to leave their problems in the house or somewhere else.
Teachers should smile in front of their students even if deep inside they feel like torn apart. They must not scream at them even if their patience has run out already. They cannot break down in front of them.
4. Being second parents to the students.
One of the roles of teachers is being a second parent to their students. Meaning, they should not only be concerned with their academic performance. They need to care for them like how they would for their own kids.
If they know a student is going through something, they should not pretend to be blind to it. Like a real parent, they have to take time to ask the kid what is wrong, lend a listening ear, and try to help in any way possible. Teachers must monitor the welfare of their students to help them remain on track to a better future.
5. Adjusting to different kinds of students.
It is not easy to handle a class composed of students coming from different kinds of culture, belief, and social environment. Teachers should respect and understand these different backgrounds to avoid being biased. Regardless of their own principles and beliefs, teachers have to deliver neutral and unprejudiced instructions to their class.
Moreover, teachers have to deal with the different levels of learning of students. They should not go too fast with their lessons for the sake of the slow learners, but they must not go too slow to keep the advanced learners from being bored and uninterested.
They should also apply a variety of teaching strategies to cater to multiple intelligence. Teachers should be innovative and creative in delivering instruction.
6. Being patient with students who do not like them.
This is a normal struggle teachers have to deal with. Not all students will like them. Worse is when they are open or vocal about their dislike to the point of showing disrespect.
It is not unusual for students to talk behind the back of teachers, complaining about the way they teach or against the tasks assigned to them. What is more, there are students who hate have the guts to play prank on the teacher they hate.
In spite this kind of treatment, teachers need to be professional in their actions and judgment towards these students. They need to control their anger and not stoop down to their level. They cannot get even with the students, but instead try their best to get their respect—without compromising a teacher’s principles.
7. Extending work hours for community service and paper works without additional compensation.
Teaching and dealing with students the whole day is tiring alone. What some students cannot appreciate is the extra work that teachers have to exert to prepare daily lessons and check and record students’ outputs.
Aside from the daily lessons and papers to check, teachers are also expected to do reports and other paperworks that are required by the academe. They are also required to participate and even organize programs, symposiums, and other activities that involve the community.
Our teachers need a tap in the back
It may not have a compensation as high as that of an engineer or doctor, but the teaching profession is as important as other jobs. It is a challenging career that requires patience, hard work, knowledge, and virtues.
With all the stress and pressure they get from the classroom, teachers need affirmation and appreciation. They need to hear they are doing fine, so they will be encouraged to keep their passion.
Image credit: Green Chameleon