Friday, October 2, 2015

Teaching is not like other professions

In most jobs you do not receive an email like this. The subject line said:

Head lice information

Most jobs do not require you to think about or check for head lice.

But teaching is not like other professions.

Teaching, like most jobs, requires technical skill. Teaching, like most jobs, has a set of observable and measurable skills that a person needs to be successful. A teacher needs to know and understand their subject. More importantly, a teacher needs to know how to communicate their knowledge of the subject to an eight and twelve and fifteen year-old who may or may not be interested in learning that subject. There are very specific techniques and approaches that can and do help you teach.

But teaching also requires another set of skills. Teaching requires that a person be willing to look for head lice, break up a fight, listen to a break-up story, stop a bloody nose, and tell students that they are dancing too close to each other. Teaching requires that a person notice when a student is "off" because her dog died or because his girlfriend just dumped him or because he was just cut from a team that he had wanted all of his fourteen years to be a part of. Teaching requires that you understand heartache and heart break.

Teaching requires the very best a person has to offer. Students can spot a person who doesn't really care, who is not all that interested in them, and who is unwillingly to do the dirty work that is required to motivate and encourage and challenge a five or nine or thirteen or eighteen year-old.

Teaching is not like other professions.

Yet our society communicates to teachers that they don't matter, that anyone could do the job, that it is really not that hard. We look for ways to put students in front of computers believing, wrongly, that learning is about knowledge when really it is about relationships.

For those who claim anyone can be a teacher, I'll call you next time we need to check for head lice.   


  1. Teaching is like many other professions. This liberal propaganda isn't taken seriously anymore. Teaching is a profession like any other and teachers and not gods, even though they want you to believe that.

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