Teachers Reveal The Most Unexpected Parts Of The Job They Wish They'd Known Before Starting.

It seems ideal, right? Getting summers off, having great benefits and getting to hang out with kids all day. But, teaching is much more difficult than it may seem at face value. These teachers reveal the most unexpected parts of teaching that they were never taught in teachers college.

1/21. Some parents are 100x worse than any bad student you've ever had. Not prepared for that.


2/21. There is a nig chance you will quit in three years or less. I did anyway.

And more importantly a teenage boy will take a picture of you while you are chaperoning recess - add a 'sick' filter to it - post it on Instagram with the hashtag '#mancrushmonday' - and you'll then have to explain to your assistant principal why it isn't cause for concern and you are not feeling sexualized by your students.


3/21. Nothing can prepare you for the feelings at the end of a school year, when you see the kids you spent so much time teaching, listening to and caring for move on to the next class/graduate.

Proud to see what they have achieved over the year; but in the full knowledge that you're going to miss them.

I've been told it gets easier over the years, but so far, the end of the school year has gotten to me every time.


4/21. Other teachers will create cliques and gossip and trash-talk you just like students.


5/21. 10 years so far.

Teaching is a fraction of what we do:

There's an absurd amount of paperwork, from attendance, to Individualized Education Plans, to formal evaluations, to field trip forms, etc.

Behavior problems are always an issue, sometimes big and sometimes small.

The personality, both individual and group, from class to class varies wildly. The exact same lesson or resources has to be tailored to the abilities and interests of literally dozens of students per class, and at least in my district 5 classes per day.

Dealing with (story continued on the next page...).

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Dealing with parents, deans, administrators, counselors, other teachers, etc. can be an asset or a liability.

Somewhere in there is actual instruction and learning, but it's hard to find when one student is having a breakdown because of family drama and another is showing up high all the time at the same time the superintendent is showing up for a photo op.

Kids have gotten horrible habits, maybe from earlier years of schooling or from home or from peers or from the media. The source matters less than the fact that "I give up" is an acceptable answer before a first try. Or that "screw you" is an acceptable response to an honest mistake.

The pay is insulting, and there's almost never any level of appreciation. Not from students, not from parents, not from random adults. We're too burnt out to acknowledge each other, and usually just end up venting to each other.

But every once in a while, there's a student (usually a former one, but sometimes a current one) who acknowledges the positive role I play(ed). It makes all the difference in the world. I have every single note or card of thanks I've gotten, sorted by year. When everything I've mentioned earlier gets to me, I reread those letters, and it helps.


6/21. The feeling you get in your gut when you're not allowed to hug a child who is crying.


7/21. I think that part that really hit me as a teacher is testing.

All the state testing or whatever everyone does feels like the world's biggest joke. We train on how to give the test all year. We have trainings on how to interpret scores. We have an entire staff meeting to present scores. Everyone just sits there and nods their heads. I sometimes catch a few people with the same look as me.

No seriously...I have like this split second where I think maybe I just don't have a clue. Then I think it through and I am totally convinced the whole thing is BS.


8/21. I think for a lot of us it is the realization that some kids have no chance in this life. We can only (story continued on the next page...).

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We can only help so much and then they move on. They still have stuff home lives, parents who don't care or hate them and subject them to all kinds of abuse. They get caught up in the culture that they were brought up in and make the same choices their parents and family made because it is all they know. My experience as a teacher this is a very common trend. My wife is a teacher and she sees it every day as well.


9/21. Most of the disruptive kids are just craving attention from an adult that they don't get at home. Secretly, the disruptive ones are my favourite students, probably because I devote so much time and energy in trying to change their lives.


10/21. Balancing work life with family life. It is so easy to get lost spending hours upon hours preparing the best lessons. In my first couple years of teaching it wasnt uncommon for me to still be at the school past 8 or wake up at 4am to get something extra done. Marking is ceaseless and so is your child prep. How much you read about their history, how much you delve into what they previously knew, and so on and so forth. Average teacher in my area puts in 56 hours a week, and to imagine our actual work week is only 35ish? Thats a lot of preparing!

Now that I have kids Ive found myself changing my teaching to adjust to lower work life commitments, and its hard! Cutting back makes me feel like an inferior teacher, but not cutting back makes me feel like an inferior father/husband. The nagging inside is painful every day.

Jeremy Hiscock

11/21. That leaving on time is apparently a sin punishable by the 9 gates of hell.


12/21. How hard it is to get a kid in trouble for cheating (at least at the college level).

I was a teaching assistant at a reputable school with a so-called zero tolerance policy, and I literally had kids with the exact same (down to incorrect spelling and grammar) completely wrong, completely absurd answer on a test.

This happened on three separate occasions (different students each time). Only one (story continued on the next page...).

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Only one resulted in any kind of punishment, and that was only because one of the students confessed.

Kids will clearly cheat on homework, and we give them a zero for homework, but almost never get any kind of administrative punishment for cheating.

Half the professors I have TA-ed for don't even bother trying to prosecute cheaters, since it almost always works out in the student's favor and it is a huge administrative hassle.


13/21. No one really cares about education. Just grades. If you just randomly gives 90's people will praise you. Even if it's a lie. Kids are trained to do well, not challenge themselves and learn, but score high.


14/21. If you aren't helping students, you're hurting them and selfish. I had to stop coaching when I started babysitting my nephew regularly to help family. Got 2 emails from parents calling me a "selfish prick". Note: anyone, not just teachers, can coach teams. We don't get paid for it.


15/21. be prepared to not be recognized for any hard work you do. I think that's why there's a lot of actual shitty teachers around to be honest.


16/21. If you are a man, you can never EVER make any comment about a student's clothing - especially a female student. If they're wearing something inappropriate, you better go find a female teacher to say something for you. If you say anything, (story continued on the next page...).

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If you say anything, you're looking at losing your job for sexual harassment. I've seen it happen. Just a simple, "Jessica, that skirt is too short" or "Sarah, that shirt is inappropriate" will do it. All that student needs to do is tell someone "Mr. Smith was looking at my skirt - I think he's a pervert" and you're gone. Even worse if that student has something against you. The school district will fire you because they don't want to get in the middle of a legal battle defending a possible pervert. Easier to just let you go and replace you with someone else. This is part of the reason that there are so many female teachers these days. People don't feel "safe" having a grown man around their teenage girl.


17/21. The hardest part of being a teacher is being on for 6.5 hours per day. Teaching requires a good deal of multitasking and during the day there is very little time to catch ones breathe. One must pay attention to all that is going on in the classroom including class management, presenting lessons, answering student questions, interruptions for things like calls from the office, students entering and leaving the classroom and a multitude of other things.

Contrary to the belief of many, being a classroom teacher is no walk in the park.

John W Cohen

18/21. Rich parents get lawyers. Or are lawyers. I had one lawyer mom come after me over her kid's grade. The school didn't want the trouble so I told them to change the grade. They don't need my approval - they change grades on the DL anyhow.


19/21. My dad teaches autobody, and thus gets stuck with many "problem" students. I mean, the worst of the worst. These students ALL have problems. These are the students society doesn't want, the school doesn't even want, and so they push them all into his class, most students faced with is as a last resort, really.

Now, my dad has been teaching for almost 15 years. He loves what he does, it's his passion. He sympathizes with many of the kids and wants to give them a chance at having a career. That said, (story continued on the next page...).

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That said, it's an extremely difficult and heartbreaking experience all the same. Students get expelled all the time, and the class is extremely hard to control. I honestly have no idea how he manages to teach those kids.

I know it's even harder for my dad to deal with every day, knowing that a lot of kids have poor situations at home and school is there only escape.


20/21. Most of the people I work with are barely invested in the children. They had some other dream that didn't work out and are currently using teaching as a way to keep a roof over their heads.


21/21. Parents are awful. It is my dream to introduce a system whereby an external mediator stands in on all communications between parents and teachers. If the parent starts being rude then the external mediator gets to tell them in no uncertain terms just how stupid they are. It would be preferable if the parent is reduced to tears.


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