Teachers go to work everyday, not school.
Teachers are content specialists, like most people in their jobs. Whatever their subject areas are, teachers know them well enough not only to teach them, but to make split-second adjustments as they go.
Teachers are also managers, dealing with hundreds of humans in various contexts in the course of a day. Managers assign tasks and help workers accomplish those tasks, and teachers do that all day every day. Managers must be content experts as well as facile at working with people to accomplish goals. In the business world, people get paid more for wearing these multiple hats.
Teachers are learning specialists. Just because you understand content doesn’t mean you know how to relay it to others, but teachers do this.
Teachers are differentiation experts. They learn how each of their students learn and need to be challenged and supported and make thousands of adjustments daily to guide students to their best selves.
Teachers are decision makers. In the course of a 45 minute class, teachers make 180 educational decisions.
And those are just educational decisions. Teachers decide whether to address or ignore the 20+ behaviors being exhibited by each student every second in every class. For the students who think we don’t see you and what you’re doing, we do. We just can’t address your largely benign pencil flipping while someone else is attempting to film a hair tutorial and while someone else is discovering the temperature at which paper catches fire.
Teachers are creative visionaries. Daily, teachers plan how to deliver lessons that engage and inspire and challenge and encourage their young charges. Then they do it again the next day.
Teachers are assessors. Teachers determine how much material students should know; then create a tool to determine what material students actually know; then deliver that tool to the students; then grade the tool; log the results; make decisions and adjustments based on those results; field questions from students, parents, and administrators about those results; all while continuing to plan, prepare, and teach every single day.
Teachers are CEOs. The buck stops with them in their classrooms. Period.
Teaching is a job, and professionals fill their roles every day. So no, teachers aren’t going to school during the dark, early hours of the morning (even though many if not most teachers are in graduate programs to learn more about how to be even better teachers); teachers go to work. And they do the work of professionals. Working with children and young adults doesn’t belittle teachers’ status. Quite frankly, that should elevate their status, because they are doing the work millions of parents don’t want to do every single day – working with their own kids.
Next up, can we get teachers some business cards?