So far we’ve heard from a minister who gets exasperated when parishioners treat her differently outside the church and a reader in the biotech field who cleared up a common misconception about cancer. This next reader, David, runs through several misconceptions about his work as a preschool teacher:
You’re so lucky. You get summers off.
Many teachers work in the summer. They don’t make enough money during the school year. More than a few teachers have to pay for supplies for their own classroom. They are not given a big enough budget by the school.
You’re so lucky. You get off work at 2:30, right?
Faculty meetings, prep for the next day’s classes, emails and phone calls to parents ... you get the picture. It is 8:30 pm as I write this, and I’m taking a break from preparing for tomorrow’s school day. I’ve only taken time off for dinner and a short walk since the kids left.
You’re so lucky. You get to play with kids all day.
This was said to me by a parent—and preschool teacher too—at a parent conference. For the youngest children, play is work. And in these days of Common Core and the Every Student Succeeds Act, preschool is pre-high-stakes testing. Five year olds have work to do in their handwriting workbooks. After that, they work on what number combinations make 5. Morning meeting lasts at least a half hour. And all this is before any recess.
A daughter of a teacher adds:
I stopped visiting my parents over Christmas because my mom was WAY too busy to do anything with me while on her winter break. Much better to go in late July or early August, after the prior school year was put to bed, but before it was time to start setting up for the next year. (And she usually still coerced me into doing prep work for her :)
Another teacher is a bit miffed that “people perceive teachers as being ‘secular saints’—and that we are expected to be: mother/father, nurse, social worker, psychologist, and a host of other things to our students that go above and beyond our job description.” Another reader looks through a gendered lens: