What high school teachers do:
Try to encourage some critical thought, grit their teeth for an hour if the students are being twerps, and send them out of the room at the end of the period.
What elementary teachers do:
Teach literally every subject to the same exact group of young-uns for the entire day MEANWHILE taking care of their physical needs like wiping noses and tying shoes.
Like, at least if my kids suck, I only have to endure them every other day for about a semester.
Elementary school teachers have to deal with them ALL DAY for a YEAR.
Mothering is by far my least favorite part about teaching. I love my students, don’t get me wrong, and I definitely worry about them. But I don’t pick up after them, I can be very harsh with them, and I generally do not feel responsible for their overall emotional well-being although I do try to be sensitive to it. El Ed teachers mother the shit out of their kids. Well, from my perspective they do, and I admire the hell out of them for that.
Also, they teach THE ENTIRE DAY. Right now I am teaching summer school and it is literally seven straight hours of material. It is THE WORST. During a regular school year, I teach six different classes the exact same lesson in a row. El Ed teachers have to plan materials for an entire fucking day, AND it has to be interesting; attention spans of eight year olds are about the same as goldfish.
And here’s my big one: they literally teach children to read and count. El Ed teachers are the basis upon which all society is built. How the hell does someone teach a person to read? I have a degree in English and I basically have no idea how to do this. Like, I have been able to read for so long that I don’t remember what it was like to not read. At least I can remember a time when I didn’t know the meaning of the word “metaphor.” I can relate to that. I can find a way to teach that lesson. Teach a kid to read? Nope. Blows my damn mind.
Sure, you say. But what if a kid cusses you out? Little kids don’t do that.
1: They totally do that. Have you ever met an inner city teacher?
2: Want to know what I do when a kid cusses me out? (Yes, it’s happened.) I do this: “Go to student services.” That’s it. I tell them to leave my room and later I write a referral and I let someone else deal with it. If they refuse to leave (also happened,) then I call the student resource officer. It is literally not my problem.
Okay fine, you say. But you’re teaching complicated topics that require more learning.
No, no I’m really not. I like to think I am, I do. I like to think that I am teaching this beautiful word of Shakespeare to the bright and receiving minds that will take it far and away and do glorious things with it, but here’s the thing: if you put in an effort and turn everything in, you will pass my class. That’s that. It’s not complicated. Like most things in life, it’s mostly about showing up, putting in a half-assed effort and getting your paycheck, I mean… grade.
But highschoolers deal with bigger problems.
Yes they do. Sex and drugs and drama, oh my! But, are those problems MY problems? Definitely not. See above: literally all I have to do is put up with them for a couple hours at most. Otherwise, not my problem. El Ed teachers have to put up with minuscule details alllllllll day and actually act like that splinter is really tragic.
Elementary Ed teachers, you are the salt of the earth. I cannot sing your praises enough.