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Angelo Angelo is offline
 
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Getting sick of "the look"
Old 06-17-2014, 12:29 PM
 
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I don't go out of my way to engage in arguments with non-teachers, especially the anti-teacher types, since nobody ever really changes their mind in such an exchange, and everyone just walks away irritated or even angry.

That said, I do have non-teacher friends, acquaintances, and relatives, and people DO ask one another about their work in normal, day-to-day exchanges. So while I don't go out of my way to complain about the specifics of my job (I save that up for you fine, caring folks ), I do share some of my stresses or concerns when people ask or if others are discussing theirs.

What I'm getting really sick and tired of is "the look" you get from people (or which they exchange with one another as though you can't see it) if you say anything about the challenges of the job or the stresses of teaching.

You know which "look" I mean, right? It's a sort of "Oh, sure" skepticism that can be tinged with anything from bemusement to hostility, depending on just how much the person giving it is ignorant of the teaching profession or hostile to the profession generally.

It often goes like this:

Friend: Well, you must really be looking forward to your summer off.
Me: I haven't allowed myself to think that far ahead yet. Too much to do between now and then!
*Friend gives "the look"*

Friend 1: Any plans for the summer?
Friend 2: Yeah, that's coming up. Are you going away?
Me: Not this summer. I just found out I'm teaching a new course/grade for next year. I'll be holed up for a good chunk of the summer planning and collecting resources.
*Friend 1 exchanges "the look" with Friend 2*

Friend: Hey, we're planning a weekend in Vegas. You in?
Me: No way. Report cards. Plus I can't afford it right now.
*Friend gives "the look"*

Friend 1: This weekend couldn't come soon enough. I've being dealing with the biggest *expletive deleted* of a client this week. SO demanding. E-mails me every five minutes. Never satisfied.
Friend 2: Oh... don't get me started on clients. They think they own you 24/7.
Me: I can relate. I've been dealing with a couple of really demanding parents this week.
*Friend 1 exchanges "the look" with Friend 2*

There seems to be a sort of hegemony among non-teachers in which the stresses, frustrations, and so on of various workplaces can be freely discussed, mutual sympathy extended, and so on. It's sad to think we aren't allowed to share freely in these conversations because of the perception that teachers "have it so good" we never any right to feel stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, etc. One does get tired of only being able to talk to other teachers!


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Yikes
Old 06-17-2014, 01:59 PM
 
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Maybe it's a regional thing, but my friends and acquaintances aren't like that. They accept that teaching is a demanding job. Maybe they give the look and roll their eyes behind my back, but I don't think so. I feel that my hard work is valued.

I just reread this and hope I don't sound contentious. I have tons of problems, , this just isn't one of them. I have read many of your posts and admire you. Please accept that my "other side of the coin" comes from a friendly place.

Last edited by amiga13; 06-17-2014 at 02:08 PM.. Reason: Incomplete
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:13 PM
 
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You don't sound contentious, just lucky to have people in your life who appreciate what you do.
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This is not something I came up with
Old 06-17-2014, 04:26 PM
 
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on my own, (although I wished I'd thought of it in these terms):

Virtually everyone who has finished high school has 12 to 13 years' experience watching and listening to teachers, hence they somehow feel they "know" what it takes to be a good effective teacher. Suddenly, they're experts on what goes into being a teacher. Seriously.
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People who are rolling their eyes....
Old 06-17-2014, 04:28 PM
 
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A) Don't have kids of their own or B) Don't remember their kids at this age C) Never had kids (like those right now in our classes) because things have changed over time!!


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Old 06-17-2014, 04:30 PM
 
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I know the look! I also get, "Oh, but you love it." I love the parents who accuse me of not doing my job and threaten to get me fired? I love being told I have to stay after school for functions that will be held three hours after my contract time is up and put me driving the hour home at 9:00? I love when people who've never taught my grade or subject tell me how to do my job? There are many things I love about my job, but I don't secretly harbor some secret, deep love for the things I'm complaining about.

It's something about the teaching profession...people, including other teachers, expect you to just be ok with all the wrong things in the profession because your a teacher.
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:06 PM
 
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There's pervasive resentment toward teachers for having summers off. I get that all the time. I don't get "the look," though.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:49 PM
 
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My friends know better, but I get something similar from acquaintances frequently. It's so funny when people are clearly gearing up to make a snide remark and then I cut them off with the truth. For example, I've had several people ask me how many hours I HAVE to be at school a day, since a lot of people in the media will remark, "It's a part time job-they're done at 2:30" or something similar. They are always shocked when I say that if I follow my contract to the letter and arrive and leave right on time, my work day is 8 hours. Yes, I get off at 3:15, because I am required to be at work at 7:15. Then they kind of just say "oh" and look away embarrassed. Another one is, "What do you do all summer?" This summer between PD and summer school, I literally have 7 days off. That shuts them up pretty quickly.

Nerdgirl, I also get the "Oh, but don't you love it!" comments too. I'm not allowed to be stressed about my job because it's all for the good of the children, apparently.

I will say though that most of my close friends outside of work aren't teachers and they have the utmost respect for what I do. They will be very quick to say that they could never do it themselves, and they all work typical office-type jobs that don't get near the days off that teachers do.

Last edited by Haley23; 06-17-2014 at 11:07 PM..
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:31 PM
 
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Last year I stayed with my mother for five weeks when I moved to a job 2 hours from where we had been living. We couldn't move into our house for that time (sale wasn't final) and my DH was finishing up his work and packing up the house we had been living in. It wasn't until she saw the time I was out at work and the time put in to the job that she really appreciated how much work and - not sure the of the right word, emotion? energy? - went into the job. Prior to that there were the comments about teachers having long holidays, only working 9-3 - all that sort of thing. That disappeared pretty quickly - from all family members.

Until you have lived with or had a close relationship (for want of a better word) with a teacher, seen them day to day working, it is hard to really understand what goes into the job and how much it can take out of us - regardless of how much we enjoy/love the job.

(Hope that made sense)
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looks
Old 06-18-2014, 07:11 AM
 
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I get this look a lot because I teach preschool. So many people do not think that is teaching but we have parent teacher conferences, tons of paperwork, work sampling, and demanding parents. On top of all of this we have potty accidents, runny snotty noses, having coughs in our face and the yearly threat of ecers reviews which to be are exhausting. Then when they find out we are out for the summer they think we play all year and now we are out? Well before school starts this fall I will have done about 80 workshop hours, researched new ways of teaching for them and new exciting things for them to do. Its not easy keeping 20 four year olds interested!


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Old 06-18-2014, 10:30 AM
 
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I think you need better friends.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:53 PM
 
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The only person I get "the look" from is someone that taught about 40 yrs ago. She tells me how back then they had 40 some kids to a class and had to beg to be given chalk. I always have to remind her that, " Back in those days, teachers could yank an unruly child up and give him/her a swat on the rear! If their parents found out, they'd get into worse trouble at home. " Gone are those days!
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Don't you remember the paddle on the wall?
Old 07-01-2014, 08:18 AM
 
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I am aging myself here, but when I was in elementary school, there was a paddle on the wall in the cafeteria. That was enough for me to never, ever want to be in trouble. What I see from children today is entitlement and what I see from adults is wanting to ease guilt over working and having a life outside of home by encouraging poor behavior choices in their children. As far as people disrespecting teachers, it all depends on whom you're talking to. Most family members and former parents of my students know the level of dedication that my teaching takes. For others, it's more of an "Oh, you're a teacher" kind of thing. People are frustrating!!
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