If you are reading this and are a teacher, these things probably won’t come as much of a shock to you. However, explaining the world of teaching to non-teachers isn’t always very easy to do.

I entered college as pre-med and pre-physical therapy. After working with a non-profit that had a music and arts program for kids from the inner city of Milwaukee I fell in love with urban education. My family didn’t, and sometimes still doesn’t, get why I changed my major or why I do what I do for my students. Share this post with those people in your life who maybe just aren’t getting what you’re passion is!

1. Getting a teaching job isn’t easy When I graduated college, everyone told me that the degree and license that I have to teach science would make it so easy to find a job. As I am currently job searching, I really have no idea what they meant by that! Getting a teaching job can be tricky because of licensing, when jobs are posted and the amount of candidates you are up against.

2. There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week When I was a first year teacher, and again in my first year at a new school, I easily would spend 65-70 hours each week on school things. That wasn’t even to make the cool looking worksheets or classroom decorations. It was simply survival! On a good week, once I was settled into my position, I would spend about 50-55 hours at school or doing work at home after work or on the weekends. Hopefully, though it may take quite some time, you will see the payoff of all of those hours and hours of work!

3. Teachers spend a LOT of their own money on school On average, I spend between $300-$600 on school things every year. This seems crazy, but gets crazier when you think about the little salaries that teachers make! Why do I do it? First, school’s have very limited budgets (even public schools). What about that cool science lab I want to do? The only way it is possible is if I spend the money on the supplies. What do I do if we ran out of pencils with 7 weeks left? Go out and buy them. It is my job and obligation to do what it takes for my kids to be successful, even if that means investing mentally, physically, emotionally AND financially in them.

4. The kids really are MY kids I have gotten weird looks before when referring to my students as “my kids”. Like I explained in #3, teachers invest everything they have in their students. We spend, on average, 40 hours each week with them and countless more hours working for their learning. I will never forget my first class of 5th graders from my first year of teaching. Our classes hold special places in our hearts!

5. Teachers need breaks I can’t even tell you how many times my family has joked about getting “so many breaks and all summer off”. What they don’t realize is that many times, those breaks aren’t breaks. Many teachers spend their breaks writing curriculum, catching up on grades, or working a summer job just to make ends meet. Personally, I take a while to unwind by the time breaks come around, but I encourage all teachers to make it a point to take a break–even if it’s just a few days or a long weekend!

Teaching is one of the most thankless jobs, which is very tolling at times. Many people cannot understand what teachers do or why they do it. Great teachers do whatever it takes for their kids. So, despite what others think or say, keep it up! I believe in you! Keep pushing for excellence!

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