The job of an educator is often challenging. Yet, many teachers will rave about the many rich rewards they gain via the small or large victories that are accomplished inside the classroom. Teaching is serious business. Those we educate inspire us. Those who have chosen this path, don’t confine themselves to only thinking about duties and responsibilities for their students when the bell rings, it is a year round responsibility. Many persons, who have not been inside the classroom as a teacher, do not understand the demands of the profession. At times, without meaning to offend, they can make disparaging or insensitive remarks. Below are a few things to never say when talking to an educator.

“Teaching must be awesome, you all have summers off.”

This is a simple, but ignorant statement. Teaching is awesome, and there are great rewards when our students have those, “aha” moments. However, teaching does not end when we are off. Teachers are aware of their teaching assignment for the next year, and often begin planning during their breaks. Teachers like to travel when we have time off, but greatness requires work. Much of our holiday is spent doing professional development, and other networking opportunities to develop more innovative strategies for our students. Summer is a time to relax, but a lot of it is also dedicated to preparations for the upcoming school year.

“You give too much homework.”

Homework is not busy work. There are elements in the curriculum that have to be covered and we have to be sure that students comprehend the content before moving forward. Most homework is given in the form of mini-projects. The student’s mastery of the objectives (or not) helps the teacher to know how to move forward in the content, and which areas need to be retaught. A teacher’s homework is never done, and we have high expectations for our students.

“Don’t you just love having free time in the evenings?”

Free time? If a teacher is not grading, he/she is lesson planning. Lesson plans cannot be swiftly put together. It requires thinking about the needs of each of our students, and developing innovative teaching strategies to deliver the content. If students are not engaged, they will not pay attention to the content. Student centered games and activities take time and preparation. Lamination, printing, and cutting are done in the evenings, and teachers often stay late at school to get the job done.

“Teaching must be easy right? It’s all in the book.”

Imagine sitting in a classroom with blank walls, and a monotone voice reading verbatim every single word from a book. There is silence, and instantly you begin to drift off to sleep. This is not 21st Century learning. The “book” is a small component of the lesson delivery. Books are often used as supplementary material. The book is aligned with the curriculum, but there is more scaffolding that teachers do to ensure the requirements are met. Teachers may make teaching look effortless, but it is definitely rigorous.

“Teaching kindergarten must be like babysitting.”

No matter what the grade level is, teachers put their best foot forward when it comes to instruction. You can easily offend a teacher with remarks that are not empowering or positive. Hard work and dedication are the key components of what makes teachers do their job well. Whether it is Cycle 1 or Cycle 3 students, teaching takes consistency, and has to be managed effectively.

Teachers work hard. Uplift them with your words, it makes a tough job a little easier!

By PreSha Barnes

PreSha has been an educator for the past seven years. A native of Houston, Texas, PreSha is passionate about empowering other educators. She is also a Teach Middle East Magazine Blogger.