Well, friends, it is August and school is no longer out for summer!
Teachers and kids may not be as prepared as the parents, HA (and the world has been shoving supplies down my throat since after the four, lol!) Something that I find…’entertaining’ is the misconceptions people have about educators. And since I have been writing for this wonderful site for almost three years now, I thought I would ask my GeekyKool family what their questions are about the world of inspiring and educating our youth. And if there are any stereotypes they want to be confirmed or busted!
Thank you guys and to everyone, I hope you have a fantastic school year!
GeekyKool Writers Ask a Teacher About Teaching:
What do Elementary Teachers think about Middle School Teachers and High School Teachers? Be good to know the perspective from each group- “I am fortunate enough that in my building, being alternative, we have students kindergarten to 12th grade all in one school. Something we all agree upon and say often is: ‘I couldn’t do your job!’ LOL! That may sound silly since we are all teachers, but the high school teachers, for example, always think my kids are adorable and do not want to scold them, but squirm when they go in my room at the thought of snot on the desk. A few even gasp when a little one holds my hand! Germs are germs; hate to say all kids have them! Yet, I could not deal with technology violations, adult policies teenagers have, and attitudes. Plus the hard material and tracking credits! So props to them! Everyone has a gift, and every teacher has a sweet spot age group. But, what we all agree on is we adore our students, will always take care of them, and we respect and support each other as a staff. This is why our building words and our kids feel safe.”
What is your least favorite subject to teach?- “Elementary-wise, I do not mind teaching most subjects since they are critical for the children’s development. I would say the most stressful for sure is standard or state testing time! ARG! If I had to choose a least favorite subject, I would say once they get to third-grade math with multiplication. I love social studies and language arts.”
What do you are the drawbacks of having technology, like Chromebooks, in the classroom? What are the benefits?- “OH! This is a great discussion topic! My quote for everything is: ‘Technology is great…when it works.’ It is a societal issue, not just education. We do SO much with tech. For students, I have a Smartboard to show educational videos, play movies at lunchtime, Chromebooks to use educational websites and games, have stories read to them, practice typing, learn how to use the Internet safely and Google Docs to compose their first research papers (third-grade state standard,) and to of coarse play appropriate games during indoor recess. Then teachers print (be careful; the copies can smell fear if you’re in a hurry,) set up Google Classroom, all the professional development online courses and organizations we have to be a part of, documentation is all online, grades, researching and creating lesson plans, checking emails, presentations, our phones for updates or to contact the boss if he is out of the building, weather updates…. It is INSANE! And when it does not work? Well, guess you are up a creek without a paddle. I use my Chromebook daily between school, being an author, and heck; even now for GeekyKool. It is beneficial and has so many good tools and skills to teach/use. But, I feel we are too dependent on it. Being elementary, I am blessed my students still usually are willing to try all sorts of teaching styles to see what works with them: songs, rhymes, manipulatives (hands-on objects to help learning,) reading together, dancing, physical games (my kids love card games,) whiteboards, crafts, and so forth. The lamer, the better! So, the key is to co-exist with technology, but do blended learning and be prepared for anything! Doing what is best for each child to help them learn is what really matters.”
How many hours a week, including prep time and grading do you think most teachers spend working?- “Teaching is one of the few jobs you are EXPECTED to take your work home. I would easily say beyond my contracted 7:30 AM to 3:10 PM shift, I say I do about 5-6 extra hours of prep and grading a week on a good week. Plus I teach at an after-school club twice a week from 3:15 to 5:00 PM (I get paid, but that can be an additional 2-3 hours of prep a week for that.) And I know you’ll counter: “Don’t you have a plan period?” To that, I say… “You’re so cute!” LOL! Technically, I have a plan period, but I rarely get to use it. On Tuesdays during our plan periods, we have weekly meetings. With my building being an alternative, over half of the school is special education, so I have IEP meetings during my plan often. Or I have to cover for another teacher. And your plan period when you do get, you spend a 1/3 of it cleaning up your room or are working; it flies by.”
Stereotype- Teachers get off at 3 pm after only working 5-6 hours and only work 9 months a year/Teachers have all summer break off and basically do nothing but sipping drinks at the beach.– “I put this one here since it goes with the above question. The second half is yes, also technically is true, but almost every teacher I know does summer school in June or has to take a part-time second job for money. I have to survive summer school. My yearly salary is divided into 12 checks, but I get my July and August ones at the end of June! So I have to keep track of that and those two months are smaller than my others because I do not have my after-school program classes for extra money. So, yeah, summer school it is for money sake. But I DO believe everyone deserves a vacation!”
Stereotype question – Teachers always complain about money, they should just quit if they want more money?- “I don’t think ‘always’ is a fair statement, but a worry I will agree with. Considering all the tasks we are expected after earning at least a four year degree, it is not much. Can you live on it? Yes. Now, my poor paraprofessional friends (teacher’s assistant, which I was for five years before getting my teaching position,) get paid exceedingly unfairly! Not livable for all they do. Nor our wonderful support staff: bus drivers, lunch staff, custodians, and administrative assistants. And for the second part: it may sound clique, but a career should not just be about money, but about love. Every teacher I know goes into the field knowing what we signed up for salary-wise and we are there for the students. However, several educators are leaving the field due to mistreatment from workload, short staffed, budget cuts, and low pay. It is very sad, especially for our students and the future of our nation.”
Why did you want to become a teacher?- “My father was a 9th grade and college history teacher. I knew all about the ins and outs of teaching, exposed at a young age how it was more than a 7-3 (to paraphrase the lovely Dolly) job. Yet, I was the eldest cousin in my family and the only girl. I have always been a mother hen and been good with children. I recollect playing school at my grandma’s house when we were small and would all go over next door to play. I was the teacher and seeing them light up when they learned something new warmed my heart. Finding ways to use my creativity to help them learn was thrilling. Plus, my favorite teacher of all time, Ms. Mahan, my fifth-grade teacher, told me I had the compassion to be an educator and that was when the door open. I am blessed I had so many good influences and a good college ten minutes from my house!”
What are the best and worst/annoying parts of it?- “I think and hope my other answers above help answer this! LOL! ^_^ Kids and co-workers are the best. Stress is the worst and the ever-changing state programs, tests, and policies they are going to switch it in a year or three is really annoying!”
And how awkward is it for you to see students outside of school? IE, grocery store, shopping ECT.– “It does not overly bother me because if they are smiling to see me, I did something right and with a student I have not seen in awhile, I like to see how they are doing. BUT, I will be honest; depending on the student, or guardian, I have turned the other way!”
Hollywood stereotype: Teachers come in ‘under the influence’ at work. True?: “Lord! I hope not! I personally do not know anyone who did this. Teachers are meant to be role models. In fact, in Missouri, the state has access to check our posts on social medias and if there is anything they find questionable, they can call us out on it. I personally know two teachers who have lost their jobs due to a photo or post. But, Hollywood does like to do this trope.”
Why do bullies get away with stuff? (From one of my kids-) “Awww. Well, first off sweetie; if you have ever went through this or saw this, my heart goes out to you. I was bullied a lot growing up, especially in middle school. It was really hard. It is never right; everyone is beautiful. I promise you though; teachers HATE bullying and we will do everything we can to protect and care for our students. Never be afraid to tell an adult if you are being bullied; every grown-up in a school is there for you. I admit; another reason I went into education was to look out for the quiet, nerdy, and bullied kids like myself. I turned my experience during those hard times into a way to empathize, be knowledgeable, have courage, and protect those who I see being bullied and try to nip it before it happens.”
What is something you’ve learned, during your time as a teacher, that surprised you? (Like, something you never realized about teaching, etc.)- “I have a comedic answer and a serious one. For my serious, my eyes were opened to what my students have had to deal with in their young lives. In my alternative setting, most of my students have backgrounds that will break your heart. I cherish my school focuses on building rapport, trust, and character education first. It makes me see how blessed I was growing up, how critical that positive foundation is to start off life. For a funny twist, some of the things I have to say that I NEVER thought I would! The one that sticks in my mind is: “Don’t lick the wall!” HA!
I often hear about how all kids are horrible these days, and how parents just don’t discipline like they used to. Have you found this to be true?- “I will say according to my dad, who started teaching in the late 70’s, this is very true. A lot of guardians do not hold their kids accountable and often, teachers are blamed for everything. Many of the tasks we are forced to do are state decisions we have no say in and trust me; we GET they are stressful. Kids are braver to yell or even, hate to say, but it is true, strike a teacher or staff. And some of the things guardians get upset about or ask us to do…*Sighs* I get it; being a parent is hard, But it is mind-blowing. We all love your kids; working together should be the key. I will say in the building I am at going on 8 years, I rarely interact with parents/guardians due almost all my students are in children’s homes.”
Teach on, learn more, shine bright! Stay geeky! 🙂
Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice, and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real-life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.
For more information about Morgan and her works, check out her website, which also has links to all her social medias: http://morganscomnick.com