Jun 18, 2012

The Teacher vs. Teachers

Too many people don’t like teachers.

They don’t like them for their summers off, their short work hours, their “gold-lined” pension and their high salaries.

However, the reality is many people love the teacher.

They love the one in the room, helping their kid achieve great things. They love the teacher who coaches the sport, who supports their child when times get tough, who tries everything to connect with the child off the tracks.

Too often the conversation is about “teachers” and rarely about “the teacher”.

That’s how the narrative needs to change.

It’s too easy to throw us all into the pot. It’s too easy to point at the nameless, numberless mass of tax-sucking workers and call them redundant, expendable. I don’t believe parents are ready to say that about the teacher who calls home, the teacher who is sitting waiting to talk at parent’s night.

As teachers, we need to do a better job talking about the teacher too.

Change the conversation from the collective to the individual. From the nameless to the named. From the heartless to big hearted.

People support the teacher. Let’s start talking about that.


  • Excellent comment. In all my years as a school administrator, I rarely heard a bad word about a specific teacher.

    • Thanks for your comment Bob. How then can we change the public persona away from the collective “teachers” and remind them of “the teacher”? That’s the big question…

  • Years ago someone gave me some advice to deal with the “You have such an easy job and so many holidays’ people. All you do is smile and say ‘Yes, aren’t I lucky? I can’t take time off during the week to go to the dentist or the Doctor, I don’t get to play golf, I don’t get to go out to lunch, I buy my own stationery, I have 25 lives in my hands every day, but I have a job that I love which is more than a lot of people can say and I get great holidays. Aren’t I lucky?” Works every time – they don’t know what to say next. Being defensive just leads to argument but this way – as you say above – you are focusing on yourself as the teacher – adding the human face.

  • My mom retired from WRDSB this year. This hints at why she thought it was time to get out.

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