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What a teacher wants you to know…

I interviewed for a job yesterday for a part-time aide position (3 hours a day) at a local school district where I would really like to get my foot in the door. It is an RTi position where I would be pulling small groups or individual kids out of the classroom to work with on areas they are struggling with in the classroom. It’s not my dream job, but it’s my dream job right now. How fun would it be to work 3 hours a day with small groups intensely on areas such as reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, and math. I know, not many of you would find that fun, but to me, that is the heart of teaching, making individual connections with students and watching them succeed in small steps at first, but making huge leaps in their learning in the end.

I am a horrible interviewee, and have only interviewed for three jobs including this one since I lost my job last year.  The first was a total of 10 minutes tops! Horrible, never heard from them again.  The second went very  well I thought, but because I had finally decided that teaching is where I wanted to be, I think they were weary of hiring someone who may or may not be there for the long haul.  I can completely respect that.  That left me to search for a position in the teaching field, where jobs are few and far between.  I mean seriously. It is not uncommon for 300+ applicant’s to compete for one position. Competition is fierce and it would be awesome to know the inside secrets to getting hired!

I don’t know if I will ever be able to get out from under the bad reputation I set for myself in my previous teaching position, but I think it speaks thousands of words for me that I haven’t given up.  I have been through a lot this year, and I needed to find my perspective.  It is difficult to be a teacher these days.  Remember that if you are a parent. Really. I can speak from both sides of the table because I have been a teacher and a parent.  But I have also been a student, and I know what I respected most about teachers I’ve had.  These days we parents tend to immediately jump to our child’s defense without even hearing the teacher or principal’s side to the story.  When I was a kid there was no argument.  It didn’t matter if you did it or not, you got in trouble either way.  Even if you didn’t do it you were still expected to take the consequences.

I think the problem between parents and teachers is that we as parents feel it is a personal attack on our parenting skills if a teacher disciplines our children. Yet I feel that it takes some of the pressure off of me as a parent if I know by child is held to high expectations and standards within the classroom.  Of course I will back the teacher up, whether I agree with it on a personal level or not.  Know why? Because when my kid goes out into the real world, the world where bosses couldn’t care less about you personally, couldn’t care less what your mom or dad thinks, or couldn’t care less about what YOU think, I know my child will have the understanding that they are no different from anyone else and there are no free hand outs in this world.  The world does not revolve around them and there are always going to be injustices in the world.  You may not agree with it, but you need to resign yourself to live with it. Otherwise you are going to be jobless, homeless, and sorry, but alone.

If you are a parent, the main thing I want you to remember or to know is that MOST teachers have your child’s best interests at heart.  There is a tremendous amount of pressure that teachers put on themselves to expect the most out of your child and themselves. Imagine having 20 children that you want to teach right from wrong, to empathize with others, and educate them all at the same time. You love them unconditionally (even when they aggravate you to the point of pulling your hair out), you hurt when they hurt, you rejoice when they succeed, and you cry when they inevitably move on… you can fight with parents until your blue in the face, but in the end, all that matters to a teacher is what that child takes away from the classroom and that they know that they are full of potential and are completely responsible for themselves and their actions, and that they are loved, no matter what.

Maybe teaching isn’t what I’m suppose to do, but I don’t think I would keep wandering back to it if I weren’t suppose to be there. I appreciate it when parents compliment me as a teacher, but I will tell you what is even better that a parent’s compliment: a students.

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