It Sucks to Be a Teacher

“But Seth, you’re not a teacher.”

I know that I’m not a teacher.  In fact, the closest I’ve come to teaching was taking Fundamentals of Education in college, which required me to fulfill quite a few classroom hours with students.

But my wife is a teacher.

My wife teaches for a small school on the south side of Des Moines for the Des Moines Public School District.  She’s done this since the start of school in the Fall of 2006.  Responsible for special education students from Kindergarten to 2nd Grade, she deals with an assortment of disabilities ranging from mental, to physical, to behavioral.

What she has to deal with amazes me.

Tell me how happy you would be if you were paid this, while having to deal with;

  1. Aged managers(principals) that care only about keeping their personal pain at a minimum at the expense of whomever they can stick it on.  Basically, a boss that doesn’t want to be a part of anything that goes on, or handle annoying situations that come up.
  2. Clients(students) that not only don’t get what your talking about, but most of which don’t care what you have to say.  Some of them come drugged, even so over-drugged, that they can’t function enough to go to the bathroom by themselves. (And there are even some that like to spread their fecal matter on themselves to try to get sent home.)
  3. And there are other clients(students) that have such behavioral issues that they ask if “you’d like your throat slit” with the scissors hidden in your desk drawer. Maybe you’d like a desk or chair thrown at you once a week or so?  Or would you like to be attacked in any number of other ways?
  4. Lastly, there are the parents that send their kids to school sick or hurt, so that they don’t have to take care of them at home. Parents that likely use and grow drugs in front of their kids, watch sexual TV shows and movies around their kids, and don’t bother to bathe or practice proper hygiene with their kids.

In the business world, versions of these issues exist, but they’re mostly muted by necessary professionalism.  Kids don’t have mute buttons.

It’s frustrating for me to hear a new story every other night of what a kid did, or how a situation wasn’t handled appropriately because no one cared to step in and get dirty.  It’s frustrating to hear just tonight that my wife’s entire position is being redefined, forcing her to work with Kindergartners through 5th graders in a closed setting outside of the students normal classrooms.  It’s called self-contained, and basically reduces a teacher to an all day babysitter. The district admitted that their school is short staffed, but they weren’t going to hire another teacher to help.

Most people like to complain about their job, my wife doesn’t complain enough.  She just tells me the stories each night, and looks forward to actually helping the kids that deserve it the next day.

I just hope a year from now she’s finally teaching good kids, in a decent school, with a quality administration. If your hiring for a job like this, and you’d like to see my wife’s portfolio, let me know.  I’d like to be able to help her out.

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