Teaching: It’s Harder Than It Looks by Gerry Dee
Some people know Mr. D from his hit television show of the same name. In it, he plays a teacher who tries his best to do as little work as possible. His ultimate goal is to become a gym teacher and be popular among the students. The show recently broke into the American market and is now on streaming services under the title of “Mr D: The Gym Teacher.”
The show is hilarious and well-worth your time. Teachers will appreciate it even if the character isn’t the best teacher in the world. We can identify with mnay of the situations he fins himself in. They are very real. Part of the reason the show works so well is because it comes from the perspective of someone who has actually been in the trenches. That’s right, Gerry Dee, used to be a teacher before he achieved fame in comedy.
This is what he had to say about the training we all received to join this noble profession.
Teacher’s College Doesn’t Prepare You At All
“What was the point of all those years of teacher training? What was the point of my teaching certificate? A police officer, a warden, a bouncer—they would have known how to handle a situation like this. But not me. I had suffered through years in a Bachelor of Education program and still had no clue how to deal with this little brat.”
The first few years of teaching in a public school are very hectic. It seems that you survive by the seat of your pants every day.
Teachers Run On Instinct
“Everything you do as a teacher comes from your instincts, what you learned about discipline when you grew up and how good you are at asserting yourself. That’s the truth. With time in the classroom, I learned what I should have learned in school. I learned how to put on a performance. I learned how to raise my voice for effect. To put on false anger that would make the kids back off and give me a chance to teach. With time, I learned a few other techniques that would leave the instructors at teachers’ college pale-faced and horrified. But there’s not a teacher out there who hasn’t bent the rules a little in order to win that much-sought-after prize: respect in the classroom.”
People expect a lot from us, but we can’t possibly know and be good at everything. We aren’t superheroes.
Teachers Aren’t Superheroes
“We expect the people who teach our kids to be better at everything than we are. Teachers are supposed to be smarter than they are, better disciplinarians than they are, and in possession of some kind of magic tricks to make kids learn. But the truth is that teachers are human, too! We’re not superheroes, folks. And we are full of imperfections, just like everyone else.”
And some of us could actually benefit from a superhero costume. Maybe.
Teachers Maybe Need Uniforms Too
“While I’m pro-uniform for students, I’m also pro-uniform for teachers. Why? Because students aren’t the only ones who dress badly. Teachers are guilty, too. Teachers can be horrible dressers.”
I’ve seen this first hand. It’s one of the reasons I like to wear ties.
Here is a great marking tip.
Mark the Smart Kids’ Work First
“Always, always mark the smart kids first. The smart kids have the best answers. They probably have better answers than you can come up with. Their answers can be your answer key for all the other papers. Dumb Kids Second. Next, move on to the kids who have 30 averages—the ones who left a whole bunch of blank spaces on the page. Grab your red pen. Write a few comments in the margins, expressing your concern. ‘What?’ ‘Incomplete.’ ‘Always read the directions carefully.’ Maybe slash a big red line or two down a couple of pages. Enjoy this part, because it’s fast.
Average Kids Last. Finally, turn to the in-between kids, the ones who are hovering between getting it and being totally out to lunch. If they write something a smart kid wrote, it’s probably worth a few marks, but make sure to add a few slashes and question marks in those inevitable blank spaces. Done. In only a few minutes. Seventy per cent.”
I still use the smart kids’ work to make my answer keys. It’s brilliant!
“Students are cheaters. Period. Students love to cheat, and they do it all the time.
Almost all kids cheat. They can’t help it! If there’s a shortcut, they want it. If there’s a loophole, they want to jump through it. If there’s a way around studying, they’ll find the way.”
That’s why I don’t like the online education world we find ourselves in right now. Our students are cheating. And it’s very hard to catch them right now. Dee has some great stories about how he managed to catch cheaters. They will make you laugh.
Keeping it Real
Over all, this was a fun read that I think teachers, and non-teachers will enjoy.
My 2020 Reading Log – coming soon!