Wrong Profession

Sometimes I think I am in the wrong profession. It’s this time of year when it happens too because this is when we as teachers are asked to order materials for the next school year. It is mind-boggling to see the amount of teaching related material that is out there. It seems like there are millions of products to choose from.

Teachers are the only people I know that spend large amounts of their own money on work related materials. I know that I have bought lots of things after my budget has been exhausted. It seems like the producers of all this fancy educational material know it too. They target us as teachers and tempt us with all sorts of things.

It’s not only that, there are certain things that I feel that I need to purchase to deliver the program that will allow my students to learn. For example, science materials. In order to do experiments, we need to have certain materials. So I hit the dollar stores and spend a few dollars getting the things together that we need to learn a scientific concept. I normally don’t mind doing this but when you start to buy materials for an experiment here and an experiment there, throughout the entire year, it starts to add up.

Teachers also tend to acknowledge each child’s birthday. It has now become a common practice in this profession and the children have come to expect it. So I hit the dollar store again and buy blank note cards so I can give each student a birthday card. I also have a prize bucket full of trinkets where they may choose anything from it as a present. I also use the prize bucket to reward students for positive behaviour, for work well done, and for special achievements. Spending the money doesn’t bother me when I see that these things can really make a child’s day.

Teachers are also expected to take training courses and update their skills. We pay for these courses and the books ourselves. I buy games and toys to have in my class for those times when we have an indoor recess and need to entertain the children. I even buy snacks and juice for celebrations throughout the year.

I don’t think people realize how much teachers care about their profession and their classes. I put my own money into my class because I choose to and because I think it makes a difference. But I know that certain companies are taking advantage of us and making tonnes of money off of generous teachers who just want to make a difference in the classroom. That’s why I think I am in the wrong profession sometimes, just something for you to think about.

2 responses to “Wrong Profession”

  1. As someone who works with teachers, I am very aware of the extra mile that the good ones go — in time as well as finances — in order to help their students learn.

    Isn’t it ironic, since they already serve in one of the lowest paid professions?

    I sometimes think the whole concept of public school, while a noble aim, is fatally flawed. It’s compulsory for all, and government-run, hence little-valued.

    If the free market actually operated in the field of education, teachers would be paid far more, even on the level of doctors and lawyers, by anxious parents who didn’t want to doom their children to a life of ignorance, who carefully searched the available markets for the best-qualified teachers to help their progeny compete.

    Of course, there would be a few other parents who simply didn’t care and let their little Johnnies and Suzies run wild in the streets.

    And there would also be a host of caring but financially-strapped parents who would be at a huge disadvantage, desiring good education but unable to pay for the services of such teachers.

  2. I think everyone deserves to be educated. I fully agree that public education has its flaws but I don’t really see anyway around it. It would be nice to see a change and have parents and students start to truly value it but I don’t see how this can be done. We need to teach more than just the students in our classes. We also need to teach parents and society as a whole.

    People don’t seem to know what they have until it is gone. I would hate to see public education fall by the wayside. I think you are right that if it did we would have well-meaning parents who would not be able to afford an education for their children. That would be a shame.