8 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To Teachers

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It’s break time for teachers. They’ve got some days off for the holidays, and with that sometimes comes the whole conversation about teachers, what they make, how much time they get off, etc. Those who teach our kids in the U.S. school system are under attack in many states — and based on the election results, that is going to go national very soon.

In fact, because of the attacks on teachers and their unions, more are leaving the profession every day.



So … here are 8 things you should never say to a teacher:

1. “We’ve all been to elementary school, so aren’t we all experts on this stuff?”

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Being a kid in elementary school is so far from actually trying to ride herd on those very same kids … it’s not even close. It would be very much like saying, “Since you’ve been a kid, you know how to parent.” Umm — nah, bro.

2. “Those who can’t do, teach.”

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To quote from author Frank McCourt:

In the high school classroom you are a drill sergeant, a rabbi, a shoulder to cry on, a disciplinarian, a singer, a low-level scholar, a clerk, a referee, a clown, a counselor, a dress-code enforcer, a conductor, an apologist, a philosopher, a collaborator, a tap dancer, a politician, a therapist, a fool, a traffic cop, a priest, a mother-father-brother-sister-uncle-aunt, a bookkeeper, a critic, a psychologist, the last straw.”



Those who teach do it from a place of passion for what they do. And they do it very well. Oh, and also check the video at the bottom of this post about “What Teachers Make.”

3. “I wish MY day ended at 3pm.”

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30% of teachers worked at home on an average day, and 51% of them worked on an average Sunday. Ahem. And, much like management jobs or small business owners, etc., teachers are often taking work home with them, both literally and mentally.

4. “You have Summer off. How hard can it be?”

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It’s largely a myth. Deal with it.

5. “I could be a teacher!”

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Really? Truly? Do you know what you’re getting into? If so, more power to you. But be very prepared.

6. “If you really cared about the kids, you wouldn’t worry about salary.”

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Well, there’s that whole thing of making a living and supporting their family, etc. With the unrelenting attack on unions and the rights of workers to influence their work environment, this argument is totally absurd. And it means teachers move on to other jobs, other work, brighter pastures.

7. “If you managed your time better, you wouldn’t need to work weekends and evenings!”

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I can’t even deal with this. Just stop it.

8. “I pay taxes, so you work for me, right?”

Imagine saying the same thing to firefighters, EMS responders, or maybe cops. And think about how that would work out for you. Yeah, maybe change to a different mindset on this one?

And in case you’re still not convinced, here’s the classic performance piece by an actual teacher, Taylor Mali, entitled “What Teachers Make.”