We asked the teachers of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the biggest misconceptions people have about their jobs. Here are the eye-opening results.
1. Teachers' jobs are riding on standardized test scores.
"The state government decides on how many standardized tests we give and how often. This means that instead of being able to teach the very information some board has decided is required, that time is spent testing. Lower test scores mean less money and can put our jobs in jeopardy."
2. The income from teaching is often not enough for them to get by.
"It's not an easy job. Many teachers work in the summer to supplement income, and I had to go to just as much school as an MBA or any other professional."
3. Many teachers even have a second job all year round.
"I work a second job to supplement my income. I couldn’t get a job without a masters, so I’m drowning in student loan debt. I spend all day educating other people’s kids, and at the end of the month, I can barely feed my own child. I’m currently in search of a third job, which means giving up weekends with my baby."
4. And they barely get any extra money when they take on more roles like coaching a team or leading a club.
"The additional roles that teachers play — like a coach or a department chair — sometimes come with a monetary benefit but often the amount is insignificant in comparison to the amount of extra hours and responsibilities these roles require."
5. FYI: Teachers don't stop working when the school day ends.
"We do not leave at 3 o’clock every day and on days that we might, it’s because we have something personal to attend to."
6. In fact, teachers still use their free time in the summer to get things ready for the next school year.
"Even though we get the summers off, most of us spend it planning lessons for the next year. We’re also thinking about how we’re going to decorate our classrooms and are excited and worried about the new students we’re going to meet when the new school year starts. We never stop planning."
7. Teachers don't even get paid for having the summers off.
"I only get paid for the days school is in session. Meaning I don’t get paid for having summers off. My paycheck is just stretched out so I can still receive pay during summer months."
8. Despite their low income, teachers still spend their own money to provide supplies and snacks for students who need them.
"Even though I talk about how we don’t get paid enough, you better know damn sure that I am the first in line to help support my students whether it be getting snacks for those who need it or buying all the supplies that anyone could ever need. At the end of the year, I’ve spent a decent amount of the money I’ve earned on my students and my classroom."
9. Teachers have a lot of anxiety because they care for their students.
"I’m just about to finish my first year of teaching, and honestly, I worry 24/7 that the students are not getting the support they need from me. I worry about if they have food when they get home and that they may not be focused on their education."
10. And parents can cause them even more anxiety than the students.
"They are the hardest part of the job. Instead, the teacher and parent should be a team. Parents' behavior can border on harassment, but as professionals, there is nothing we can do other than be positive and polite."
11. Plus teachers experience quite a bit of verbal abuse.
"Some days it’s easy to shrug off, but others it’s really difficult to hear 'you’re fat,' 'you’re ugly,' and, the one that hits right in the gut, 'That’s why nobody loves you.'"
12. Sometimes they don't even get to go to the bathroom during the day.
"We really can end up going the whole day without visiting the bathroom. Recess is not always an option. We’re often making copies, prepping for the next lesson, cleaning up from the previous lesson, talking to a parent, answering emails, meeting with a student, meeting with another teacher, or even an administrator."
13. Also, taking a day off is actually an inconvenience for them.
"It takes more work to plan for a day off than it does for a regular school day."
14. Teaching art is just as important as teaching other subjects.
"We don’t just 'color' all day. We do more than teach kids art skills. We teach perseverance, creativity, cooperation and other forms of lifelong skills to be successful."
15. In general, teachers have to do *a lot* of emotional labor that they were never prepared for.
"This is my eighth year teaching, and I have had to file at least four CPS reports a year. I have had more students hurting themselves this year than ever before in my career. That's not something teacher programs prepare you for."
16. Teachers actually like it when students open up to them.
"As a high school teacher, students open up to me about some heavy stuff. It’s a really cool feeling to know that they feel safe and that they trust me so much."
17. Teachers are affected by their students' pain and struggles too.
"Our hearts hurt so much for our kids when they go through terrible situations like a death of a sibling, deportation of a parent, or being homeless. You can't do this job without learning something new every day that makes you have more compassion for your students."
18. A lot of teachers actually see their students as their own kids, tbh.
"There's a reason why we call our students our 'kids.' We watch them grow, we have inside jokes, we help them through their grief, crushes, heartbreaks, friend drama, family crises, and the list goes on."
19. So, it hurts teachers when their students don't stay in touch.
"My first year teaching, I lost one of my students to gun violence while she was home and it broke my heart. We pray that our students come back to us every day. Even if you are moving, let us know where you are going. To me, they are just as much my kid as yours. It’s heartbreaking when a student doesn’t return and we don’t know why."
Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.