*All these things have actually been said to me. More than once.
1. Wow – it must be great to get all this time off. You have holidays all the time!
Yeah. I do. It’s one of the few perks. It helps me to stay off the scheduled drugs and away from the breakdowns many of my colleagues are subjected to.
2. You only teach [insert subject]? Oh… Okay. Ummm… cool?
In a high school – that’s a good thing. I taught three subjects as a first year teacher, now I get to teach what I graduated in.
3. Teaching must be a great way to fulfil your maternal instinct. That’s why women are so much better at it than men.
Yes. Because of course my passion for pedagogic theory and sustainable grass roots development among young adults has to do with my reproductive organs. Absolutely. As a woman I do not have a brain and therefore my job must be related to childbearing. Damn these shoes are killing me… Do you mind if I stand in this kitchen barefoot?
4. Your students must think you’re really hot. I bet the boys can’t get enough of you!
How exactly would you like me to respond here? “Thank you”? “Gross – I never thought of that”? “I’m glad you’ve pointed that out – no one else has”? My kids keep what they think of me to their selves and hold me accountable for how I teach.
5. Those who can’t do, teach. Ha ha ha – just joking!
Some. And you graduated from high school with the help of…?
6. When I was at school, my teachers… and so I think…
Yes, you went to school for at least twelve years. So did I. That didn’t make me an education expert, it made me a matriculant. My six (and counting) years at several tertiary institutions make me an education professional. When learners go to school they understand how a school works and what their teachers do, but from a child’s perspective, from the view of a client. It’s kind of like thinking you’re an engineering expert because you run past the Brooklyn Bridge every day.
7. I know you don’t get paid well, but it is a part time job.
Uh huh. Part time during the early mornings when I get up to prepare. Part time during the day when I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus by 9a.m. Part time during the afternoon when I coach extra-murals without pay. Part time during the evenings when I contact parents, attend functions and prepare again. Part time during weekends when I work. Part time during holidays when I work. Capisce?