Education Humor

10 Commandments of Teaching

I’ve got teaching on the brain lately.  Mostly because that’s what I do and think about all day, but also because it’s the time of the year when the profession starts to encompass every facet of our lives as we endure the stress of standardized tests and anxiously await the next holiday break.  It’s usually right about now that I need to put things in perspective with a little humor, and that’s exactly what I’ve done below.

For those of you pursuing a career in education (and those of you already buried neck deep in lesson plans and evaluation paperwork), I present you with the 10 Commandments of Teaching.

10 commandments of teaching 2

Thou shalt put everyone else’s needs above thine own.  Especially when thou is sick, depressed, anxious, homicidal, or otherwise out of sorts.  In this way, teaching is like parenting.  Except there are 30 of them at once (and sometimes hundreds in a single day), each with different needs, strengths, weaknesses, considerations, triggers, and aversions.  Ever try your hand at acting?  No time like the present.

Thou shalt address parent concerns ranging from accusations that thou aren’t stimulating Billy’s creative potential to protestations that Janey would never.  Teaching comes with it the pleasure of interacting with parents varying from overly involved to absent entirely.  Some think you should cater everything you do to their special snowflakes from first bell to dismissal.  Others take a minute to remember that they even have a child when you call home with concerns.  You will be yelled at, sworn at, lied to, accused of incompetency, accused of unethical behavior, targeted for disciplinary action, crucified on social media, and embarrassed in front of colleagues.  In between, you will receive the support of some pretty kick ass parents whom you swear you’d mouth kiss if you weren’t certain you’d get arrested.  Good luck with that, Sunshine.

Thou shalt complete hours of pointless paperwork when thou could be performing the — crazy thought — actual duties of thy job.  From completion of B.S. teacher evaluation forms to development of ways the entire staff can sing Kumbaya to each other at faculty meetings, you will be inundated with mandates to suspend actual teaching and learning in favor drafting documents no one will ever look at anyway.

Thou shalt ignore the demands of thy biological functions.  Hungry?  That’s a shame.  Have to pee?  Too bad.  You have to put the call of nature on hold until the measly 5 minutes between classes or the pathetic midday “break” they like to call lunch.  Urinary tract infections aren’t really that bad, are they?

Thou shalt accept blame for the decay of society.  Everything’s the teachers’ fault.  Those greedy, selfish union thugs.  Anyone who’s ever sat in a classroom knows how to do your job better, anyway.  Just ask ’em.

Thou shalt lesson plan and grade into the wee hours of the morning and field questions about why yesterday’s essay test isn’t in the grade book yet.  Parents and students alike will either fail to acknowledge that you have your own personal affairs to attend to after school or severely underestimate the time it takes to provide quality feedback on assignments.  Heck, they might even think you possess superpowers that allow you to send your spirit out to grade while you stand before the class and teach.  Whatever the reason for their unreasonable expectation that you have everything assessed 5 minutes after it’s been turned in, the expectation and the blowback for not meeting it remains.

Thou shalt memorize every possible letter and number combination and which educational law, intervention, health impairment, or learning disability to which it applies.  IEP, 504, RTI, ADA, IDEA, LD, EI, ADHD, ADD, OHI, ASD, TBI, ESL, ELL, SLP, LRE, SID, FAPE, AP, IB, GATE, SPED, PT, OT, OCD, ODD, oh my God.  To name a few.

Thou shalt sponsor the freshman class and coach the coed volleyball team and chair the school improvement team in thy spare time for little to no compensation.  Thou shalt also field parent, student, and coworker complaints and rectify scheduling disasters related to said activities with a smile on thy face (and a burning desire to maim and/or murder in thy heart).

Thou shalt attend meeting after meeting until thine eardrums begin to rupture and thine eyes begin to bleed.  IEP meetings, 504 meetings, parent conference meetings, faculty meetings, and meetings about the meeting where you talk about the meeting you’re going to have next month.

Thou shalt inspire and mold the minds of tomorrow’s presidents and cancer curers.  Or thou shalt try thy damndest to do so.