22 Things They Don’t Warn You About Before You Become A Teacher


21 Things They Don’t Warn You About Before You Become A Teacher

If you major in education, you’ll end up taking a lot of classes that will attempt to tell you everything you need to become a teacher. Experienced teachers know those classes are cute and all, but they don’t come close to preparing you for what it’s really like. So here’s a list of 20 things teachers wish they knew before they joined the profession.

1. How often you be sick your first 2 years of teaching…

Kids are living germ factories and they will come barging into your classroom bringing every sort of sickness with them. They also aren’t great at keeping their germs to themselves (how many of us have been sneezed on?) The good news is after this two year period is over your immune system will be strong enough to fight off the bubonic plague.

2. How little you get to see your home in the daylight…

It’s the kind of thing you take for granted before you become a teacher. Once the school year starts, however, you’ll be up before the rooster crows and most days you’ll be settling on your couch after the sun settles in the west.

3. The smells…

Is that a bean burrito fart or did a sewage pipe burst? These are questions that teachers actually have to ask out loud way more often than you might think. After a while, you’ll start to wonder if you’re going crazy because students will NEVER own up to creating or causing a foul stench.

4. That summer break isn’t exactly for the whole summer…

When you look at a school calendar it looks so promising. You see those two months of freedom in the middle of the year and you think, wow this teaching thing isn’t bad at all. Until you actually get to your first summer vacation and realize you stick around for a couple of days after the students leave, you come back a couple of weeks before the students show up, and you still have work to do in between all that. 

5. The brutal honesty your students will bombard you with…

Students will be very honest with you, whether you want them to be or not. They will tell you exactly what they think about your outfit, your haircut, and your potential partner choices.

6. The amount of sticky substances students get on themselves (and you)…

It could be glue, it could be boogers or it could be… um… a USO (Unidentified Sticky Object). Sure we all know kids can be a little messy when it comes to art projects, but what’s really scary is when you find residue on days when all they were supposed to have was a pencil and paper.

7. That the apple rarely falls far from the tree…

Eventually, you’ll have to schedule a parent-teacher conference, and when the parents show up suddenly everything will make sense. Whether it’s heredity or their environment, children really are a product of their parents… for better or worse.

8. The insane number of unrelated questions you have to answer…

Maybe you’re in the middle of a Math lesson, or knee-deep into breaking down a novel… that’s when you’ll see a hand excitedly go up. You’ll think how wonderful it is that your class is so engaged. That’s when they ask you what your 2nd favorite color is, or whether or not you think they should get a tattoo.

9. The stains you’ll find on your clothes…

Where do they come from? What are they? How did they get there? These are questions that rarely have a satisfactory answer.

10. The bizarre excuses kids actually try to use…

Remember the good old days when kids would say their dog ate their homework? Today at least kids are a little more creative. You’ll hear everything from ‘Someone stole my backpack.’ (while they’re still wearing their backpack) to ‘The wind blew it out of my hands.’ (on a day with no wind whatsoever)

Related: 20 Best Homework Excuses From the New Generation

11. Your students’ sense of humor…

Kids really do say the darndest things, and not all of those things will be appropriate. Sometimes they’re funny on purpose, and other times it’s completely coincidental. Sooner or later though, you’re going to want to laugh when you know you really shouldn’t.

12. That the Target Dollar Spot will soon become your best friend…

It’s a one-stop shopping destination for teachers everywhere. Cheap teacher supplies? Check! Inexpensive treats for your students? Absolutely. Discounts on wine? Hell yes! 

Related: The 10 Stages of a Teacher Going to Target

13. You need to have a bladder of steel…

You will learn to ration your water and coffee in a strategic fashion and make best friends with the teacher across the hall in preparation for a real bathroom emergency. You’ll understand quickly that Kegels are your best friend.

14. The amount of school time you spend as a teacher not actually teaching…

If you thought being a teacher meant you taught all day, we have a rude awakening for you. Between the fire drills, assemblies, announcements, phone calls, and other assorted interruptions… there’s a lot less teaching time than you might think.

15. The roles you’ll be expected to play other than “teacher”…

Just because your contract says you’re a “teacher”, that doesn’t mean it’s your only job.

Throughout your career, you’ll act as parent, therapist, nurse, cheerleader, life coach and about a million other roles. You won’t get paid extra of course, it’s all part of the joy of teaching.

Related: You Are So Much More Than Just a Teacher: The Many Hats Educators Wear

16. That school supplies aren’t always provided by the school…

You would think that if it’s a “supply” you need to do your job at “school” then the “school” should be “supplying” them. Sadly that’s not the case. Many a teacher has run out of pencils, copy paper, crayons and other assorted goodies that we end up having to purchase ourselves.

17. The copier machine will give you serious anxiety…

What’s that, you only have 3 minutes before your next class starts and you really gotta pee? PAPER JAM! Oh, you just waited in line for 20 minutes after school to make copies for tomorrow morning? OUT OF TONER! The bell just rang and you only have 10 more copies to go? ERROR!

18. That full moon behavior changes are a very real thing…

You may think it’s just a rumor, but believe me, it’s not. Experienced teachers will be able to predict a full moon without even looking at a calendar. Is it the extra moonlight disrupting their sleep? Are children really part werewolf? We just don’t know.

Related: Teaching During A Full Moon: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

19. That work doesn’t end just because the school day does…

Most jobs end when you leave work for the day, but not for teachers. We grade papers late into the night and spend weekends on lesson plans. And no, we don’t get paid extra for that either. 

20. That taking a day off of work actually causes more work…

Everyone gets sick or needs a day off from time to time. At a normal job, taking a day off means your boss brings someone in to fill in for you and the world keeps spinning. For teachers, it means writing pages of detailed lesson plans, including notes for every possible scenario that could possibly happen in your absence, and printing off pages of activities for your students to work on in case they finish early. No wonder most of us just come to work sick… it’s easier.

Related: If Teachers Were Completely Honest in Their Sub Plans

21. You’ll get blamed for… just about everything…

Students fail a test? You didn’t prepare them enough. Someone is acting up in class? You’re not challenging them enough. Students aren’t doing their work? Your work isn’t exciting enough. Yep, if something goes wrong you can rest assured someone will blame you for it. 

22. Despite the first 19 things, you’ll still love your job…

Now, this sounds crazy but it’s actually true. We, teachers, complain about a lot of things, but at the end of the day, nothing can quite prepare you for how much you’re going to love all of this.

Also Read: 10 Realities of Teaching They Don’t Tell You About in College

21 Things They Don’t Warn You About Before You Become A Teacher

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