Education Column: Expectations vs. Reality

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a teacher? What goes on in the classroom? Well here is the reality of a teacher versus what you’d expect.

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Expectation: You have to be a jolly, super enthusiastic, and out of this world person...

Reality: Be yourself! Although at times you will have to be animated, just let your personality shine. I was so afraid that in my kindergarten experience I would have to be all those things, but in reality I get to be my sassy crazy self - and that’s what makes it all the better.

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Expectation: All the lessons will go smoothly...

Reality: They won’t! Being a teacher means being flexible - you might plan the best lesson ever but you never know what might happen. A kid could peed themselves, another could get a bloody nose, and another might be arguing away with a student over crayons - the list is endless! Just go with the flow and make sure to stay on top of it all. Don’t try to force a lesson to work especially if your students are not with you.

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Expectation: All your work will get done before the next day...

Reality: Nope, nope, nope! If only we could leave our work at work and not have to do anything at home, but that is just not true. Whether it is grading, making lessons, prepping, emailing, making worksheets, submitting plans, etc. the work is endless and never ends at 3:30 pm. However, there will be times where the work will pile on and you’ll have to squeeze in time to finish it up.

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Expectation: You will have a lot of downtime...

Reality: You will probably only have 1 prep period, but if you’re lucky you might have 2 prep times! No matter how many preps you have, it will never be enough. You’ll be running around making copies, grading, planning, or in meetings, getting back to parents, stuffing folders for your students, etc. there is no time to just sit, breathe, and check your Instagram feed until you get home.  

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Expectation: Kids love you!

Reality: This is true. They will love you, but only if you show that you care about them and if you build a relationship with them. Otherwise, forget it!


But in the end, it is still worth it.


Even though you may leave with a headache some days, or leave upset because a lesson did not go how you expected on others, in reality every minute of everyday is so different and you will always be looking forward to coming in the next day even if the kids will drive you nuts, or you have an observation, or you don’t even know what you’ll be teaching - because all of that is true. All that aside, don’t set extreme expectations for yourself; however, you may be surprised for what you and your students will be able to do. Just take it one day at a time and soon it will all become natural to you.