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Teaching shouldn’t be a backup career plan

Allison Galbreath

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Illustration by Darian Maroney

Let’s face it. Some people really should not be teachers.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common to have teachers that really don’t want to be in class — teachers that would rather be doing anything but teaching.

This inevitably and unavoidably affects the class and students. A teacher can make or break a class.

I’m not the only one to have had a class that I thought I’d hate because of the subject matter, but ended up loving because the teacher made it fun, engaging and easier to understand.

Sadly, the reverse is also common.

I’ve been completely interested and intrigued by the subject but ended up hating the class because the teacher was either disrespectful to the students, not helpful or uninteresting.

With such an important affect on the students and their experience, one would think that students would be treated with more respect.

But honestly, that respect is absent.

For instance, I’ve had multiple teachers who would inform students of how much they didn’t want to be there. And guess what? As a result, I really didn’t want to be there either.

I’ve had disrespectful teachers that treated students like they were stupid.

I’ve had teachers that have stolen personal property and threatened to not give it back until I spoke in class. And being someone with social anxiety, I can say that it made me not want to go to class.

It also made it difficult for me to focus for the rest of the year when I was in class because I was so worried about being called out and embarrassed again.

This doesn’t just stop with college professors.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear someone say, “If this job or this goal doesn’t work out I’ll just be a teacher” or even “I don’t know what to do with my major. I guess I’ll just be a teacher.”

Having the right teacher is just as important for elementary, middle school and high school students, if not more.

Just think about how important a teacher is to children. Their first experiences can shape how they view school and learning for the rest of their time in academics.

Teaching should not just be the backup plan for the other aspirations that didn’t work out.

Not only is it hard work to be a teacher, no matter what subject or age, but teachers are in charge of shaping their students’ minds and preparing them for their years to come.

They are crucial to the shaping of the next generation.

Teachers affect more than just that one class or grade they taught. Like dominoes, each previous experience informs and shapes the next experience, and a student’s attitude toward it.

Thinking of teaching as a backup plan is not only unfair to the students and their experience but insulting to all the other people that actually want to teach out of a sheer love and passion for it.

Allison Galbreath can be reached at [email protected] or @agalbreath19 on Twitter.

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Teaching shouldn’t be a backup career plan