Just as other professions have their shares of myths and stereotypes, teaching too has a whole host of myths attached to it, very likely perpetuated by those who have little to no knowledge of teaching. Here are some common myths about teaching that circulate around the internet, that we at The Teachers Digest have busted.
1. Those who can’t do anything teach – This is one of the most aggravating myths to hear as a teacher. As if every teacher who ever taught was a person with jilted dreams of being some other professional. Why is it so hard to believe that some people do genuinely want to teach? Or that the teaching field is mostly filled with people who aspired to be teachers from when they were young. Not only is this a gross generalization, why don’t people in other fields get asked the same thing?
2. Teachers get their summer off – School students have summers off. School teachers don’t. When do you think they plan for the school year ahead, have school meetings, create plans etc? Certainly not during the school year. All this happens during the summer holidays. Sure they do have holidays but not to the extent to which people seem to imagine they do.
3. Students get bad grades because of inefficient teaching – This may sometimes be the case but every student’s bad grades cannot be pinned on a teacher. Students receive bad grades because a) they didn’t study b) they studied but did not perform well or c) they genuinely are poor students. Most teachers mark student on the basis of what has been written in the answer sheets. Yes, some teachers do mark students on the basis of personal judgments but to say that all teachers do is wrong. A teacher is not the only one who has to put in effort. Students need to put in effort too.
4. A teacher’s day ends at 4 pm – Not really. You might see a teacher leave school with you or see them leave school the same time as your children but as soon as they go home, they begin working again because if not them, who is going to make lesson plans, correct homework, assignments and tests?
5. Anyone can teach – No. Not at all. To say that everyone could teach would be like comparing apples to oranges. The ability to teach does not depend on how intelligent you are or how well you get along with children. Rather, the ability to teach depends on a person having an intuitive sense which can allow them to pinpoint which child is struggling among many, which child is going to make a success of it someday despite not being the brightest, etc.
6. Teachers oppose change – You cannot be a teacher and oppose change. The more experienced of teachers will tell you that the only constant in life is change. There is a dramatic difference in way teachers teach today and the way they did 20 years ago. Teachers may not enjoy change, but they do know it is inevitable and nothing can be gained from opposing it. Instead what teachers do is that they do their best to adapt to change so that they may teach better.
7. Teachers complain about their pay frequently – No teacher becomes a teacher imagining that they are going to rake in money for doing what they do. Teachers are well aware of what they get paid and they continue to teach because they want, not because their salary acts as an incentive. They have made their peace with. The only people who seem to vocally talk about a teacher’s low pay are people who do not teach.
8. Teacher’s experience matters little for a student achievement – Just as a person with more experience is able to do a job better, a teacher with more experience can help students achieve more. Experienced teachers tend to have sure-fire methods to teach students while new teachers are still finding their footing. How fast a new teacher adapts to teaching will also affect how well her students perform through the year. Experience does matter, as any principal worth their salt will tell you.
Which teaching myths have you encountered most commonly? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!