My friend is applying for a new job. The application requires that she interview someone who has taught 10-20 years. She asked me...
How is teaching after 20 years different from the early years of teaching?
Wow - It has changed alot. With that said, I believe you must always be open to learning, no matter how long you have been teaching. For example, when I began teaching, we used overhead projectors to display information. Then technology opened up a whole new way to present lessons and connect with students. A teacher can now record the lesson before hand and play it while they take attendance and get supplies ready. To add to that, sites like Pinterest, Khan Academy, and Teachers Pay Teachers, opened a new door to planning and developing curriculum. (How did I do it before Pinterest???)
Today, there is definitely more responsibilities and requirements on everyone within the school system. Without a doubt there is more paperwork and computer data input. Lessons, homework assignments, and grades have to be kept up to date in student-parent portals. Behavior problems, learning problems, etc., must be documented daily and in detail.
What is the joy for the teacher now?
The joy comes from seeing students work hard and succeed. The joy comes from watching students learn to work together in a group. It comes from watching students step out of their comfort zone and try something new. It comes from the students that beg to come to your class during lunch and after school to work on projects. Basically, the joy comes from seeing the students grow.
What problems are you still dealing with?
My main struggle has always been trying to find enough hours in the day to accomplish what I want to accomplish. Time management…does it ever get easier?
Are students, parents, school administrators easier to deal with now?
There have always been and will always be difficult parents. The same goes for school administrators. You will have some that are great to work with, and others that are not so great. One advantage now, it is easy for parents to keep in touch because everything is on the web. With a couple of clicks, parents can see their students’ grades, class assignments, homework assignments, and attendance. They can even schedule an appointment with the teacher online. For crying out loud, you can even have an online conference.
Are student issues the same?
In some ways student issues are the same but in other ways they are not. You always have the kids that want all the attention, the kids that are sneaky, the kids that instigate problems, and the kids that gossip. In addition to peer pressure, the Internet has brought about new challenges. Social media problems with comparing and cyber bullying, pornography at their fingertips, and online predators to name a few. With that said, it seems that more students today tend to think that they are given a grade—not that they have to earn a grade. They are more likely to openly voice their opinions and express their dislike for assignments. But that just opens the door for a good discussion or a lesson in "sometimes you have to do things you don't really want to do."