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Teaching About Teachers: 8 Facts and Fictions

Few people today understand how hard teachers actually work to educate our children. In fact, teaching is a profession that is often misunderstood by society at large. Most people have quite a few misconceptions about a professional educator’s responsibilities and job, usually fueled by people with some money or politics at stake. As such, they don’t fully appreciate the heavy load that teachers carry in educating the youth of today and preparing them for the future. Here are 8 common myths associated with teaching that illustrate some of the misunderstandings people have about the teaching profession.

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
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MYTH: People become teachers because they can’t do anything else.

This one is kinda mean: do people become bankers because they 'can't do anything else'? The thought that “anyone can teach” couldn’t be further from the truth. Good teachers must be highly educated in their field and be trained in such areas as classroom management, curriculum instruction, educational assessment, communication skills and more in order to do their job. They also need to have a passion for teaching and desire to work with children to effectively meet their academic needs.

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MYTH: Teachers enjoy a soft work schedule, 8 am to 3 pm, and get to take summers off!

Between planning their curriculum, preparing exams, grading papers and meeting with parents, most teachers put in a full day’s work that requires arriving early to school and leaving late. Many teachers have to work on weekends just to keep up with the demands of their job. Far from being ‘free’ time, summers are generally used for attending workshops to improve their teaching skills, or attending classes (on their own dime) to keep up with their teacher certificate requirements.

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MYTH: Teachers are responsible for students learning.

Some parents think they have no responsibility in the learning process: just hand over the kids for 6-8 hours a day and walk away. Most teachers make every effort to facilitate learning for their students. However, they cannot be held solely responsible for a child’s academic progress. Parents also share in this responsibility by providing a home environment that’s conducive to learning and motivating their children to study. By working together, parents and teachers can help students achieve their academic goals.

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MYTH: Teachers are paid well enough for their profession.

Most teachers feel they are underpaid for their profession. In 2012-13, teachers’ salaries in the U.S. averaged around $36,000 annually; pay rates for 2013 Bachelor’s degree graduates were expected to reach approximately $45,000 per year. On average, experienced teachers make about $9,000 less annually than entry-level positions in other careers. Many take part-time employment during the evening, weekends and summer just to make ends meet.

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MYTH: Good teachers are born, not made.
A 2014 study linking personality traits with teacher effectiveness showed no evidence that personality traits enhanced teaching performance. The most effective teachers are those who are organized and well versed in their subject matter and can make learning an engaging experience for their students. This makes good teaching habits and training more important to a teacher’s performance than his or her personality.
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MYTH: Teachers are opposed to standardize testing.

Most teachers recognize the importance of standardize testing in teaching and evaluating their students’ progress. At the same time, they don’t want these tests to stifle their creativity and inspiration by having to dedicate a lot of time teaching material covered on these exams. Many teachers feel standardize testing should not be the principle factor in gauging their students’ academic achievement.

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MYTH: The quality of teaching can be judged by students’ testing performance.

Although testing has its place, it cannot be the sole factor in judging the learning process. Memorizing facts and figures merely to pass an exam is not an indicator of learning. Good teachers will help children believe in themselves and provide opportunities for them to learn, make progress and master new abilities and skills. Teaching is all about helping children face academic and real life challenges with patience, perseverance and determination to succeed.

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MYTH: Today’s teachers aren't as dedicated as teachers in the past.

Many of today’s teachers, young and old, are fully committed to their profession. They put in long hours and have to deal with a generation that’s more challenging to teach. Despite cutbacks in their salary that make it more difficult for them to meet their financial needs, today's teachers continue to give their all in helping youth reach their academic potential.