Top 10 Reasons To Leave Teaching: Number 10: Misconceptions

There are a lot of odd beliefs about the life of a teacher, and it’s not immediately obvious where the stereotypes come from.

For a start, it seems that very young students have the odd idea that teacher’s live in the school. Do they think other professionals live in their place of work? I doubt it very much! As they get older, it seems that this misconception never leaves them, or at least not in part. The idea of a teacher having a spouse, offspring, a hobby or a life at all outside of work is completely alien to most students.

This can lead to increased demands being made of teachers, as student requests and expectations may therefore be unreasonable, and feedback home to parents becomes very skewed.

Also, people are under the impression that teachers laze around all summer on full pay doing not very much. We all know that this is very far from the truth! Quite often, teacher’s work upwards of 60 hours a week during term time, and during the holidays this merely drops to the average working week of 37, with about 2 weeks off completely in summer. This is as much, and even more, than a lot of other, and more highly paid professions.

The result is that teachers are perceived as complainers, rather than professionals with a genuine workload problem. Teaching is seen as a job with a lot of perks, which means Newly Qualified Teachers become quickly disillusioned as the reality sets in. Just take a look at this link for a working hours calculation:

I think there are also misconceptions from senior managers, in that usually, the type of people that end up in senior management are driven, obsessive and have less in terms of outside commitments. It is very true that they presume teachers are the same, and run the establishment accordingly.

It is never a good thing to have work be the only and/or most important thing in your life, yet this is encouraged, and the end product is a very unhealthy working atmosphere.

Being misunderstood is not only inconvenient or upsetting, it can cause extra problems, as illustrated above, and that could be solved if that misconception were put right.

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