My admiration for teachers spans with width and the breath. They are in a classroom all day. They have to deal with individuals who determine their lives and yet rarely step into that classroom. They have to teach those who do not want to be taught. They do not always get to teach what they love. They have to deal with the whole world of the student at times, and not just whether or not they’ve done their homework.
It’s a huge endeavour a life long commitment. It angers me when people say that teachers have it easy. That they get the summers off and they get paid too much. These are the people who have never tried to corral 30 students, all at different levels and backgrounds, and efforts and cares.
I love the act of teaching. I love to share and to see the look in someone’s eye when they get it. When they move from not knowing to knowing. It’s a thrill. Teaching is a big part of our mission statement. It’s important for us to give back. When we go to conferences, I always apply to teach workshops (except for those conferences that want me to join their organization AND pay the conference fee. Why am I paying to provide you a service? Hmm?) I want to be able to share the act of playwriting, or character development, or understanding Shakespeare.
But I’ll never be a teacher. A full time teacher. It’s that little issue of teaching those who do not want to be taught. At conferences, for the most part, students choose my workshops and ergo, want to be there. There’s a light and a willingness. That’s the switch I can’t flick. And I can do the job for one day. One session. But day after day after day? That’s amazing.
On my travels I meet a lot of drama teachers. A lot of them are having a hard time. (I’m certain teachers of other subjects are in similar plights, but they don’t come to theatre conferences:) ) The subject matter is scorned, the budgets are shrinking, attitudes are narrowing, times are changing. They look tired. They worry.
But they carry on. They find a way. That’s what is wonderful about the true teacher. They love what they do and they know how important their role is. There are so many out there who are supposed to help students and could care less. Money is more important. Test scores are more important. The teacher must keep going. Because who else will?
And if you think teachers have it easy, go try it sometime. Go volunteer in a classroom. See what happens.