Education, Parenting

How Lazy Is Your Child’s Teacher?

Usually my posts are not about anything that most people would consider controversial.  I try not to sound “preachy” because I’ve been in the trenches, and I know that the majority of the educators are doing the best we can – but we all make mistakes, and we can certainly disagree on what is “best.”

I’m about to bring some hate down on me, and I know this because of a recent Twitter interaction, which definitely resulted in mixed responses.  But I want to clear the air of some misconceptions that I’ve been hearing lately, and this is the only way that I can think to do it.

I was listening to a podcast called, “Reasonable Doubt,” while walking my dog on Monday.  The show is hosted by Adam Carolla and Mark Geragos, and they discuss different current legal issues.  I find their comments intriguing, and they often open up my perspective on topics.  There are times that I don’t agree with what they have to say, but I enjoy hearing a variety of views, and they sometimes change my mind.

During the 3/28/2020 episode, the two hosts made a few comments about how teachers would be more willing for schools to open back up if they weren’t getting paid right now.  They suggested that teachers are not currently working, and that they are enjoying this paid vacation.  This was completely contrary to what I have been hearing from the teachers I know, so I decided to disagree with them in a Tweet:

Surprisingly, @adamcarolla responded with, “got it,” which is a nice way for him to say that I was heard, without necessarily agreeing with me.  Not a problem.

As one person replied, and rightly so, “You know most teachers?!  That’s a lot of people!”

I responded, “You are correct.  I should have said that as an educator of 29 years I know a lot of teachers, and many of them have shared with me the stress of switching their courses to remote learning, and that they miss face2face with their students.”

A few people have supported my response, with specific examples.  A few people have said they know teachers who are useless or are just playing video games.  One person – so far – has used an obscenity.

I’m a big Devil’s Advocate kind of person, so I often look at my own arguments and think, “What if I’m wrong?”  So, here’s the thing:  I understand that I’m in a bubble of educators who will, of course, claim they are working hard.  It’s probably not going to change anyone’s mind if we barrage social media with teachers protesting that they are working long hours, many of them also having to take care of young children simultaneously.  What I would like is for you to share this, and for anyone who parents a child currently involved in remote learning (or for any child who is old enough to respond) to tell us your perception of how hard (or not) teachers are working.  Let me know in the comments below, or let @adamcarolla and @markgeragos know (politely!) the level of effort you think teachers are making right now. 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


20 thoughts on “How Lazy Is Your Child’s Teacher?”

  1. I’d say it is about 50/50. Some teachers are working harder. I know my sister in law and cousin sure are. Others not so much. My high schoolers science teacher has assigned a crossword puzzle for the week and my middle schoolers GT pre AP teacher says read and type a sentence in comment thread about the book.

  2. I am a school counselor and our school closed abruptly (as most) on Monday, March 16. On Friday of that week, our principal sent an email thanking our staff for all of their hard work in scrambling to get remote learning up and running. One of the teachers I admire the most (and have nominated for several awards) works tirelessly for his students. He’s at school at 6:30 am and leaves sometime after 4:00. I can’t imagine him doing any MORE for his students as he seems to do it all. This was part of his comment to the email, “In 23 years I’ve never worked harder than the last 5 days.” He is the most humble person I know; not one to exaggerate or overreact. I was shocked that he said this. So, yes, this is harder work than being in a classroom for sure. We are earning our salaries.

  3. Terri, Thank You for standing up for teachers. Sadly, some of our society continues to view teachers as unnecessary. I do hope this unplanned and unscheduled time with children will cause a paradigm shift in this regard. I know the teachers with whom I work are all overwhelmed and truly wish we were back at school, face-to-face with our kids doing what we have been the talent to do, TEACH. More than a handful are up late at night after their children go to bed trying to figure out what online teaching is going to look like, trying to learn to video their lessons so that they can be more successful with their students and criticizing themselves because they ‘just can’t get this right!’ Those who criticize teachers as a whole are those that don’t understand or are too self righteous to realize others are struggling in this unchartered territory.

  4. I’m a 14 year special educator, and have 3 kids of my own (ages 3, 6, and 10). I’m up every morning, checking in with my principal, modifying work for my students, checking in with all of the students on my caseload, video-conferencing daily with other staff (seriously, everyday), and taking care of my own children and trying to ensure they are learning and growing as well. This is hard – don’t let anyone say it isn’t hard. I’m fortunate that I have a background in educational technology, so many of the staff at my school are relying on me to help them through this. It will be okay, but I’m definitely working as hard as I was when we were in the classroom (as a special education teacher, I’m required to maintain timelines for paperwork (I’ve held 7 IEP meetings virtually during the last 2 weeks) as if we were still in school, and progress monitor students to make sure they aren’t regressing during this time – talk about pressure)

  5. I am the parent of a high school sophomore. Each of her 7 teachers has planned meaningful lessons and pushed them out through Google Classroom. They provide tutoring hours and class meetings through Zoom. Each one has been great at communicating with my student and myself.

  6. As a mother of a 16 year old girl- I see her teachers are working endlessly…. Zoom and videos. Tests to mark, Classroom as well. we are in Israel and we all are in the same situation! Good luck! As a teacher, I am also working but they told us not to give too many assignments at once. It is not as effective as the real classroom…..

  7. My children’s teachers are working very hard. My MS student has multiple zoom meetings per week as well as assignments in google classroom. My elementary aged child is working in something class Freckle. There are morning meetings daily. As a math teacher I have zoom sessions 3x per day, 4 days per week and provide 1:1 virtual instruction upon request (or necessity). We have to track participation daily and let our admin know who is showing up and who is not. I am monitoring and modifying instruction for over 100 children in Khan Academy.
    There are going to be people who don’t do their jobs either way. I’ve seen many teachers (over my 25 years teaching) that sit behind a desk and do nothing and others that show movies all the time. I would definitely say that myself, my colleagues and my children’s teachers are working very hard right now.

    1. I agree, Lisa, that there are some who don’t do their jobs in the classroom who will also transfer that inaction to remote teaching. But I appreciate all of the hard work you and your children’s teachers are doing!

  8. Wow, I can’t believe they actually believe this. I am a 1st grade teacher and I haven’t stopped working. I am having to recreate the wheel here. The other night I was up until midnight trying to get videos that I had recorded on screencastify to upload to my seesaw for the next day’s lesson. I was up so late because the internet was sooooooo slow that day. I barely take any breaks. I have recreated my learning plan at least 5 times, I’m scheduling one on one meetings with families, a whole class virtual party on a Saturday no less so yeah, guess I’m pretty lazy. I’m having the best time spending 24/7 in front of a computer screen.

  9. Terri, I don’t think it’s based on how MUCH we’re working. It’s a totally DIFFERENT kind of work. I do not have children at home, yet I wait for further directions from my district from week to week, so I don’t know what I should be planning until I get more direction. I think the hardest part of this is the not knowing what I’m supposed to be doing. I do what I can, hope it’s good for the kids (so far, their responses show I’m on track for now), and then I’m working more in my seat than up and around. That type of work is hard for me because of back issues. My body is taking a beating, even though I’m not moving as much! Crazy, I know. I am getting more outside exercise and more sun (when it’s out), and I think that’s helping my mental health, but I’m not moving hardly at all when I’m “interacting” with my kids through the computer (comments on this and that doc, emails back and forth – no video chats yet). It’s such different work, it’s difficult for me to assess which type is more difficult. My brain and body are now taxed in different ways. Everybody’s got an opinion about it, and everyone’s in such different situations, so there’s probably no “real” answer. I do hope you get a lot of responses, so we can see what people are going through.

    1. I agree about the different type of work. Teachers have to be flexible, but this is definitely asking a lot of them in ways never anticipated. Thank you for being a passionate educator who any parent would be happy to have teaching their child!

  10. Someone else said it best: “This is not teaching from home; this is teaching during a CRISES”. And my work reflects that: I am on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for parents and children who are traumatized with being sick, missing their loved ones in the hospital, having no way to support their family academically, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I am a 2nd grade teacher. DON’T YOU DARE SAY I AM LAZY.

  11. Most teachers I know worked flat out producing work that kids could do at home in ‘hard copy’ form. They rang their students several times a week to touch base with them, even those who have little English, just to let them know they cared. They have developed online lessons to supplement and explain those in hard copies. They feel worried and frustrated at the fact that what is happening is not ‘quality teaching’. My son in-law woke up today (a Sunday) to produce YouTube videos for his Year 12 extension 2 Maths class. He’s so worried about them and their preparation for the Higher School Certificate. So, no, teachers I know from many schools are feeling accountable and challenged Don’t know any personally who are taking a break @annadelconte

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