Does anyone have it tougher than elementary teachers?

Spent part of yesterday morning Skyping into my wife’s fourth grade classroom. There was some conversation but mostly just eavesdropping on her instruction and interaction with the kids. (Is there a word for eavesdropping when you’re not even in the room!?)

Once more got a taste of what thousands of teachers do every day. Wow!

I was drawn back to a recent post over at The Faculty Room by Devin Ozdogu. He highlighted a fictional want ad originally created in 1997 by Linda Darling-Hammond for the March edition of The School Administrator.

HELP WANTED – College graduate with academic major (master’s preferred). Challenging opportunity to serve 150 clients daily on tight schedule, developing up to five different products each day to meet individual needs. Adaptability helpful since suppliers cannot always deliver goods and support services on time. Diversified position allows employee to exercise typing, clerical, law enforcement, and social work skills between assignments and after hours. Ideal candidate will enjoy working in isolation from colleagues. Typical work week 50 hours. Nature of work precludes use of telephones or computers, but work has many intrinsic rewards. Starting salary $24,661 with chance to earn $36,495 after 15 years.

May need to readjust the salary a bit but still sounds pretty accurate to me.

Much of education has remained the same in the last 10-15 years. I understand that the purpose of the ad is to highlight the difficulty of being a teacher but does the ad still sound familiar because the system hasn’t changed or because we haven’t changed?

I can be one of the loudest “blaming” the system for the problems that I see in education while ignoring the reluctance to make changes in my own behavior. Teaching is hard work. The system sometimes makes it harder. But we need to be constantly working to find ways to grow professionally and improve the work we do.

Eleven years after 1997, what would you change in the ad? Specifically, how would the ad read for your position?