I have been
teaching for a long time and have enjoyed teaching enormously. In fact, although
I have officially retired two years ago, I am still teaching on a part time basis, just two physics classes, thank you. Call me silly, call me crazy, call me stupid but to be perfectly honest, teaching
for me has never been a “job” but rather a form of entertainment. I
go to class to entertain and be entertained. Can you believe it? Having fun and getting paid for it! It’s a great life! Unfortunately, however, for reasons that I do not know, the teaching profession is
considered “low” by the public at large.
Here is another of my true stories. This one concerns an event
that occurred to me just a few years ago. The incident was both revealing and
distressing. I had a student in my class, by the name of Nadine, who enjoyed
explaining physics to her classmates. She took over the blackboard regularly
just before class started. One day I told her, “Nadine, you’re a
natural. You should become a teacher.”
I was somewhat disturbed by her reply causing me to write an article in The Suburban weekly newspaper under the title
“Teaching is Still a Noble Profession”.
Teaching is Still a Noble Profession
I’ve been teaching in a public high school since 1969 and I remember my classes of yesteryear like yesterday. Indeed, while the educational system here in Quebec has been in a state of continual change ever since
I started, the behavior of the students has remained pretty much the same. I
can honestly say that I find students today as receptive, cooperative and as respectful as always. What seems to have deteriorated over the years is the attitude towards teachers by the government, the
public, and the parents. The latest bashing by the government, for example, is
the labeling of teachers as “90% workers”; a cheap ploy designed to deprive teachers of a pay raise. Parents have become much less supportive of teachers. More
and more parents come to parent-teacher interviews with a hostile attitude. All
too often, they rudely demand to know why their child did so poorly. Their tone
of voice is accusatory as if to suggest the fault lies with the teacher rather than with their child. This is nothing more than teacher bashing and belittles a noble profession.
Just a few days ago, I asked one of my physics students if she would like to be a teacher. She told me that she was actually thinking of becoming a teacher; however, her father changed her mind. As she put it, “My father said to aim high, stay away from teaching.” How sad that such a noble profession should be considered so “low” by
the public at large. How sad that the very profession responsible for producing
the professions considered “superior” by the general public, such as doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers,
writers, accountants, to list a few, should itself be considered “inferior”.
Although I will retire soon, I am as proud today of being a teacher as I was the day I started. True, the income is less than in the “superior” professions.
None the less, I highly recommend teaching to anyone wishing to make a meaningful contribution to society. Regardless of public opinion, teachers do make a difference. Teaching
is a noble profession. Touching lives and helping to form decent human beings
is the true role of any teacher. Is there a more noble profession? Is there a more noble job? Is there a more noble task? I don’t think so!
The day after the article appeared my student Nadine informed me that her father apologized for any disparaging
remarks saying that his intension was not to put down teachers.