Photo credit: Alexander Hafemann on Unsplash
The modules asks us to “identify a concept that is often misunderstood in your discipline. Can you think of an analogy that can help make the concept make sense to students?” I am going to approach this activity a bit differently – instead of making a concept make sense to students, I am using this analogy to make teaching and our ‘summers off’ make sense to people that aren’t in the education field.
Since I started teaching, I have heard a number of passive aggressive comments about spoiled teachers and our cushy holiday schedule – 8 weeks off during the summer, 2 weeks at Christmas and a one week winter break!
Like the tip of an iceberg poking out of the cold arctic ocean, people only see a small fraction of the work that teachers do. And like the submerged part of the iceberg, a majority of the work being done by teachers is done ‘below the surface’ out of sight — prepping for classes, grading students’ assignments, doing administrative work, having one-on-one meetings with students, emailing students, supervising extra-curricular activities, coordinating work placements and field trips, supporting students in times of crisis, and the list goes on! All of these tasks are done outside of the typical classroom hours, on the teacher’s own time and unpaid.
Teaching is an iceberg profession – you only see the tip of the iceberg.