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Evelyn_475's avatar

Teachers/ educators: what were some of your most difficult experiences in the profession?

Asked by Evelyn_475 (787 points ) November 5th, 2010

Please share some of your stories, and some of your thoughts on being an educator. What grade did you teach? How far into teaching were you at the time of difficulty?

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5 Answers

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Some kids’ attitude! Nothing can prepare you for that!

muppetish's avatar

As a tutor, the most difficult aspect of my job is when the students don’t want to learn. The blank stares I get from one of my groups (ten students – all freshman) are a bit… frustrating, intimidating, and saddening. It’s not my job to make the material interesting for them though. They have to show up whether the like it or not (as attendance is part of the grade they receive from their Composition class and I can mark them absent if I feel they aren’t mentally present.) But I’d rather they make it so the lessons / assistance doesn’t feel like pulling teeth.

From what my friends have said about teaching: the bureaucracy of the education system is one of the most frustrating aspects. It’s one few starry-eyed teachers-to-be stop and think about when working for their degree.

janedelila's avatar

Preschool. Sometimes I am so sad to see a well put together parent and a child that is a mess. No socks in winter, asking for food when I get them, while mom or dad wears a pair of shoes that cost more than my finger paint stained outfit. No support in the classroom, treat us like servants, and we spend twice as much time with their children than they do. The parents seem to feel it doesn’t matter since the children are “little”. Sucks, but I wouldn’t trade them for a million bucks.

Joybird's avatar

I’m a TA in the Graphic Arts room at an Alternative High School. We get the kids that haven’t made it anywhere else. They are listed as some combination of emotionally disturbed, drug or alcohol addicted, having mental health diagnoses, learning disabled, and sometimes just out of long or short term stints in jail or residential facilities.
For me the most difficult challenge is to remember to be firm, fair, assertive, and funny. I tend to connect with the kids who are personality disordered but still maleable. It’s hard to stick to good shaping techniques when you have a student acting out and trying to aggressively assert that you can’t control them….by throwing a chair and usually several objects around as they then exit your class. Every year I have to remind myself to wait..wait…wait….wait for the dog to come to you so that you can reward that effort thus taking the first step to breaking down a pattern of behavior that isn’t serving them well. It’s a horse whisperer thing…or a student whisperer type of thing. They eventually do come and make an attempt to clear the air if I wait long enough. Too many people jump in trying to fix it or make excuses for the behavior or run after the kid or punish. But it’s hard to wait…wait…wait.
I’m in the process of waiting now. He threw the chair Thursday and didn’t come to class for the rest of the day. He came to class today but I wouldn’t speak to him which I can do because I’m the TA…not the main teacher. But he came and sat near where I was….so I knew the wheels were spinning. Monday he will make an attempt at a repair for which I will reward him profusely and then I will make a simple request…just one and when I get a verbal commitment I’ll reward that too. And thus the change effort will begin. The funny part is that last years students are witnessing it all and talking about how they were there last year and they are guiding the process along.
It don’t get much better than this in a difficult educational environment.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Parents who believe every crazy thing their kids tell them.

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