Before you began your teaching career, what do you wish you would have known?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Before you began your teaching career, what do you wish you would have known?
How difficult it is for schools to change.
How quickly expectations placed on schools would increase.
The amount of time required for lesson preparation and paperwork.
The nature of school administration.
More strategies for behavior.

View Results

Many things in life come with a few surprises. People that crave the excitement of police work probably watched a lot of Dirty Harry movies. The reality is far more monotonous and filled with paperwork. Getting a new puppy sounds cute, cuddly and exciting. Somehow we forget about the housebreaking and chewed up shoes. Even parenthood falls in this category. Thinking of having children often brings up images of hugs and cuddles, reading books, and unconditional love. Nobody dwells on the temper tantrums, projectile vomiting or teen angst that comes with the job.

Unfortunately, the teaching profession isn't immune to some disappointments as well. Many teachers wish they would have known more strategies for behaviour and were aware of the amount of time required for lesson preparation and paperwork. These two categories account for almost two thirds of the respondents in this poll. Perhaps more on these two subjects needs to be addressed while teachers are undergoing training and certification.

Behaviour issues are particularly difficult for teachers who often feel unprepared to handle complex behaviour cases. Educational assistants are used to help the teachers deal with classroom behaviour of particular students, but many students are not funded for full time aides. This leaves the classroom teacher scrambling for assistance or trying to plan certain activities at times that an aide is slated to be in the room. Inclusion in the educational system has its benefits but it does come with challenges as well.

The amount of time teachers spend on paperwork and lesson preparation depends on the teacher and each particular class. Some classes are more independent than others, allowing the teacher to do some prep work within class hours. Other classes need almost constant guidance and supervision leaving the teacher unable to complete other work.

Knowing some of the realities of teaching may have deterred some people from the profession. Teaching is an ever changing profession where budget cuts, administration expectations, parent involvement and student needs change very quickly. More prior knowledge may be beneficial but still may not provide all the information required.