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Former Teacher: 'You Think You Know What Teachers Do. Right? Wrong.'

Former Teacher: 'You Think You Know What Teachers Do. Right? Wrong.'

Everyone has had a teacher at some point in their lives, so they know exactly what their job consists of, right? Wrong. 

So says Sarah Blaine, mom, former teacher, and full-time practicing attorney in her blog post featured on In her post, Blaine looks at common misconceptions many have about the role of teachers and what goes on in and out of the classroom. 

"We were students, and therefore we know teachers," Blaine wrote. "We denigrate teachers. We criticize teachers. We can do better than teachers. After all: We do. They teach. We are wrong. We need to honor teachers. We need to respect teachers. We need to listen to teachers. We need to stop reducing teachers to arbitrary measurements of student growth on so-called objective exams. Most of all, we need to stop thinking that we know anything about teaching merely by virtue of having once been students. We don’t know."

Blaine said that she earned a master of arts in teaching and then spent two years teaching English Language Arts in a rural public high school.

And I learned that my 13 years as a public school student, my 4 years as a college student at a highly selective college, and even a great deal of my year as a master’s degree student in the education school of a flagship public university hadn’t taught me how to manage a classroom, how to reach students, how to inspire a love of learning, how to teach. Eighteen years as a student (and a year of preschool before that), and I didn’t know anything about teaching. Only years of practicing my skills and honing my skills would have rendered me a true professional. An expert. Someone who knows about the business of inspiring children. Of reaching students. Of making a difference. Of teaching. I didn’t stay. I copped out. I left. I went home to suburban New Jersey, and a year later I enrolled in law school.

According to Blaine, all former students "have no more idea of what it is to teach than you do of what it is to practice law."

"The problem with teaching as a profession is that every single adult citizen of this country thinks that they know what teachers do," she wrote. "And they don’t. So they prescribe solutions, and they develop public policy, and they editorialize, and they politicize. And they don’t listen to those who do know. Those who could teach. The teachers."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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