As I prepared dinner the other night, my son and I talked. Somehow, our conversation steered to how smart I was. In order to prove my point, I bragged to my son how I had been in gifted programs all my life, and had even skipped a grade.
He laughed and said, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re just a teacher?”
“Just a teacher?”, I thought. I was flabbergasted! Yet, at the same time, my mind raced, questioning my chosen occupation. An occupation I had loved for 26 years.
He continued, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?” Ouch! I told him, “I am that smart, but I have chosen to teach”. It brought to mind part of that horrible quote, “Those who can’t, teach.” I asked him who he thinks taught those doctors and lawyers.
He responded, “Bill Gates didn’t go to college, and he’s a millionaire!”
I answered, “But he did attend Kindergarten through 12th grade, right?” Who do you think taught him everything he knows? A teacher!”
We continued our conversation and I think I changed his opinion, maybe. I have to admit, what he said stung. I went to college, I have a B.S. and a M.S., but my son thinks I’m not that smart because I’m “just” a teacher.
Maybe this is why teachers have such a hard time getting respect. Maybe this is why so many young teachers I’ve encountered, don’t really learn the craft, they worry about how long it will be before they “get out the classroom.”
I love teaching, I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, principal, etc…, I want to be a teacher, even if I’m “just” a teacher!