50 Important Facts You Should Know About Teachers

Teacher pointing to math problem on the blackboard
Teaching is not as easy as just knowing the subject. Robert Daly/Caiaimage/Getty Images

For the most part, teachers are undervalued and under-appreciated. This is especially sad considering the tremendous impact that teachers have on a daily basis. Teachers are some of the most influential people in the world, yet the profession is continuously mocked and put down instead of being revered and respected. A large majority of people have misconceptions about teachers and do not truly understand what it takes to be an effective teacher.

Like any profession, there are those who are great and those who are bad. When we look back at our education we often remember the great teachers and the bad teachers. However, those two groups only combine to represent an estimated 5% of all teachers. Based on this estimate, 95% of teachers fall somewhere in between those two groups. This 95% may not be memorable, but they are the teachers who show up every day, do their jobs, and receive little recognition or praise.

The teaching profession is often misunderstood. The majority of non-teachers do not have any idea what it takes to teach effectively. They do not understand the daily challenges that teachers across the country must overcome to maximize the education their students receive. Misconceptions will likely continue to fuel perceptions on the teaching profession until the general public understands the true facts about teachers.

What You May Not Know About Teachers

The following statements are generalized. Though each statement may not be true for every teacher, they are indicative of the thoughts, feelings, and work habits of the majority of teachers.

  1. Teachers are passionate people who enjoy making a difference.
  2. Teachers do not become teachers because they are not smart enough to do anything else. Instead, they become teachers because they want to make a difference in shaping young people’s lives.
  3. Teachers do not just work from 8-3 with summers off. Most arrive early, stay late, and take papers home to grade. Summers are spent preparing for the next year and at professional development opportunities.
  4. Teachers get frustrated with students who have tremendous potential but do not want to put in the hard work necessary to maximize that potential.
  5. Teachers love students who come to class every day with a good attitude and genuinely want to learn.
  6. Teachers enjoy collaboration, bouncing ideas and best practices off of each other, and supporting each other.
  7. Teachers respect parents who value education, understand where their child is academically, and support everything the teacher does.
  8. Teachers are real people. They have lives outside of school. They have terrible days and good days. They make mistakes.
  1. Teachers want a principal and administration that supports what they are doing, provides suggestions for improvement, and values their contributions to their school.
  2. Teachers are creative and original. No two teachers do things exactly alike. Even when they use another teacher’s ideas, they often put their own spin on them.
  3. Teachers are continuously evolving. They are always searching for better ways to reach their students.
  4. Teachers do have favorites. They may not come out and say it, but there are those students, for whatever reason, with whom you have a natural connection.
  5. Teachers get irritated with parents who do not understand that education should be a partnership between themselves and their child’s teachers.
  6. Teachers are control freaks. They hate it when things do not go according to plan.
  7. Teachers understand that individual students and individual classes are different and tailor their lessons to meet those individual needs.
  8. Teachers do not always get along with each other. They may have personality conflicts or disagreements that fuel a mutual dislike.
  1. Teachers appreciate being appreciated. They love it when students or parents do something unexpected to show their appreciation.
  2. Teachers despise standardized testing. They believe it has added unnecessary pressures on themselves and their students.
  3. Teachers do not become teachers because of the paycheck. They understand that they are going to be underpaid for what they do.
  4. Teachers hate it when the media focuses on the minority of teachers who screw up, instead of on the majority who consistently show up and do their job on a daily basis.
  5. Teachers love it when they run into former students, and they tell you how much they appreciated what you did for them.
  6. Teachers hate the political aspects of education.
  7. Teachers enjoy being asked for input on key decisions that the administration will be making. It gives them ownership in the process.
  8. Teachers are not always excited about what they are teaching. There is always some required content that they do not enjoy teaching.
  9. Teachers genuinely want the best for all of their students. They never want to see a child fail.
  1. Teachers hate to grade papers. It is a necessary part of the job, but it also extremely monotonous and time-consuming.
  2. Teachers are consistently searching for better ways to reach their students. They are never happy with the status quo.
  3. Teachers often spend their own money for the things they need to run their classroom.
  4. Teachers want to inspire others around them, beginning with their students but also including parents, other teachers, and their administration.
  5. Teachers work in an endless cycle. They work hard to get each student from point A to point B and then start back over the next year.
  6. Teachers understand that classroom management is a part of their job, but it is often one of their least favorite things to handle.
  7. Teachers understand that students deal with different, sometimes challenging, situations at home and often go above and beyond to help a student cope with those situations.
  8. Teachers love engaging in meaningful professional development and despise time-consuming, pointless professional development.
  1. Teachers want to be role models for all of their students.
  2. Teachers want every child to be successful. They do not enjoy failing a student or making a retention decision.
  3. Teachers enjoy their time off. It gives them time to reflect and refresh and to make changes they believe will benefit their students.
  4. Teachers feel like there is never enough time in a day. There is always more that they feel like they need to be doing.
  5. Teachers would love to see classroom sizes capped at 15-18 students.
  6. Teachers want to maintain an open line of communication between themselves and their student’s parents throughout the year.
  7. Teachers understand that the importance of school finance and the role it plays in education, but wish that money was never an issue.
  8. Teachers want to know that their principal has their back when a parent or student makes unsupported accusations.
  9. Teachers dislike disruptions, but are generally flexible and accommodating when they occur.
  10. Teachers are more likely to accept and use new technologies if they are properly trained on how to use them.
  1. Teachers get frustrated with the few teachers who lack professionalism and are not in the field for the right reasons.
  2. Teachers hate it when a parent undermines their authority by bad mouthing them in front of their child at home.
  3. Teachers are compassionate and sympathetic when a student has a tragic experience.
  4. Teachers want to see former students be productive, successful citizens later in life.
  5. Teachers invest more time in struggling students than any other group and anticipate the “light bulb” moment when a student finally starts to get it.
  6. Teachers are often the scapegoat for a student’s failure when in reality it is a combination of factors outside the teacher’s control that led to failure.
  7. Teachers often worry about many of their students outside of school hours, realizing that they do not have the best home life.