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  • Writer's pictureJoan Halsey

Combating Negative Teaching Stereotypes

We have all heard them. Teachers get paid nothing. Teaching is just babysitting. Teaching is an easy major. And of course the most famous "Those who can't do teach". Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. We need to know the facts so that we can respond appropriately and combat these stereotypes in our own teaching practice. Today we are asking McKay School alumni what they say and do when people question their decision to become a teacher.

The first stereotype that needs to be addressed is the notoriously low pay that teachers receive. If you are concerned with not being able to support a family or making ends meet on a teacher salary—check out these blog posts about Teacher Salaries: Myths vs Facts Part 1 and Part 2.

Our McKay School alumni have some good reminders for us—

Taylor Baird, studied Early Childhood Education (ECE) and in response to the idea that 'Teaching is babysitting, and it's so cute that you will get to play with bubbles and play dough' she said "Everything we do, we do is for a specific purpose. Everything is planned out to meet the needs of the kids. So for a little kid, you can't have them write an essay when they don't even know how to write. They have to be doing something they can do. Playdough helps them build and develop the skills that they need in a way that's appropriate for them."

Amelia Spencer, studied Special Education (SPED) and when people hear that she's a special education teacher they say "Wow you must be so patient", to which she said "It makes me chuckle every time because I do not feel like I am the most patient person in the world. I don't know that patience is the right way to describe special education. I realized that it is because people did not understand what I intended to do. My job right now is focusing on kids with specific learning disabilities and more mild disabilities. Patience is not in the job description—I help kids to learn and I try to be patient. It's an opportunity for me to share what I actually do and why I love what I do."

Teaching is a challenging and rewarding career. Studying to be a teacher is rigorous and requires many hours of practice in the classroom. You learn about every subject so that you can teach your future students in the most effective manner. You will be constantly adapting your instruction to the most recent research-based practices. You will be the most influential adult in your student's lives outside their families. It is critical that we have the brightest and most capable people becoming teachers so that future generations can learn, develop, and contribute to the community around them.

One of our Physical Education Teaching/Coaching (PETE) professors Dr. Carol Wilkinson sums up what we need to do to combat these stereotypes "ignore what the people choose to stereotype and show them differently. We've trained you and we're counting on you to go out and hold high standards."

Let's do just that Cougars! In the McKay School of Education, students receive top-notch teacher training, which enables them to go out and make a positive difference in countless lives. If you are interested in making that kind of difference click here to schedule a time to meet with a Student Ambassador to learn more about how to become a teacher!

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