What are the biggest challenges of being a teacher?

Some context : This was an asnwer I wrote to a question posted on a knowledge sharing website

I’ll attempt to bring to light some of the frustrations, a teacher in India (teaching in a government or a low-income private school) would commonly go through.

1. Being in a schooling system that discourages anything unconventional and gets uncomfortable about new teaching methodology/practices/environments.

2. Long justifications from some of your students’ parents who assume every feedback about a child is a personal attack on them. It is not. All a teacher wants is collaboration with the parents to reach out to the child in a more effective manner.

3. Trying to move your students away from the culture of rote in a country where, for generations “rote to score” has been promoted as a key to success. Students learn answers, theorems, formula – everything in a certain format that is best suited to score, getting them to think sometimes is a challenge. Sometimes, what is saddening is that students don’t see any value in investing that extra time in exploring the subject because they know exactly what will fetch them marks and all this “extra learning and thinking” seems unnecessary.

4. Ultimately, across all countries, I think that a teacher’s job is more or less a thankless job. For everything that is not going right with the class, a teacher is held accountable and brought to the book whenever necessary. But surprisingly little appreciation is given openly to a good teacher by a parent or the school administration.

5. In India, I feel one of the biggest frustrations of being a teacher is the staggeringly low-prestige associated with the teaching as a profession. Unfortunately the perception here is that you couldn’t do much else with your life, so you chose to enter this profession.

With low prestige, comes an added frustration of low salaries (Not government schools, but most private schools neither have a standardization nor a benchmarking for teachers’ salaries).

6. Also in India, the idea of in-service training or professional development for teachers is almost non-existent. (And when I say this, I speak for all low-income private and government schools across the country) So for an enthusiastic teacher who wants to update their skills and learn more, this absolute lack of assistance from the system can be frustrating.

These were some of my observations while serving as a teacher in a low-income private school for the last two years. I have so much more respect for teachers now, especially the ones who continue to inspire their children everyday in spite of all these challenges.

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One thought on “What are the biggest challenges of being a teacher?

  1. Pingback: What are the biggest challenges of being a teacher? | a scope too thin to fit

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