Confession: I am a third grade teacher. The following post and any others on the same theme will most likely be completely biased.
That said, I think most people would agree that teaching is a challenging profession, even if you yourself are not a teacher. Believe it or not, the kids are not usually what makes the profession irritating. It’s the material.
I have a few readers in other countries who will appreciate this. I teach in America, where the units of measure make no sense at all. Consider the following graphic:
This is the kind of thing that makes our jobs difficult.
Student: Teacher, why is 32 degrees Fahrenheit the freezing point of water?
Me: Good question. Maybe it was someone’s favorite number. Let’s look it up! (Because as a good teacher, I always grab teachable moments, just in case someone interviewing me is reading this).
Now, because our units of measure don’t come close to matching the rest of the world, we get to teach measurement twice: once for American measurement, and once for metric. Oh goody! Problem is, we don’t use metric measurement on a daily basis. The weights I use on the bar at my weightlifting class are in kg. I can’t tell you at all how much I lift in pounds. If I ever visit Europe for any length of time, I’m pretty sure I will be effectively screwed.
So the result is an awkward back-and-forth instruction, especially if you happen to be teaching American measurement in math and doing an experiment (which requires metric) in science.
Me: So students, for this experiment, we need to measure 100 milliliters of water.
Them: What’s a milliliter?
Me: It’s a metric unit of measurement that we don’t use in America, unless we are doing science.
Inside my head: Because you have to be a scientist to understand why the hell we must use two standards of measurement.
So rest of the world, there is a reason (actually probably lots of reasons) why you think Americans are idiots, but it’s not always our fault. We’re given this random combination of numbers to memorize. I happen to be pro-metric, but I don’t see us changing over any time soon. And we should, because a kg is a little less than half a pound, meaning that everyone in America would cut their weight in half. Or something. Maybe this is why we have an obesity epidemic.
Look for future posts about why teachers deserve presents. Then, go buy your child’s teacher a present.
FYI: If you’re interested in why we use a different unit of measurement in America, check this site.