Teaching isn't an easy gig. Yes, we know we're putting that mildly. But if the students don't get you, the behind the scenes drama will!
And trust us: There's a lot of it.
"Teachers who ended up working at schools that you attended as a student, what behind the scenes secrets, dirt, or teachers lounge gossip did you learn that you were clueless of as a student?" –– This was today's burning question from Redditor karnerblu, who managed to appeal to all of our inner gossips.
"The biggest surprise..."
The biggest surprise for me was that the teacher I adored as a kid is actually a douche. I loved him as a teacher when I was 14-years-old, but I can't stand him as a colleague.
I interned at my old elementary school and subbed at the high school. Honestly wasn't as wild and dabaucherous as some folks wish it to be. Biggest revelations:
- My old music teacher would fall asleep during after-school meetings and professional development with regularity.
- Sweet fourth grade teacher actually took no crap during after-school meetings if someone was trying to push policy or curriculum that made no sense.
- High school teachers would gossip in teachers lounge about students, though generally only occasionally in passing. And not always scandalous gossip. Just generally more aware of each student's social life than I'd have ever imagined they'd be. An example would be something like:
"How's Steve been today?"
"Turned in his homework but it was incomplete. Didn't really participate today. Heard he and Kristin weren't really talking anymore."
"Yeah, seems to be going through a rough time now but I think he's going to be better off in the long run."
In hindsight it was weird to consider that these folks were likely talking about me and my personal life in various regards a few years prior. Always assumed my life in school was relatively insular, but teachers see a lot more than we think.
"We recently discovered..."
We recently discovered that my girlfriend's teacher, who would occasionally break down crying during class when the kids were being particularly childlike, was dealing with cancer during that time.
Mrs X, who was always the jerk AP English teacher.
She hated the more "inappropriate" parts of our AP English books.
Turns her husband cheated on her and she was in the middle of an unpleasant divorce. No wonder she couldn't stand any sex in famous literature.
I'm not sorry for feeling she was a jerk, but, boy, did it make a lot more sense.
"I worked in the same department..."
I worked in the same department as my old teacher (one of the people who made me want to be a teacher, it was pretty cool). One day we're at a bar and he's telling me his biggest horror stories and mentions a girl that I knew from high school.
Turns out she was selling intimacy during class under the stairs! We only found out because she confessed it to my co-teacher! Apparently some kids had not paid her and she was really upset about the whole ordeal and she thought my colleague would be the only one who would listen.
He was quite shocked to say the least.
She was right, and he worked with the right counselors in the school to get her back on track and deal with some trauma. It never really spread around the school and I walked with her when I graduated. It was another checkmark on the list of why I looked up to him as a teacher though, and I try to be as open about listening to my students now.
Oooh... This is a good one. I realized that my first grade teacher (who I adored) was the butt of all the other teacher's jokes, and that our principal (who I also adored) was actively trying to get her fired.
You see the other end of the environment. Burn-out, negativity, factions and cliques... Idk. you kind of assume as an elementary school student that your teachers that preach kindness, cooperation, etc. also do that with the people around them - but I've learned that sometimes, teachers are worse than the kids.
"I was a private school teacher..."
I was a private school teacher at a school I attended as a student. The school had no infrastructure for special education or iep students. They basically told parents they could send students there but they're not getting any additional accommodations. I never connected or understood this as a kid but every time we'd get a "different" student, they rarely lasted more than a year.
"Most of the teachers..."
After college (UK) I spent a year as a teacher assistant in the primary school I used to go to when I was little.
Most of the teachers were still there from when I was at school and all of the dinner ladies still worked there too.
The dinner ladies were still as sweet and kind as I remember and made me feel so welcome as a member of staff.
The teacher I hated when I was at school was actually incredibly competent and encouraged me to use my IT skills to improve her classroom activities and got me to start up a lunch time club where we did basic typing and computing skills.
The flip side is that they all drank heavily outside of school, staff evenings out we're a hilarious mixture of drunken adventures, pub crawls and oversharing. One night (which I didn't attend due to a prior engagement) they all went skinny dipping... I'm quite glad I didn't see that!
"I learned that teachers..."
I learned that teachers are human and fallible and cliquish and fall on the spectrum of good and evil just like the rest of us.
The humanities teachers (e.g., languages, history) all ate lunch in this pretty nice lounge. The STEM teachers all ate in a sort of dank room off the cafeteria. No exceptions.
There was a teacher who was a little weird, seemed a little creepy to his students. Found out he was routinely harassed by the other teachers, saying weird and inappropriate things to him to embarrass him (e.g. "Your problem is that you just don't make enough anal mucus.")
One day there was a scuffle between the chem teacher and the physics teacher over the shared storage area between lab rooms. The chem teacher poured about a cup of ranch dressing on the physics teacher - on the sleeve of his shirt, but still.
The civics teacher used to enjoy reading the obituaries to find former "problem" students that had died young. Liked reading the police blotters for the same reason.
"I stepped in..."Giphy
I stepped in and did a maternity fill in for a science teacher at the high school I graduated at. My room was connected to my former high school chemistry teacher Mr. P. All I had to do was walk through my back classroom door and then there was a storage room for both my class and his class. Dude was always hilarious when I had him as a teacher. I walked in to his room and he was asking me how I was and everything. He told me he knew I'd do a great job.
So I'm standing in front of my class teaching and I notice my chemistry teacher is peeking through the glass window looking at me (all the students had their backs to this door while I'm facing it).
He dramatically waves at me, stops, flips me off with both hands and then acts like he's playing a guitar passionately.
I pause, start laughing, and lose where I am in the lesson. Students turn around but Mr. P ducked out of the window just in time. So now my students are looking at me smiling going "what?" and I couldn't tell them why I paused mid lecture and just started laughing. It was a fun time. I found out the "mean teachers" were actually pretty cool also. It just felt like being in an alternate reality working with my former teachers. You find out what they really think and see their more personal side.