“A primary teacher? Seriously Emily? You could do so much more than that..”

Today I was asked by an old friend what it was I was studying. After I replied, explaining I was studying to become a primary teacher the response I got was, for me, an extremely sad one.

“A primary teacher? Seriously Emily? That’s not exactly difficult is it? Baby sitting kids all day and teaching them the alphabet isn’t a proper job! You could do much more than that! Teacher training is harder than the actual job itself!”

I can’t quite put into words how shocked and upset this made me. I couldn’t think of anything to say in return. Is this really what people think of primary teachers? I have dedicated so much time in order for me to be able to obtain the training needed to become a teacher- it’s all I have ever wanted to do. So for somebody to think that I was wasting my time on a career they didn’t deem worthy of being given the time of day hurt a lot. I don’t know about you but I would never talk down to someone like this or discard their chosen career. Especially one that would be affecting the future generations of children.

I realise many people share that same belief as the individual I bumped into today. Surprisingly I actually feel sorry for them as maybe primary school for them was not an enjoyable or memorable experience. Where would the world be without primary teachers? Children need that education experience in order to be equipped with the tools they need to develop into successful, well-rounded adults. Not every parent would have the time to spend 5/6 hours a day educating their children. Despite feeling rather deflated by those comments I’ve turned that into determination. I am more determined than ever to try and inform as many people as possible as to how much work, dedication and passion teachers put in within and outside the classroom and how much they care about the job and people they are helping. I believe that the lecturers , tutors and fellow students I have surrounding me are so passionate about the profession they are part of that I know a positivity towards primary education is extremely strong. I have chosen to turn this negative into a positive and I encourage anyone who experiences a similar situation to do the same.

I am a student teacher and proud to say it.

10 thoughts on ““A primary teacher? Seriously Emily? You could do so much more than that..”

  1. M Mackie

    This post took me on a rollercoaster! I always feel terribly upset and frustrated when people fail to recognise the importance of providing our children with a quality education. After all, “the children are our future”! That being said, your personal commitment and enthusiasm shines through and these are attributes that will allow you to change peoples (false) perceptions!

  2. Erin McGlynn

    This made me sad reading this! 🙁 I don’t think people appreciate how important the role of a teacher is!

  3. Emily Christison Post author

    It took me by such surprise I just had to write about it! Couldn’t agree with you both more!

  4. Margaret Cassidy

    Hear hear. I spent all my working life in Primary Education and did not regret it once. Yes, you will have to work hard, but the rewards you get back will be tenfold. There is nothing better than to meet a former pupil years later and they greet you with a smile on their face and relate their memories from time in your class. Will your ‘friend’ have such job satisfaction in years to come?

    1. Emily Christison Post author

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I look forward to the day I meet a former pupil and am lucky enough for them to have fond memories of being in my class!

  5. lynn boyle

    Bear thi in mind when you eventually work with Early Years Practitioners, as sadly this is very often the viewpoint they receive on a daily basis from within the teaching profession, it is a good time to evaluate your own views on a number of professions but of course I am championing Early Years. Imagine working full time, taking 4/5 years of part time study on top of that to achieve a brilliant degree to then be paid less that £20,000 to run a large nursery and still be told ‘ask a teacher, they know best’! I have been told during my career I was better than being a nanny, a nursery nurse, a childhood practitioner, a college lecturer and a council officer, ppft if only they knew I had the last laugh as I enjoyed my job!!!!!
    To be honest below this is of course are mums who get no pay, no recognition and sometimes scant respect from many professions.
    Teaching along with many other jobs takes a very dedicated person who has put in many more hours than they are ‘paid’ for but often get the most amount of criticism for the way they do their job or the very value of the job.

  6. Kimberley Rennie

    Continue to be proud of being a student teacher! Whatever your friends chosen career is – it is more than likely it is down to her ability to read, write, count etc etc – all skills learnt in primary school and taught by a primary teacher. Teachers are were the future lawyers, hairdressers, doctors, bakers and every other career comes from without yourself and countless other teachers many, many people would not be half the person they are today! As a student and fully qualified teacher – you are going to hopefully inspire the next generation, you will be a role model and someone your children look up to and you will undoubtedly play a massive role in those children’s lives and shaping their future: whatever it is they chose to be/do with their lives. That is only a small part of the reason I am proud to also be a student teacher!
    Enjoy the journey of being a student teacher 🙂

    1. Emily Christison Post author

      Thank you so much for your feedback- I really do appreciate it! Everything you said is so true! I hope you have a great experience as a student teacher too!

  7. Lauren Duncan

    Hi, Emily! I can relate to this so much, unfortunately. When getting my leavers slip signed at high school FAR too many teachers made comments about my chosen degree. One that sticks in mind is a certain teacher commenting on how I’d be so much better off going into secondary teaching…. EM… NO.
    If it wasn’t for primary teachers, children wouldn’t have the basis of knowledge they need to progress onto secondary school.
    I love your passion and dedication to persuade everyone that Primary Teaching is a very rewarding career. Thinking back, the teachers I had at primary school were some of the most influential people I’ve ever met.
    I would definitely not take the comments to heart, as hurtful as they can be. Use them as fuel to the fire to become the best teacher you can be. The rewards will be endless. 🙂

    1. Emily Christison Post author

      Hello! That’s so sad to hear that you have experienced similar- if not worse! It always surprises me when teachers have negative attitudes towards their pupils that want to join the profession! Surely they should be encouraging? Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot to me! I was the same, the teachers I had were fantastic and I hope that we can be as influential, if not more, as our teachers were to us! Wish you all the best Lauren 🙂


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