I ran a 5K yesterday (thank you for letting me indulge in a little bit of smugness). It was an exceptionally well organized and run race. I was quite impressed. The race was hosted by the Navy Federal Credit Union and it began and ended on their campus. It is a beautiful campus with lots of trees and a small pond. What struck me the most however was the path that ran around the building and included an exercise course and equipment. Clearly the expectation is that before, during, or after work employees can work out there.
It got me thinking about the differences between the business world and education. Teachers can not take time to work out during their lunch hour (because it's not even close to an hour). Teachers can't arrive late or leave early without it being a huge hassle to get classrooms covered. And if you do, you know your students won't get the same level of instruction as if you were there. Teachers can't even make simple phone calls throughout the day or go to the bathroom at any given time.
I don't mean for this to sound whiny or to be complaining. The great majority of the time, I'm not too bothered by this. What I am bothered by is how little I think most people understand about the realities in a school and classroom. Even my husband, who is a college professor and who puts forth significant efforts to understand, doesn't really get it.
I'm not sure it's possible to fully comprehend without spending at least one complete day with a teacher. I just know that I'd feel a lot better about how teachers are viewed in our society if I thought more of the general public had a decent understanding of what it is truly like.
Title of this post from the book by Dave Eggers, Daniel Moulthrop, and Ninive Clements Calegari.