#78 – Teaching Is Hard, and It Matters

Unpacking Education February 9, 2022 28 min

When something matters to us and we care deeply about it, we put our all into it. This is certainly true for teaching and working in schools. Despite increased demands, daily stresses, and limited resources, educators continue to pour all of their energy and talent into the profession for the sake of their students and communities. This work matters, and it is also hard.

Tune in to this week’s episode as the team discusses the current state of education as well as ways to mitigate the challenges faced by those working in the field. While the struggles are real, there are strategies and approaches that can both relieve some of the daily stresses and help us feel more connected in our work with students. As referenced by Peter Greene in the Forbes article, “This Is the Hard Part of Teaching. It’s Getting Harder.,” how can we carry 15 gallons of stuff in a 10-gallon bucket?

Paul Beckermann
PreK–12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.

Todd Whitaker, educator and author


The following resources are available on AVID Open Access to explore this topic in more depth

What Can We Do to Make Teaching a Little Easier?

Teaching is a challenging profession—that’s a reality. It’s also rewarding—and that’s a reality, as well. To help us continue with this rewarding and important profession, how can we make the daily reality of this job a little easier and more manageable? Below are a few of the topics and strategies discussed in this podcast episode.

  • Prioritize needs: Recognize that you can’t do everything well with limited resources, so consider what students need most and put your energy there first.
  • Recognize what you can control: Rather than worrying about challenges out of your control, focus on the things that you can impact. This will lead to more realistic goals and greater success.
  • Find ways to reduce paperwork: Use portfolios, conferencing, peer and self-feedback, station rotation, automated correcting, and more available options to help make the correcting workload more manageable.
  • Recognize your limits: Give yourself permission to say no. Although it’s hard to say no, doing so might lead to another teacher gaining a leadership opportunity. This can help you manage your obligations while also increasing the overall capacity of staff in a building.
  • Connect interpersonally: Just as we prioritize relationships for our students, staff should take time to connect with each other. This might happen during meetings, in the hallway, and at after-school gatherings.
  • Provide flexibility: Blended professional learning opportunities can empower teachers and allow them to be more efficient with their time. It also honors teachers as professionals.
  • Recognize why you teach: There are many rewards that come from working with students, like connecting with their humor and quirkiness, having fun together, celebrating successes, and recognizing that you are making a meaningful difference in the future of these young people and in our society. It’s important to remember these sources of joy.

Guiding Questions

If you are listening to the podcast with your teaching team or would like to explore this topic more deeply, here are guiding questions to prompt your reflection:

  • In what ways is teaching hard right now?
  • In what ways does teaching matter to you and others?
  • What can you do to make teaching a little easier in the midst of what is hard?