When I found out I had gotten a job teaching high school English, I was thrilled, but it also meant I had to say good-bye to the seventh and eighth grade students at the school where I was working as a teacher’s aide. I wasn’t looking forward to saying good-bye to them, particularly the eighth graders, who to this day remain one of my favorite classes. (I know, teachers aren’t supposed to have favorite classes, but I’ll let you in on an insider’s tip from the faculty room: they do.)
I gave a brief good-bye speech, not wanting to get overly sentimental. From my experience, most middle school students are like, so totally cool — thus, they aren’t big on the overly-affectionate emotional displays I’m generally prone to. So I refrained from launching into a bunch of teary “I’m just so proud of you all and am going to miss you all so much!” sentiments (though I feared I wouldn’t), and was proud of myself for playing it cool.
I wrapped up my speech, gave them a wave, collected my books, and started to head out the door. Before I reached the knob, one of the girls in the class shouted, “Ms. Doyle, wait!”
She came running up to me. “I didn’t get to hug you good-bye!” she exclaimed, and threw her arms around me.
A few of her girlfriends followed suit, each nearly knocking me over with a a big good-bye embrace, and before I knew it the entire class had formed a Hug Train, each and every student in that eighth grade class waiting in line to give a proper good-bye hug to their teacher’s aide. I tried to play it, like, so totally cool as I received a huge hug from each eighth-grader but inevitably launched into a bunch of teary ”I’m just so proud of you all and am going to miss you all so much!” sentiments, as I knew I would.
The Dead Poet’s Society “O Captain, my Captain!” scene had nothing on the Hug Train.
I think most teachers will say that they don’t teach for the pay — they teach for the students. They’re the best part of the job. This is why it didn’t surprise me at all to find that a recent survey by the National Center for Education Information reported that over 89 percent of teachers experience overall job satisfaction, with 97 percent of teachers reporting satisfaction with their relationships with students. While only 55 percent are happy with their salaries, most teachers aren’t looking for new job opportunities: 67 percent still see themselves teaching in five years.
Check out the infographic by Best Colleges Online, embedded below, to learn more about the survey results. I know I learned a few things. For instance, the gender gap among teachers has grown in recent years: females represent 84 percent of our country’s teachers, while males represent only 16 percent. Also, while only 32 percent of teachers feel tenure should be eliminated, 89 percent believe that incompetent teachers should be removed, regardless of seniority.
Were you surprised by any of the statistics in this infographic? Did you have an “O Captain, my Captain!” moment with a favorite teacher? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or share your story with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.