'I've been a teacher for 10 years. Here are 7 sides of the job no one talks about.'

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

I've been a teacher for more than a decade now, and in my time alone, the trust in a teacher's decisions and judgement has been eroded and replaced with a need to spend time documenting our actions instead of teaching our students.

Some people still believe that we start at 9am, leave at 3pm and have 12 weeks of holiday every year.

Watch: Teachers of Reddit have written about the most unusual comments they get when speaking to parents about their kids. 

Video via Mamamia.

Despite this public image, I am incredibly lucky to work every day alongside passionate, dedicated educators. The great paradox of our job is that actually teaching our students is one of the smaller components of being in the classroom. Instead, we hold many other job titles that all fall under the 'teaching' umbrella.


The paper trail demands on teaching have increased exponentially. When I graduated, you were expected to have units of work planned for the term, but a lesson plan was for beginner teachers, or those unsure about the content they are delivering. Now, every lesson, in every learning area, for every year group requires a lesson plan. There is so much paperwork, before you even step in the classroom, that it needs to be divided up so one teacher takes mathematics, another takes writing, another history, and so it goes on. 


Wellbeing officer.

Did you know teachers are 100 per cent guaranteed to teach a student requiring a referral to Family and Community Services within five years of graduation? Irrespective of year level, social demographic, or geographic location. Sometimes, we will be the first adult they trust to tell that something is going on in their personal lives. Other times, we will be another in a long line of teachers doing our best to fight a system that forgets how tiny these tots are. That is a heavy load to place on anyone's shoulders. The additional burden of documentation is time consuming and heartbreaking. It takes a special kind of passion to be in a job after a small human has made a big disclosure to you. Then there are the everyday wellbeing checks - has Alice eaten breakfast this morning? Where is Sam's jacket? It's freezing! That friendship group is fighting. Again, I need to check in and help Sally and Steph work through their conflict. Again.

Behaviour manager.

Don't even get me started! If you are too strict, you hate kids! "Why are you even a teacher?" If you are not strict enough, you have no control. "You can't even teach the class!" And the people who decide this? The parents who aren't even in the room. Parents everywhere, please know that your eight-year-old's understanding of the situation is not the whole situation. Worse than having a defensive conversation to justify your actions, is finding out that parents have been complaining about you on the class WhatsApp group. How can we effectively manage challenging behaviour when every little action is deliberately misinterpreted for the worst possible motivation?



I genuinely believe parents would be truly horrified if they saw how much assessment was going on in schools - primary as well as high. A well-crafted lesson will tell you where your students are at, what they need help with, and who needs extension, in a fun and engaging manner. There is no need for formal "sit down, no talking" test conditions for every mathematics strand, English component and subject area. Every school will be different in how they handle this, but the upcoming trend in education is 'Data'. This is another way of saying "What is your evidence? Because we don't trust your professional judgement."

UN Level Certified Peace Keeper.

Small people have big feelings and it is our job to help them negotiate, understand and control these. Lower years teachers are constantly negotiating peace treaties over land rights (desk space) and equitable resource division (who gets to use the ruler first). Middle school teachers are helping students to balance new social groups with old friendship loyalties. High school teachers are dealing with friendship drama, identity changes and that crazy little thing called first love (and the ensuing broken hearts). Yet we still manage to get all these individuals into the one learning space AND focused on our lesson.

We know the last 24 months have been really tough on our teachers, so what can parents do to help? Listen to this episode of This Glorious Mess. Post cotninues below.

Project Manager.

This year, I manage 25 projects concurrently. I see the whole child, not just the 'data' delivered from the latest assessment schedule. I know which family is bringing home a baby, who is dealing with divorce and whether someone is grieving a loss. All these events affect a child's ability to focus, learn and grow at school, so I need to keep on top of all of them. Then, once engaged, I track their progress, monitor their needs, and supply additional support or extension. Each project is a full-time job (as I'm sure their parents would agree) but they are the best and I love to see how their individual sparks fly.



Where are the balanced arguments linking NAPLAN with COVID interruptions? Current Year 4 and Year 6 students were in Kindergarten and Year 2, respectively. Online learning was the biggest change to happen to group education in the 3000 years it has existed. And it happened over night! Teachers did that. We reworked lessons to be delivered through digital platforms so students could keep learning. OF COURSE it isn't the same as being in the classroom. That's why we have them back IN the classroom.

With all these different hats to wear, the explicit teaching part of our job is shrinking more and more every year under the pressure we face from outside forces. It is no wonder that up to 50 per cent of teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their career. It is such a shame, because the best part of my job is your kids and every teacher I know wishes they had more time to just be with their class.

Feature Image: Getty.

This article was originally published in August 2023 and has since been updated.

Calling all Homeowners! Complete this short survey now and go in the running to win one of four $50 gift vouchers!