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Tag Archives: what is it like to be a K-12 teacher vs a college professor

Teacher v. Professor: On Why Anyone Would Be an Educator

A great comparison K-12 vs a University Professor. having taught for 30 years, the last 16 as a high school English and journalism teacher, I too worked long days as early as 6 AM to 10 PM when the high school’s alarms were turned on and we were told we had to leave. We meaning me and the student editors of the high school newspaper.

I taught about 170 students in five classes for 25 hours a week and the other 35 to 75 hours, I was planning lessons and correcting student work, and like Paul Thomas, I believed in having my students write essays and spent endless hours reading them.

I’m a former US Marine and combat vet and I can say with conviction, the Marines and fighting in Vietnam, for all the mental and physical scars that came with combat, wasn’t even close to teaching as the most difficult job I’ve ever had and I worked 45 years of my life with 12 of those years in the private sector.

This I learned the hard way, K-12 teachers are treated worse than garbage by too many of America’s elected leaders and Alt-Right billionaires. When I retired from teaching after 30-years in the classroom, I took a 40-percent pay cut and left without any medical insurance or coverage because that’s how too many in the Democratic and Republic Parties treat teachers in this country.

radical eyes for equity

While cycling with a new acquaintance, I navigated through the usual questions about how long I have been a professor, and then, after I mentioned that I was a high school English teacher for 18 years before moving to higher education, the follow up about which was easier, or which I preferred.

On this ride and during the conversation, I realized I am quickly approaching the tipping point in my career since I am starting my 17th year as a professor, just one year away from having been a professor for as long as I was a high school teacher—the identity I remain strongly associated with about myself professionally.

Being a writer has held both aspects of my being an educator together, but K-12 teaching and being a professor in higher education (especially my role as a teacher educator) are far more distinct than alike.

However, and most disturbing, K-12…

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