Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dogs and Cats: Elementary and Middle school teachers

(note: the analogy of dogs and cats comes from Michael Grinder, who presents wonderful seminars to both teachers and business leaders on how to communicate with others.

Elementary teachers and middle school teachers are as different as night and day, I've noticed.  Me, I teach middle school but I taught first and second graders for a year and let me tell you, the little ones are cute but I can't teach them.  The drool and snot and "help me in the bathroom" gave me the heebie jeebies.  Elementary teachers tell me all the time that they couldn't teach middle school because puberty turns kids into raging, disrespectful monsters.  Middle school teachers tend to be saltier too.  I was at a conference and the presenter asked the inevitable question "Why did you get into teaching".  I hate that question, mostly because I'm not entirely sure why I started teaching, I just did.  As they went around the room, the elementary teachers gave answers like "I love children" or "I couldn't have a child of my own so now I have 20".  When they asked me why I started teaching, I responded, "I became a teacher because I'm good at working with animals".  There was a gasp from the elementary crowd, but the middle school teachers in the room broke into raucous laughter.  See?  Like cats and dogs.  

Elementary teachers are total dogs (this doesn't mean that they're worse than middle school teachers, just different.  Dogs are loyal and friendly.  They're helpful, they love without prejudice, and they're just so darned sweet.  Middle school teachers, on the other hand, are total cats.  We're aloof and proud.  Sure, we have a sweet side too, usually when we want something.  Treat us poorly, and we're just as likely to scratch.  We can be loyal too, and good natured and friendly.  But we demand the same in return (in case you're curious, high school teachers are like the moon: distant and remote.  You see them all the time, but you don't know what they're really like and you're not really sure what they do.)

So, presented below is a comparison chart of elementary teachers and middle school teachers.  With a little humor thrown in for good measure.

Elementary school teachers:
- wear clothing that has "ABC 123" and has cute pictures of children and chalkboards on it"
- talk in a sing-song voice
- are so darned sweet to everyone it makes your teeth ache.
- like stickers
- decorate their houses with stuff that remind them of school
- love all their children, no matter who they are
- put comments on report cards like "Jimmy is a wonderful boy who loves to paint and draw"
- refer to their children as "adorable" or "cute" or "sweetie"
- miss their school during the summer
- will happily leave older students to middle school teachers
- buy books with bright pictures and cute stories so their children will like them
- don't mind wiping noses or butts
- will hold hands and give hugs all day
- give complements all the time because a student likes it

Middle school teachers:
- look forward to casual Friday with a passion because we can wear jeans and a T-shirt.
- talk in a gruff "Piss me off and you'll regret it" kind of voice.
- are so darned unpredictable to keep their students on their toes
- don't give a shit about stickers
- decorate their houses with things that help them forget about school
- say they love all their students but secretly hate some of them
- wish they could put comments like this on their report cards.
- refer to some of their kids as "fucko" or "The Jellyfish" or "passive aggressive"
- miss their summer during school.
- will happily leave younger kids to elementary teachers
- buy gross books about nose picking and freaky disfigurements so their kids will like them
- would rather juggle Ebola vials than have anything to do with your orifices
- don't give hugs, but will give you a high-five or a handshake
- tease their kids because their kids like it.

1 comment:

Phen said...

I lol'd. Middle school is so far away... but your comparisons are very dead on. Except when you get a very, very old middle school instructor. I had one for science and he was the sweetest old guy I've ever met. I don't think he ever raised his voice in anything more than a speaking voice.