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Monday, October 3, 2011
Why teaching is like wrestling (the real kind, not WWE)
I was just thinking about teaching and how tiring it is and how we work as teachers and had a thought: Teaching is a lot like wrestling (the real wrestling like in high school and college, not the scripted stuff on TV).
I was on the wrestling team in high school and my freshmen year of college. Wrestling is an individual team sport. This means you are part of a team, you practice and prepare as part of a team, your efforts are combined as a team, but when you get out on the mat, it's just you vs. your opponent.
In teaching, we meet with other teachers and plan and learn together and our efforts are team efforts, but typically once you get into your classroom, it's just you and your students. (no opponent analogy). Rarely do we co-teach or have another teacher with us in our classrooms. We work as an individual in the classroom, but are part of a larger team.
Wrestling matches are 3 periods of 2 minutes each. It's the most tiring 6 minutes I've experienced. I've played baseball, competed in martial arts, and played other sports and wrestling was the most tiring, energy sapping, for the amount of time you are in it.
Teaching is like that. With our schedule, we "teach" 5 classes that each meet for 270 minutes per week which totals out to 1350 minutes in classes per week, or 22.5 hours. We also have a duty period and a prep period of 270 minutes each per week. But, that 22.5 hours of teaching per week is the most tiring I've ever experienced. I worked through college as a line cook and sous chef at two different restaurants, worked 22 years part time as a Paramedic, and was an aerospace engineer before becoming an educator. Nothing tired me out as much as working as a teacher.
I've worked at one restaurant and then off to the second one for a total of 20 hours. I've worked 16+ hours on a busy ambulance. 7 hours at school is at least twice as tiring. It's a physical and mental tire.
But, people continue to tell me that teaching is easy, we only work 7 hours a day, and we get vacations and summer off. They all shut up though when I tell them to come in and try it for just one day.