The requirements for becoming a teacher vary by country, by state, by school; and they are always changing.
Some countries have illegal teachers.
Some countries have underqualified teachers.
Some countries give ‘emergency teacher’s licenses.’
Some places have IB teachers, International School teachers.
Most places have unemployed teachers.
Some places pay teachers differently based on nationality or skin color.
Some places women cannot be teachers or students.
Really, who is a teacher?
When you get up in front of a class and take the title, you are a teacher.
It doesn’t matter whether you have an education degree.
It doesn’t matter whether your license has lapsed, or whether you’re teaching your own subject area. (Which can be frustrating for someone that has studied to teach that subject to witness.)
It doesn’t matter whether you are a backpacker that ran out of money or a career teacher.
You are a teacher when you have students.
You are a teacher when you show someone how to do a simple task.
You are a teacher when you have the means to communicate information.
Sometimes you are a teacher when all you can do is jump up and down and play charades in the hopes of getting through.
You are a teacher when your students don’t get it.
You are a teacher when your students do, finally get it.
You are a teacher when you’ve done little more than give an assignment that the students rose to complete with very little guidance.
You are a teacher when class is cancelled.
You are a teacher when your students spot you at the mall.
You are a teacher when your students see you at the gym.
You are a teacher when your students see you buying groceries.
You are still a teacher long after your last class has finished.
When you are sitting at your desk, staring at a stack of unmarked papers but not correcting them, and feeling you’re not being a good teacher, that you’re teaching the wrong things, that you’re out of your element, you’re still a teacher.
We want so badly to legislate our education woes away.
We shame teachers, we tear them down.
Teacher’s aren’t perfect.
But just like students coming into their own, teachers need support and guidance to grow.
I hope we can see through this vitriol, which is not just American, and move forward.