There’s no shortage of opinions when it comes to people weighing in on teachers. From how teachers deal with classroom conflict to the way they handle homework, everyone seems to have an opinion.
Jirah Ligon, a middle school teacher in Gainesville, Florida, is mostly OK with this and knows it comes with the territory. She lets rude or snarky comments roll off her back because she knows she’s in this job for the right reasons. But recently, a parent brought up an issue that Jirah thought was worth responding to. She wants others to know just how much teachers do that is never seen or recognized.
The parent wrote, “I’m just a bit tired of teachers complaining about the kids, and not the things leading up to the bad behavior.”
See Jirah’s video response yourself, and then read on to learn more about why she spoke up.
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You have a lot of great TikTok videos about teaching. Why do you do these videos?
Doing TikTok videos has been such a positive outlet for me. I have always said I don’t want to be one of those teachers just getting on to rant and complain about the hardships. I try to use it as a positive outlet to joke around about the realities of teaching. It’s become sort of therapeutic for me to reenact what we experience on a daily basis.
What do you think when you see so many comments out there criticizing teachers?
I will often see things like “You knew what you signed up for when you started, get over it.” While these comments make me cringe, I don’t let them get to me because these people sitting behind a screen do not know the capacity of what we have to experience daily. It’s either that or I just figured they had a bad school experience themselves, and they’re choosing to take their anger out on the wrong person.
This particular comment was about how teachers are overly critical of students. Do you think this is true?
I do believe that some teachers can be overly critical, putting expectations on students with things that their parents do not enforce. However, I think that most teachers have the student’s best interest at heart and they mean well.
Why did you want to address this comment in a video?
My main reason for speaking out on this was to bring awareness to parents! They are the constant variables here that seem to be slacking in some very extreme areas in the student’s growth, especially in middle school.
What do you wish people would know before overly criticizing teachers?
Before criticizing teachers, I wish people would remember how much hard work we are putting in on a daily basis. We middle school teachers have 100+ students that we are trying to give undivided attention to, trying to motivate, trying to help get to the next level, and even trying to parent (for some that don’t have those solid figures in their lives). They should also remember that we are basically in a partnership with parents to help their student succeed, so once that relationship goes sour, it is very hard to accomplish the end goal.
Teachers have to face a lot of criticism in general. What would you like to say to your fellow teachers to help encourage them?
Try to continually remember your why. Why did I choose this profession? Why am I still showing up every day? What group of students am I specifically called to and how can I stay consistent with that group?
Sometimes teachers have to reset their vision and motivation for continuing in the profession. I encourage others to do so in order to have a healthy work-life balance.
What else do you wish people knew?
I wish people knew that teaching is truly a calling. For many of us, it’s our passion pulling on us. So for the people who leave comments like “F those kids!” or “Just quit!,” it’s not that simple. You can’t just quit on what you have been destined to do.
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Also, check out this article about how jackhammer parents are destroying schools.