I really want to be a teacher, but I'm afraid of the environment I'll be teaching in.

Teachers in the US are often required to go to at least one professional conference to stay relevant. Many will often go to one in the state they teach in with their colleagues, and they'll often go in June, shortly after the school year is out. Before school starts, they get together with colleagues to choose students for the year. They have to consider parent requests and discuss what students need to be separated or what students might need to be together for scheduling purposes. Then, they start out the school year 1-2 weeks before their students to get the classrooms ready and meet with their teaching groups to work out a teaching plan.

As for teaching the same thing every single year, that is not true of elementary school teachers. Students aren't signing up to learn about American History and walking into the classroom with that goal in mind. Instead, at the beginning of the year, teachers need to assess where all of the kids are at--academically--in each subject. Can they write a sentence? Can they add three digit numbers? Do they know about animals versus plants and understand what habitats are? They then have to adjust all of their lesson plans to fit the needs of the classroom. It certainly won't be the same every year, and creating lesson plans takes a lot of time.

Now, I'm sure it's easy for you to say that it's OK for them to have all of the extra work during the school year because they have summers "off," but you have to remember that teachers aren't paid for that time off. Summers are unpaid time for teachers. Imagine if your work told you they were going to close in December and not pay you for it, but they expect you to use that time to catch up on all of your work. Wouldn't you feel that that's kind of shitty? I don't think it's fair to demand that teachers aren't compensated for their jobs simply because they have an unpaid 8 week break each year.

/r/teaching Thread