8 Things that Teachers & College Students Have in Common

Truth be told, teachers and college students are not all that different. Having preservice teachers observing me in my classroom has inspired me to create this list of eight things that all teachers and college students have in common - some are funny, and some hint at unfortunate societal trends. Either way, we're doing what we love! Add your thoughts in comments.

All teachers have graduated with a degree (or two... or three...), but I'm noticing that many of us have held on to certain characteristics from our college days.

I currently have my second-ever preservice teacher as a "student observer" from a local college. (She's awesome.) And when she's in my classroom, I sometimes feel the urge to warn her of what this teaching lifestyle is REALLY like... not to scare her away, but to make sure she knows what she's getting into. 

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that her life already does have SOME things in common with mine!

About this List
While most of these are pretty funny, these commonalities also speak to larger, somewhat dark societal problems.
  • At least in America, college is an expensive and hyper-competitive environment in which students are critically judged by older generations as not being ______ "enough". Generational stereotypes abound, and the job market is tough. 
  • Likewise, in many countries, teachers are not just underpaid but under-respected, both from students who aren't afraid to push boundaries and stakeholders who have a vision for how education "should" look. Our judgment, behavior, and performance are also harshly judged by others, not unlike the way that college students get stereotyped by outsiders. 

So let's try to celebrate the shared traits that connote hard-working people who endure under high pressure, big workloads, and not a lot of appreciation

Think about it...

1. We hate when authority figures waste our time...
Whether it's a professor who doesn't motivate students to go to class or the administrator who runs a faculty meeting poorly, both teachers and college students are usually overloaded enough that we are particularly sensitive about it when a gathering feels pointless or inefficient.

2. ... but food always makes things better.
Free pizza? I'm there. Teacher appreciation snacks in the teacher's lounge? Score! Some things never change, and if I don't have to bring or buy something delicious, the number of seconds I'll listen will be a little longer.

3. The struggle between cuteness and sleep is real.
Some people have no problem achieving a well-accessorized and trendy look at all times... and some of us just want to put on yoga pants and a sweatshirt as we barely get to class on time.

Both camps of people should be okay with who they are. Our work is more important than our wardrobe, anyway!

4. We have immense workloads.
In college, it's homework, jobs, internships, volunteering, qualifying for the "next step", and pretending to also be healthy and social. For teachers, it's lesson prep, the work day, the grading, the inbox, the meetings, and pretending to be healthy and social.

5. We are troubled by finances.
Both groups have that unique combination of needing money for supplies AND needing money to pay the bills, often at the expense (ha) of having any money left for fun or joy. And even when there's national chatter about loan forgiveness or other kinds of reform, we're not holding our breaths.

6. We hate exam season.
Listen, teachers don't like creating, proctoring, or grading exams any more than students like preparing for and taking them. We all agree that exams are only one way to show if a student understands the material, but we have to go through the motions anyway. Sorry. Let's just agree to not hate each other during this time, okay?

7. We love a good discount. 
Take your Teacher or Student ID to every store that you can, friends! The broke student/broke teacher archetype exists for a reason. Discounts may be the one side perk of our treading-water financial lifestyle, so use it!

8. We're passionate about our fields. 
By this point in our lives, both college students and teachers have narrowed down what we want to do in life, who we want to help, and what our missions are. We get past the prerequisite malarkey and then FINALLY find ourselves in like-minded communities where we are constantly learning and growing. We endure the tough stuff because we care about our jobs and the people we affect.

Do you have a comment about what you read here, or want to add another similarity? Share in the comments! :)

1 comment

  1. Haha! I love this idea! These are great comparisons.


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