Although at the beginning of the year, when you’re meeting all your new chickadees who will be with you for the next 9+ months, this isn’t such a bad analogy.

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Teaching is like a complicated dance performed simultaneously with 20 partners.  Two steps forward, one step back…except for Sienna (who stayed two steps forward), Jack (who only took 1/2 step back), Ava (who fell back two full steps), and Jayden (who is two steps above grade level).  Include the fact that you have a student with individual modifications and a test on ballroom dancing at the end of the year and now you’re cooking with gas!

Teaching is like conducting a 100 piece orchestra, often armed only with a straw and an intense desire to reach all of your musicians.

Teaching is like potty training a toddler.  It requires the patience of Job.  You will say certain things an ungodly number of times in a week: you need a pencil, take out your assignment, time to line up, number your paper, write down your homework, get your lunch box, do what you’re supposed to do during this time.  It doesn’t matter if it’s September or April, there will be some kids who are right on top of it and some who will require five prompts before getting on board.

Teaching is like being head gardener for twenty young seedlings.  You commit to providing sunshine (regardless of the issues in your own life) and water (regardless of the resources supplied to you), knowing that their growth and development depend on you.

Teaching is like being a compass.  You can point them in the right direction and provide guidance if they get lost, but if the students don’t have the basic fundamentals (adequate sleep and nourishment plus a love of learning at home) to build on then you’re simply a watch with a spinning hand.

Teaching is like photography.  There are a bunch of factors that can affect the outcome of your photograph — the type of lighting thrown on a subject, whether you add a flash, how long you let the light linger, the amount of time you spend setting up the scene, choosing when to use a different lens or change focus.  A single subject can result in a ton of different snapshots.

Teaching is like being an air traffic controller.  You’re moving at warp speed, making decisions in a split second, with no down time.  And dropping the ball can have serious repercussions.

Teaching is like sculpting art.  You cannot create from thin air; the basic materials arrive in your room at the beginning of the year, and it’s up to you to uncover the talents within each student.

And, sadly:

Teaching is like facing a scary diagnosis.  You’ll be scanned, x-rayed, and scrutinized on your class performance to no end.  And then the powers-that-be will pronounce whether you live to teach another year.