12 things you should never, ever say to teachers.

Let me say that I am NOT a teacher — I found this on a blog (listed below) that is all about and by teachers. And it's the kind of thing I hope gets legs so people stop asking these kinds of silly questions.

Oh, and next time your state wants to cut teacher pay and benefits, speak up!


1. “We've all been to elementary school, so aren't we all kind of experts on it?"

Umm, no. You've been sick before — does that make you a doctor

2. “When I retire, I still want to do something, so I think I might take up teaching."

Teaching is not a hobby, like gardening or sailing. Teaching will likely make your old job feel like a vacation.

3. “Have you ever thought about making your class more fun?"

No, I do my best to make it as boring as I can.

4. “If you really cared about kids, you wouldn't worry about the salary."

I love my students. I love teaching. I also love being able to support my family and feed my kids.

5. “If you managed your time at school, I bet you wouldn't need to plan lessons and grade on the weekends."

OK, I'm a little busy at school. I teach and work with students almost every moment of the day. Spending 20 hours a week outside of school on prep and grading is normal for me.

6. “You'll never be a truly great teacher until you have your own kids."

Actually, yes I will. The relationship between teacher and student is quite different from that of parent and child.

7. “Why do you make them read so much and write so many essays? Why do you give such hard grades?"

Because it's my job. Because my students are here to learn. Because they'll need these skills to survive in the world. How many reasons do you need

8. “I pay taxes in this district, so technically you work for me."

Sorry, we're not your minions. That's not how it works. Taxes support public goods and services — such as the fire department, police, parks, and yes, public schools — for the community as a whole. And by the way, teachers pay taxes too

9. “Ohh, you teach kindergarten. That must be fun — playing and singing all day."

Yes, my life is just like Disney movie. I sing and the children and the little animals of the forest come running. Actually, in kindergarten, we teach our students the foundational literacy and math skills — as well as the social and emotional skills — that set them up for success in every grade to follow

10. “Why are you so strict? They're just kids."

We make plenty of time for laughter and fun in my classroom. But rules and routine are not only necessary, they help children to feel safe, secure, and valued in the classroom community.

11. “How hard can it be? You have all summer off."

A longer summer break is one of the benefits of choosing teaching as a career. But keep in mind, it's not all summer. I spend weeks every July and August on professional development and curriculum planning. And during the school year, I work 12 hours a day all week long and at least one day every weekend. Add it up and our vacation days are about the same.

12. “Teaching is nice, but don't you want to be more successful and make more money?"

I teach because I want to make a difference. I teach because what I do every day matters for kids.

That's what success looks like.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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