How hard is it to be a teacher? Malcolm Gladwell has a nice piece about how hard it is to judge the difficulty of someone else’s job.

I think that misunderstanding over degree of difficulty issues is one of the major reasons for conflict between insiders and outsiders. We bridle at the school teacher who asks for a raise, because we don’t realize–and we can never realize unless we’ve been a teacher ourselves–how hard being a school teacher is.

I thought of this when I was recently pointed to a new blog by a group of students described by their teacher as a tough bunch of kids.” I’m sure this is an understatement. But I don’t think the difficulty of teaching these students lies where most people think it does. Read their blog (I commend their excellent choice in layout!), and you will see what I mean. For instance, this post on Science:

I do not like science at all. And i,ve got three reasons why. One reason is because it is so confusing. likewhe gives the homework out. I dont know what he is talking about beause. They would be so many things that he is talking about. An the other reason iswhen he gives the i want know what to do because. It will be so many things that you would have to look for an you would have to do so much research. And the last reason is the things that he teaches in class i dont know wat in the world that hebe talking about. Likewe was talking about an atom an what i have to study about it is so hard because. The atom has so many things in it. And you will get mixed up with all the parts of an atom. Beceause you will not know how to put them in oder. An if you get this and you are really feeling wat i am saying to you then mail me back M-JEZZY out. I hate science so bad i wish i did not have it at all.

I left a comment suggesting he take a look at this web site. But here is the thing — you see all those movies about inspirational teachers who work really hard and change the lives of their kids, then you see one, like the teacher who set up this blog for his students, and you realize that as hard as he works for those students, he can’t also teach them science and every other subject that they need to know. You couldn’t pay me enough to do his job. Its too damn hard. [Link to Gladwell’s post via

…My heart’s in Accra.]

{, }