Teachers Are Sharing the Hilarious (and Heartbreaking) Misconceptions They Had About Teaching

These speak volumes about how teachers are treated in 2023.

Paired image of two teachers and their misconceptions about teaching

Every aspiring teacher has preconceived notions about what it will be like to run their own classroom.

“I won’t need classroom management skills. I know that if I’m nice to them, students will love me back.”

“When my students see how I’ve made World Geography fun, they’ll be eating out of the palm of my hand.”

“I am going to channel the vibe of my favorite fictional teacher effortlessly.”

Reality, however, is often a different story. We asked our teacher audience what their biggest misconception about teaching was, and their answers left us feeling all the emotions.

Teachers Share Their Biggest Misconceptions About Teaching


Some of them were funny in a painfully relatable way.

“I didn’t realize the students wouldn’t stay seated like my dolls and stuffed animals did when I played school!”

—Cindy C.

“That I would remember every student’s name and face after they moved on and grew up.”

—Stephanie T.

“That teachers were serious all the time—they are the biggest partiers I’ve ever met.”

—Er M.

“Grading essays will be fun!”

—Julia L.

“I thought I would get dressed beautifully, put on makeup, and have nail polish all the time, every day. I thought I would look like a human being rather than like a haunted house in a human body.”

—Julide B.

“Chile, I’m learning something new every day. #year18”

—Allison C.

“I’ll conquer my classroom with kindness alone.”

—Josie P.

“That it would be easy.”

—Karen S.

“That all the Baby Boomers were going to retire by 2004!”

—Kimberly L.

“I would only have one behavior kid in my class. I swear every book I read in college had only one kid with needs in a classroom. Lies!”

—Tara B.

“I don’t remember that far back!”

—Susannah C.

“Everyone practices their musical instruments, right? My friends and I all did, so why wouldn’t everyone else?”

—Michael Thomas

“I can handle authority, so admin won’t be a problem for me.”

—Monica N.

“That teachers work bankers’ hours. LOL!”

—Stacy S.

“That children would stop chatting when you asked them to!”

—Charlie T.

Others were heartbreaking and shed light on a deeply broken, mismanaged system.

“I never thought I’d have to put my life on the line to protect the students in my class.”

—Lynn R.

“That the purpose of school was learning. Now it’s just data generation.”

—Sharon B.

“Almost all of my teachers in school seemed so happy, caring, and carefree.”

“That was my misconception, that it would be comfortable, carefree, pleasant all the time, everyone would just be happy. I didn’t realize that it was mostly all a front for us kids. They were stressed and frustrated and maybe a little crazy. … They just didn’t let us know that.”

—Aimee B.

“Be a teacher, they said. It will be fun, they said. The kids will LOVE you, they said. Nobody warned me about parents!”

—Sheri W.

“That I’d be able to mostly teach and be creative with my lesson plans.”

—Iris M.

“Parents would support teachers. It never occurred to me I’d be ‘battled.’”

—Kathleen Z.

“That I’d get to teach the subject I was actually trained for.”

—Valarie H.

“That we’d have good benefits.”

“I pay so much out of pocket for my ‘good benefits.’ Way more than people I know with other non-teaching jobs!”

—Jenn S.

“The amount of work outside of my regular school hours.”

“I knew I would do this, but no clue of the extra hours that really entailed. Realistically, it was 2 full-time jobs. I’m now retired and it’s interesting to think about how I could’ve done it differently. I loved my teaching career.”

—Cherrie S.

“I thought I’d be respected by the community.”

—Sonya B.

“That you can please everyone by being a good teacher and doing your job the right way.”

—Charles L.

“That I could afford a house and life.”

—Kristin W.

“That this was a good profession for mothers.”

—Shannon K.

“That I would be safe.”

—Casey C.

What was your biggest misconception about teaching before you got started? Let us know in the comments.

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Teachers let us know their biggest misconceptions about teaching, and it's left us feeling all the feelings.