I just typed "Teacher Stock Photos" into my Google image search.
1) Let's talk about white collared shirts.
Teachers of middle or elementary school or ANY project-based class: How long has a white collared shirt ever survived in your wardrobe? I've made it a year max and usually it's a mess by the end. At one point I wised up and never bought them again. Early in my career I actually thought that teachers wore button-downs and blazers. I'd wear these to interviews. Fast forward to my classroom and I've got paint on my pants, chalk on my face, maybe a little bit of glue in my hair. As an administrator I'd often have to figure out how to maintain a professional look after a carpool rainstorm. Learning is messy. Your clothes should match.
2) What's with the chalkboards?
I haven't seen a legitimate chalkboard in years. If I have, there's a smartboard or screen covering it up. Or at least an Elmo. I wish some of these photos would be more representative of the profession in the 21st century! Also all the stock photo teachers are Algebra and Calculus teachers.
3) They're pointing at things.
Just pointing all over the place- sometimes at nothing. Occasionally with a pointer or piece of chalk.
4) Some of them look angry, stressed, or just ridiculous.
Several of them were holding stacks of books. Not 3 books. 10 books.
There were some images where the teacher just had a book on their head ?!?!?!?!?!?!
Some where they are yelling at children, into the air, or just burying their heads in defeat. This is not good. Although I know there are days like this it is not all we are as educators.
5) Many of them have their backs to the children while they just sit calmly in the background.
We all know what happens when you turn your back on a group of 20 unoccupied children for 10 seconds.
Let's try not to perpetuate these crazy images of teachers. I'd like to see stock photos where the teacher blends in among the students. Some of my favorite moments are walking in the class and not being able to see the teacher because they are so engaged with learners. Teachers should be interacting with students rather than standing in front of them holding a book and pointing at a chalkboard. Can we at least upgrade to a whiteboard?! The classroom would be colorful and enriching--not an empty room with a chalkboard full of equations. I'd like to see the teacher wearing normal comfortable clothes that reflect their personality and not a teaching robot. And I'd love to see learning that matches the way we know kids learn best: through technology, building, constructing, interacting, and creating. Let's keep moving the profession forward- and maybe the photos will follow.
Education careers are tough. These entries are dedicated to making the lives of educators easier and empowering those who have chosen this path to reach their potential in work and life.