I AM NOT CUTE!!!!!!!!

This is something I want to scream at people on a regular basis!  Let me explain the scenario.  This usually happens to me on weekends or anytime I meet someone brand new. It’s a conversation I have had many times!

Person B: “What do you do?”

Me: “I’m a teacher.”

Person B: “What do you teach?”

Me: “I teach 2nd grade.”

Person B: “Aww, that’s so cute!”  

I listen to this with a smile on my face and acknowledge the compliment they think they are giving me.  I try not to let them know how insulting it is.  Yes, I understand how non-educators think there is a certain level of “cuteness” to working with small kids.  I get that!  I know they watch television and I know they have seen numerous education shows for children.  However, I do not go to work dressed as a big purple dinosaur. I do not have a talking blue dog nor do I have a magic backpack or school bus.  I do not live in an amazing playhouse.  I do not live on a fun street filled with puppets.  I do not come to WORK everyday in crazy outfits.  I come to work dressed like a professional and I behave like a professional as well!

When I hear someone say, “Aww, that’s cute!”, I feel that they might as well say, “Oh teaching isn’t a real profession!”  You would not tell a doctor, lawyer, or banker, “Oh, your job is adorable!”  You understand that they went to college and got a degree.  You understand that they are experts in their fields and work hard at it.  You also understand that they have a plethora of knowledge about their fields that the average layman is not privy to! My colleagues and I have also went to college and got a degree.  We also took a state test that said we were qualified and knowledgeable enough to be trusted with your children! We are also experts in our fields.  I want to tell you, “Please take me seriously!”

Being a teacher is not easy work!  You have to understand the developmental ages of every one of your students.  You have to understand why certain subjects and standards are not appropriate at a given time or age.  You have to understand how outside factors such as family issues, health concerns, or money can impact a child’s behavior.  You have to know how to manage that behavior as well.  Try telling 25 people with their own free will what to do and see how far you get. 

This deep knowledge of educational needs and the development of students is what makes me and my colleagues experts.  If you want to make decisions on education, who do you think should be involved in those discussions?  I am not writing policies to tell an accountant how to file a tax return.  I have no knowledge of that field. I’ll let the experts make those decisions.  Everytime a new policy comes into place without teacher input is like telling every teacher “Aww, you’re so cute! Now go back and play with your crayons while the adults decide what to do with you!” Why are we certified to teach in our respective states if you do not feel that we are qualified to make decisions regarding our profession and our area of expertise?  If we do not meet your deadlines and follow “your” new goals, will you make us stand in the corner like an unruly 7 year old?  Are we no longer cute if we demand respect? 

 We are not cute!  We are experts and professionals. Please take us seriously.


Donnie Dicus

Donnie Dicus

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Donnie Dicus and I have been teaching in Arizona for 12 years. I came to Arizona from Southern Illinois to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson. I graduated in 2003 and began teaching second grade. I taught second grade in Tucson for 8 years before moving to Phoenix. I now teach third grade. I achieved National Board Certification in 2012 and I received my Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015. I achieved a National Board Certificate in Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. I’ve been teaching mainstream and SEI 3rd grade classrooms in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix since 2013. I taught 2nd grade and was a math interventionist in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District. I’ve been a technology coach and have helped teachers apply technology to improve instruction. I facilitate coaching cohorts for teachers going through the National Board process and organize peer groups at my site to pair new teachers with experienced teachers. In 2010 I was nominated as a Rodel Semi-Finalist for Exemplary teaching in 2010 and featured as a Teacher Leader in February 2016 by the Arizona K12 Center.
I have class pictures of every single student I have taught behind my desk on my wall. After 12 years, that is approximately 350 students. My students know that this is my Wall of Accomplishments. I am so proud of the difference I made in their lives. I became a teacher to make a difference and I strive to do so every day.

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