Dear Snarky – I Told My Niece She Would Make a Horrible Teacher

Dear Snarky,

My niece just graduated from college with an education degree. The good news is she already has a job with a school district. The bad news is that she told the family that she “hates kids” and the thought of “being stuck with them all day” is giving her “severe anxiety.”

Because I have been teaching for almost 30 years my sister had asked me to talk some sense into my niece. She says her daughter doesn’t really hate kids and she’s blaming the fact that my niece had to do her student teaching during the pandemic as the reason she thinks she doesn’t want to be a teacher.

The problem is that after I talked to my niece for several hours I think she’s very unsuited for teaching. She doesn’t have any of the skills or the heart to make a good teacher. She was very blunt with me that she absolutely doesn’t enjoy being around kids, found student teaching “gross and depressing” and the only good thing she could say about teaching was that she would get the summers off. She even admitted that the only reason she went into education was that she thought it would be “easy.”

After hearing all that I told her that she should NOT be a teacher and that children need and deserve better than someone who doesn’t want to be in the classroom and has hostile feelings towards children. I also told her there is nothing easy about teaching.

Now, my sister is furious with me and says I have ruined her daughter’s life. She even went so far to suggest that I now need to support my niece since I “talked her out of her career.” The way I see her I saved my niece from being miserable and any potential child under her care from having a teacher who didn’t want to be there.

Do you think I went overboard on my honesty with my niece? As a teacher I don’t want to encourage someone to go into the profession if they don’t love being around kids.  

Signed, Proud Educator

Dear Proud,

As a parent let me just say I would have never wanted my kids to have your niece as a teacher with that kind of attitude. Seriously, right now many parents are saying thank you for what you did.

I get it that student teaching during the pandemic wasn’t ideal but it’s not like there’s ever a perfect day if you’re a teacher. It’s a career that’s always full of surprises and no day is ever the same. Good teachers are experts at making the best out of a challenging situation.

In regard to your sister being angry with you for telling it like it is to your niece – just give it time. She’s probably very upset at her daughter for realizing after she got an education degree that she’s not suited for the career she just spent four years in college for. What she’s doing right now is deflecting anger at you that’s really meant for her daughter.

What you can do is encourage your niece to look for jobs where she can use an education degree but stay out of the classroom. For example, working for companies that cater to the education sector from marketing educational learning tools to book fairs.

Someday your niece may mature and want to give teaching another chance but for right now I think you did the right thing by encouraging her to stay out of the classroom.

🙂 Here’s some extra advice from Dear Snarky – check out the latest Snarky Audible audiobooks by clicking the link so you can take a listen.