5 Common Myths About Teaching – From A Second Grade Teacher

Lately it feels like I have heard many opinions about teachers with schools being closed due to COVID-19 and the plans for reopening in September recently coming out. Opinions on what it takes to become a teacher, how hard/easy our job is, how much money we make. Opinions from politicians, parents, random people – many coming from those who are not actual teachers. So I thought I would put together a list to clear up five common misconceptions about teaching that I regularly hear and read about.

Myth #1: Teachers don’t make any money.

Money clipart stack, Money stack

I hear this phrase or some form of it all the time, “Why would you ever want to become a teacher? Teachers don’t make any money.” First, there are endless reasons why I became a teacher. Check out my blog on 10 Reasons Why I Love Being A Teacher if you’re curious about this. Second, this myth depends on so many factors. Where do you live? What district do you teach in? How many credits to you have? Do you have your Master’s Degree? Do you have your PhD? How many years have you been teaching? Do you have your National Boards? All these factor in with how much money a teacher makes. I’m very fortunate to work in a district where teachers are highly valued compared to other districts in the country and our pay reflects that. Starting salary for a first year teacher with a bachelors degree in Washington State (in my school district) is about $58,000 a year. After teaching for 14 years the salary jumps to about $124,000 (this does not include all stipends). I know $124,000 isn’t much compared to an Amazon or tech employee, but I feel many can live happily and comfortably off this salary.

Regardless though, the teachers I know don’t teach for the money. So please stop asking teachers, “Why would you ever want to become one since you don’t make any money?” Instead, try asking teachers what they love about their job or what drew them to the profession.

Myth #2: Teachers constantly work every weekend and at home each night.

Tired teacher clipart » Clipart Station

Sure, this was true for me with my first year teaching. I spent hours working at home after school. Many times I would go to my classroom on the weekend, creating resources and making sure I was prepared for the following week. Designing, laminating, cutting. I was fresh out of college, learning what I needed for my students and was learning what I needed from myself. Now, eight years later I don’t need to go to my school after hours. I try to leave at 4 pm each day (our designed time) and I don’t take home unnecessary work. Over the years I’ve learned how to successfully manage my time throughout the day so that I can feel accomplished while I’m at school. It’s all about time management. This being said, who knows what this year will bring since teaching and learning will take on a whole new environment with at-home learning. Bring on the challenge!

Myth #3: Once teachers have their degree, they don’t need to learn anything new.

Getting a teaching degree is the first step to becoming a teacher but it is certainly not the last. In Washington State, once you earn your degree and pass your tests, you are awarded with a residency certificate that is valid for 3 years. During that time, the goal is to earn a continuing contract where you then renew your residency certificate every 5 years. In order to renew your certificate, teachers must have at least 100 clock hours and complete the STEM renewal requirements. Clock hours are earned through professional development trainings, seminars, online workshops, etc. Clock hours also help teachers earn credits and move up on the pay scale. This means that teachers are consistently taking classes, participating in book studies, attending trainings, etc., to further develop their knowledge and teaching practices. Many teachers are in this profession because they enjoy learning and enjoy growing. And think about it – in March teachers were required to drop everything they knew and were comfortable with and learn how to teach kids remotely in a matter of days. If this isn’t resilience I don’t know what is.

Myth #4: Teaching is easy because teachers just teach the same thing each year.

To me, one of the most amazing things about being a teacher is that each year is so different. Different kids. Different families. Different learning styles. Different behaviors. Different strengths. Different struggles. No two years are ever alike. One year I had a student who came into 2nd grade not knowing his letters and sounds. The following year I had a student reading at a 5th grade reading level. Another year I had a student who didn’t speak English and a different year I had a student who didn’t speak at all (selective mutism). These are only a few of the many examples of how each year is so very different (just think about Spring 2019 to Spring 2020 – WOW!). Teachers are constantly adjusting their practice and their instruction to meet the direct needs of their students for that particular year. This skill is far from easy.

Myth #5: Anyone can become a teacher.

Double heart light purple heart clipart free images - WikiClipArt

This one really causes me to pause. Anyone can become a teacher? Anyone? I hear people say this all the time. Or there’s that other saying, ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ In my experience, those who say this have never actually been in a classroom before and have no idea what it is like. To me, it’s not just about the what you are teaching. Sure, many people could teach a child how to add numbers – But what if that child has a learning disability? Or has a hard home life and can’t concentrate at school? What do you do if the child recently lost a family member and is acting out in the classroom? It’s not just about the what you are teaching but more importantly it’s about the how. How you interact with your students. How you model the behaviors that you want the kids to exhibit. How you teach young 7 and 8 years old to collaborate. To communicate. To have empathy. To show generosity. To demonstrate teamwork. To show kindness to one another. Anyone can spew out facts, but few can be called a teacher.

Teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle – a calling. And those of us who do it and do it well can’t imagine doing anything else!

10 Reasons Why I Love Being A Teacher

On Friday I finished my last Zoom meeting with my second graders for the 2019-2020 school year. So many smiles, lots of laughs, a couple of tears and so much love. I can’t believe the school year has already ended. Hopefully this is the first and last year it will end online with a Zoom meeting (crossing my fingers we can teach in person in the fall). As I reflect back on the year, I think about just how much I love this job. Below are 10 reasons why.


Some people enjoy a 9-5 routine job in an office (and that’s great!). For me though this is not the case. I love that as a teacher, each day is new and fresh from the previous one as no two days are ever alike. Some days are challenging, some are spectacular and some might fall somewhere in between. It’s very difficult to have a boring day at work when you are a teacher (the time often flies by). You always leave with at least one exciting, funny, or interesting story to share. This is true even with virtual learning through Zoom meetings!


Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? I know I have. Typically when I have these mornings I feel cranky up until I am greeting by my smiling kiddos. “Mrs. Kanuch! Mrs. Kanuch! Did you know I got a new pet?” “Guess what Mrs. Kanuch, I won my soccer game last night!” “Hi Mrs. Kanuch! How are you? How is Edgar?” “Mrs. Kanuch, can we play Kahoot today?!” It’s hard to have a bad morning when each day you are greeted with so much excitement and enthusiasm (especially on a Monday when the kids haven’t seen you for two days). I love this about my job. It’s seriously the best!


Being a teacher is hard work. It’s important to have people who you can talk to throughout the day and vent to when things become challenging at school. People who know what it’s like when you are dealing with a difficult parent or behavior problem. Who you can lean on and who can give you advice when you need it most. You also need people to share successes, dress up and have fun with! To exchange ideas and grow with. My most memorable friends are those who I’ve learned from, laughed with, and who have made each school day a bit brighter (plus we always have the best times together outside of the classroom). Love all the teachers in my life!


I remember one year reading a story called Bugs in my Hair by David Shannon. It’s all about lice. One of my students stood up out of no where and said, “Yeah uh I had lice. Yes me, I had lice. This is why, you see…my head is shaved (as he’s rubbing his head). My hair is gone because of those lice.” The way he said this was so matter of fact and so serious (honestly it was hard for me to keep a straight face). Another student came up to me randomly, “Um, do you know why I was in the bathroom so long? (gets real close and whispers in my ear) I poooed” and then she did a smirk face 😏. Lipstick on your teeth? Hair out of place? 7-year-olds got your back. One year I was thinking about writing a book on ‘Things Second Graders Say‘ because there is honestly no filter. Kids are hilarious without even trying! And when they tell you you are beautiful + nice + kind, you know they really mean it.


Teacher walks down the hall. Student whispers to a friend, “Look! That’s Mrs……, she’s so and so’s teacher! I know her!!” All the kids know who you are. Anytime you are passing by and a student sees you, they will say hi. Half the time you aren’t even sure who the child is but of course you say hi back. A teacher drops something on the ground? 10+ kids will immediately run over to pick it up. End of the year yearbook signing? There is always a huge line of kids waiting for you to sign your name. Yep, just your name. A student sees you walking toward a door? They will wait an extra 30 seconds before you get there, just to make sure they can hold it open for you.


  • Harvest Party? ✔️
  • Christmas? Ramadan? Diwali? ✔️✔️✔️
  • Valentine’s Day AKA best day ever in 2nd grade? ✔️

Celebrating holidays as an adult is great. But celebrating them with a room full of kids? SO MUCH FUN! The best part is learning about the different cultures and traditions individual students celebrate each year. Not only do we celebrate holidays in second grade but we celebrate accomplishments throughout the day. Published a narrative story? That calls for a writing celebration! Finished our geometry unit? Let’s celebrate by building 3D shapes out of toothpicks and marshmallows! Met our reading goals? Free choice partner reading time! As a teacher, it’s easy to find something each day to celebrate – big or small – since kids are constantly growing. It’s amazing to be able to watch your students grow and achieve their goals, and to be proud that you were part of the process that helped them get there.


This is what it is all about. Maybe you have been working for months with a student to help him with his blends and digraphs. Or a child has been struggling with subtracting 3-digit numbers. They may begin to feel discouraged and say things like, I don’t get it. This is too hard. I’ll never be able to do this. You try teaching them the skills in different ways to meet their direct needs. You encourage them. You support them. You never give up on them. Then suddenly….they get it! Aha, I did it! I’m so proud of myself! I can do this! Here, let me show you how I can do this! That feeling of helping your students find success is absolutely amazing.


From setting up your classroom before school starts, making anchor charts, creating class systems, displaying student work in the hallway, making unique bulletin boards, designing engaging lessons, throwing parties/celebrations, teaching outside the box, etc. – being creative occurs in all aspects of teaching. I love the freedom we are given as teachers to design and create our own work environment.


It’s so rewarding to be able to work in an environment where you are surround with love from 20+ little humans. They tell you all the time by saying things like, I love you! You’re the best! Best teacher ever! I wish you could come to my birthday party! I want to stay in your class forever! My very first year teaching I created a ‘Love Book’ and since then I have filled it with art + pictures + letters that my students have given me throughout the years. Sometimes during a busy or stressful day, I can open up that book and it instantly puts a smile on my face.


Do you remember your second grade teacher? What about your third? Fourth? Or any teacher who had a positive impact on your life? I know I do. I can’t tell you all the concepts I learned in second grade or what specific skills were taught, but I do remember lots of little things. Like how I misspelled the word ‘Halloween’ on the spelling test and how I was always so nervous to be called on during reading groups. Most importantly though, I remember the way I felt being in that classroom: safe, happy and loved.

Teachers impact the lives of students in more ways than they may ever know. A student might hear the words, I am proud of you. I believe in you. I care about you. for the first time ever from their teacher. Teachers teach beyond the textbooks and curriculum. They teach students how to collaborate, how to problem solve, how to express their thoughts and their ideas. They teach students how to learn from their mistakes, to be kind to each other, to have empathy, to stand up for what is right. These skills are so important, especially with the state of the word we are in right now. Having a positive impact on students’ lives every single day is one of the greatest gifts of being a teacher. 💞

At Home Learning – Thoughts From a 2nd Grade Teacher

If you are a parent trying to teach your child at home while still taking care of your house/pets/husband/wife/chores/meals/career/etc ..this learning at home thing is probably both new and challenging. Or if you are a teacher learning about new technology/answering emails all day/staying up late worrying about your students-are they safe? are they happy?/doing everything you can to stay connected to them..this learning at home thing is probably new and challenging for you as well. Just know, we got this!

Monday Morning Letter to Our Parents

I feel fortunate to work in a school district that is doing what they can to make things as smooth as possible for both teachers and families at home. Last week, our superintendent helped deliver over 1,000 Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to students so they would have access to technology at home. Breakfast and lunch became available each day for families through a rolling pickup line. Teachers were provided with online professional development trainings through webinars, Zoom meetings and self-paced online lessons.

And although this is all so amazing (and I’m sure many other districts across the country are doing similar things), it doesn’t even begin to take away from the anxiety, the uneasiness and the stress that I know many parents, teachers and most importantly our students are feeling on a daily basis.

One of my second graders (7 + 8 year olds) sent this to me today in a GoogleDocs for our daily writing activity (I removed the name for privacy):

I feel not good because the corona virus is not stopping and we can’t go walking outside because it is cold and it used to be way hotter. But know it is cold and yesterday me and NAME got to met him in google hangout he said other people were coming but they did not join so it was just me and NAME we did it because my dad told me that NAME is feeling lonely so we did it.”

This just makes me so sad. This is why I am doing whatever I can to make sure ALL my students still feel connected to their teachers and to our classmates. I am also very lucky to have an amazing team of 2nd grade teachers who I work with.

Here are some resources we are using to help connect our students and help our families with At Home Learning:

Zoom This is similar to Skype (anyone remember Skype?) where you can host/join a video chat with multiple people at once. It can be used to record and teach students a lesson (using video and/or sound), to share your computer screen with others, with powerpoint presentations, etc. My second grade team and I have been using Zoom to collaborate and plan weekly resources for our students and provide daily parent support. Parents – your child could use Zoom to share their work with their teacher/classmates. They could also use this to connect to friends and family members living in different household such as grandparents, uncles, etc.

Padlet My team and I created a shared 2nd Grade Padlet where our students can upload photos of themselves while learning at home. We are using this website as a way to see each other and to stay connected. The kids can also comment on their classmates photos. All teachers need to do to incorporate this with their class is create an account (free) and share the link with the students. I absolutely LOVE checking this each day to see what the kids are up to (and they also love when teachers share photos of what they are doing at home).

FlipGrid I just discovered this site and I love it! I plan to post weekly videos where my students can watch and then respond back to me by creating their own videos/messages at home. The kids can also view, comment and respond to each other. It’s free to sign up, and you can make your account private so only the students and families who have the code can view and record. 

GoogleSlides Each week, we create a new GoogleSlides Presentation to send out to families with specific links and resources for each subject that the kids can access from home. Below are two examples from GoogleSlides.

At Home Learning Calendar This is used as a resource for students to check off items that they complete. This also helps parents know what their child can do at home each day. I use this editable Learning Calendar Template from TeachinginRoom6. Below is an example of the calendar I sent out to families on Monday.

Lunch Time Doodle I came across this site featuring famous author, Mo Willems, where every weekday at 1 pm he will be sharing a video to help learners draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing. This could be an excellent “brain break” or lunch time activity or really anytime activity your students/child can do at home! There is also a step by step activity page on the left side of the website families can download and use as a directed drawing.

GoogleClassroom My Second Grade team and I use a shared GoogleClassroom to store all our uploaded documents/worksheets, directions, links and resources. If you are an educator, I highly recommend setting up a GoogleClassroom for your students! Everything is all in one place, kids can turn in assignments and you can give them instant feedback.

Animal PostCards I shared this idea on a previous blog post but wanted to share again. I plan on mailing these animal postcards to each student, surprising them with a little message and telling them how much I miss them. Also, a former colleague of mine had an amazing idea – the kids can do a research project on the animal they get in the mail. Then they can present their animal through Zoom/FlipGrid and share on GoogleClassroom (Thank you Cassandra for this idea!). Parents – you could have your child write postcards to their family members/friends and mail them out!

These are some of the main resources I’ve started to implement with my second graders since my school closure on March 16th. We are all still learning how to navigate this new at home learning lifestyle caused by the coronavirus, but it doesn’t mean we have to do this alone. If you are a teacher looking for online resources or looking for ways to stay connected to your students, please reach out! If you are a parent who needs some support or guidance with at home learning, I am happy to help! Or if you are implementing something at home with your students/with your kids that is working well, please share! I would love to collaborate with you as we navigate this uncharted territory together. Remember, we got this!

Saying Goodbye To My Students for 6 Weeks

On Friday, March 13th I said goodbye to my 23 second graders, sending them home with lots of books, lots of love and encouraging words. Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that all public and private K-12 schools in Washington state would close for the next six weeks. This means I won’t see their smiling faces until April 27th (as long as it is safe to come back).

Trader Joes Frozen Food Aisle 03/13/20.

We are living in crazy times right now due to the Coronavirus that’s rapidly spreading in the Seattle area. It truly makes me sad thinking about how much of an impact this virus is having on our community, our kids and our families.

On our last day in the classroom, I tried to make sure the kids had as much fun as possible. We celebrated all the birthdays we would miss during the closure by writing messages and making birthday books (families also brought in birthday treats during lunch). We played many math games. We did a St. Patrick’s Day craft, Who is Worth More Than Gold? We finished reading Charlotte’s Web and watched the movie (one of my favorite books to read aloud to 7 and 8 year old, a couple of kids had tears in their eyes at the end of the film). Then we ended the day with Fun Friday and choice time.

My student wrote this note during Fun Friday.

It was such a bitter sweet day. I completely understand and agree with the decision that was made to close the schools but it doesn’t make it easy knowing I won’t be able to see the kids each day.

This is all uncharted territory and we are learning as we go. My school district is providing free meals (breakfast + lunch) to families who have kids 1-18 years old which I think is amazing. Teachers are now going to provide online access to learning through weekly schedules, emails and learning apps. My teammate came across this editable schedule from TeachinginRoom6 which I plan on tweaking a bit and using.

Below is a list of websites I use with my students in the classroom and ones I plan to share with my families.

Math: iReady, Prodigy, XtraMath

Reading: A.R., NG Connect, Scholastic News, Storyline Online, TumbleBooks

Science: Pebble Go, Mystery Doug, Mystery Science

Writing: GoogleDocs, GoogleSlides

Other: GoNoodle, Typing Club

Scholastic is also offering free online lessons during this time.

I purchased these Animal Postcards on Amazon. I plan on surprising each student with a little message, telling them how much I miss them and mailing around 2 weeks into the closure.

My principal explained everything that is happening like this, “We are building the ship as we’re sailing.” I plan on doing my best to keep my parents and families informed each week with ongoing communication. But really the most important thing is to stay safe and to stay healthy. So for now, my classroom will remain empty as we all try to navigate what is to come in these next few days, weeks and months ahead. Stay calm and stay safe!