A Teacher Highlights Struggles During the Holidays in Harrowing but Hilarious Video

Jamie Lerner - Author

Dec. 22 2023, Published 2:17 p.m. ET

During the early aughts, it was normal to give teachers a little gift such as a Starbucks gift card or a winter hat, during the holidays. And now as an adult, I know why. Teachers have never had it easy. From being overworked and underpaid to do childcare for up to 30 kids at a time while also educating to being judged by an administration with zero teaching experience, teaching might be the hardest job there is.

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But there’s no time of year when teachers are more unappreciated than during the holidays, as made clear by Kyle Cohen (@mr.kylecohen). Kyle often shares videos on TikTok about the struggles and joys of being a teacher to give some insight into the job to people who have never done it. In his holiday video, we feel for him along with every teacher in the U.S.

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Kyle Cohen shares his struggles as a teacher during the holidays.

In his video about being a teacher during the holidays, which has had over 1.5 million views, Kyle riffs on what it means to be a teacher, playing on the format of a proud teacher advertising the job. “We’re teachers!” he says repeatedly throughout the video. But what he follows it with just gets more heartbreaking as he goes along.

“We get Pajama Days as our holiday bonus,” he starts. That’s not ideal. Every day is Pajama Day for me as a remote worker, along with 22 percent of the American workforce.

“We have to pay money to go to our staff holiday party,” he continues. We doubt every school has that same policy but it’s not unheard of. Teachers buy their own classroom supplies and their own party supplies, food, and drinks! Not cool.

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“We get new mugs as holiday gifts every year,” Kyle says next. A mug is nice, but if teachers are really just getting mugs every year … that’s a lot of mugs that they probably don’t need. Perhaps it’s time to buy them a fancy teaspoon to go with their mugs.

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“Our district gives us Jeans Day passes as our annual holiday gift,” he shares. OK, we had to look this one up, but apparently, it’s basically a pass that gives teachers permission to wear jeans. Obviously, some schools have stricter dress codes than others, but this is just demeaning. Or should we say … “dejeaning?” It’s basically the workplace equivalent of a hug coupon.

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“We love when non-teachers say things like, ‘You get two full weeks off for winter break? Wow, I wish I had that much PTO.'” This is a common argument for becoming a teacher, but in reality, teachers often spend their PTO lesson planning, grading, and doing professional development. They don’t get nearly as much PTO as you think.

“We buy our students mechanical pencils as holiday gifts just to see them lying on the floor by the end of the school day,” Kyle adds. We doubt all teachers buy this specific gift for their students, and we hope they learn after one year that chocolates would probably be a better investment.

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“It’s an exhausting time of year,” Kyle explains to his followers. “So we let ourselves have two cups of coffee instead of just one.” Teachers do have to be up at ungodly hours of the morning. If I were a teacher, I’d probably need three cups of coffee daily just to stay awake throughout the day, holidays or not.

A teacher interacting with his students
Source: Getty Images
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“After returning from a break, we start counting down to the next one,” Kyle finishes. This is an unfortunate truth of being a teacher. Working in such an unappreciated job and taking care of other people’s kids for eight hours per day can get pretty exhausting. Every break, teachers get a little peek into the lives of their 9 to 5 friends who don’t have to go to bed by 8 p.m. or do work outside of the office.

The 9 to 5 life doesn’t seem too shabby, but teachers tend to do their jobs because they’re passionate about it. We should all expect passion from our teachers, but their passion should be met equally with appreciation. Instead, it’s met with poor bonuses and end-of-year “rewards” and a lack of holiday cheer.

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