When someone ponders if someone is giving 100%, what exactly are they thinking about? One hundred percent of what value? That is the question to keep in mind when asking if teachers are giving 100%. If 100% constitutes simply showing up to a job and performing the basic functions, then yes, I would say that most teachers (like other employees) would fulfill these requirements. The implication that is usually attached to the notion of “giving 100%” is someone giving everything their best effort and going right up to their full potential, maybe even giving more than they thought they were capable of. In this regard, there are probably many teachers not giving 100%. However, it is still necessary to ask by what scale 100% is being measured against.
The unfortunate situation that involves most outsiders looking into the education world is that all they see is problems. Yes, the education field is flawed and could use revamping. But there are a lot of positives that go along with those negatives, and many of those get overlooked. Also, many people on the outside have a misconception of what being a teacher truly means. Many people think that teachers get to work around 7:30, get to leave shortly after 2 pm, get several breaks throughout the year and summers off, and all this amounts to easy work. As a result, they see many teachers as not giving 100%.
If people really look at what most teachers are faced with, 100% becomes a lot bigger in scope. Most teachers are required to perform other duties in their schools, such as hall duty, lunch monitor, bus duty, and others. They must attend faculty meetings and serve on school committees. They have to create lesson plans and teach all day, everyday, and then assess student performance by assigning work and then subsequently reviewing and grading that work. They have to interact with colleagues, parents, administrators and sometimes 150+ students per day. They have to teach varying levels of students, usually in groups of 30 or more, all at the same time. Not only are these kids supposed to be learning, but the teacher is supposed to be able to control their behavior too. During breaks and after school, many kids need extra help, and teachers are there to give them that support. Then there are the extracurricular activities and sports that need sponsors and coaches. And teachers have to attend professional development and additional schooling to keep their certifications up.
When viewed from that perspective, teachers have a lot on their plates professionally. This is not even including any outside business that goes on in their personal lives. As many people can see when they adjust the lens here, achieving 100% becomes a lot harder. But the best teachers try to reach 100% or exceed it. They really do give everything they’ve got to achieve all of these demands and do even more for their students and their school communities. While it is sadly true that many teachers do the bare minimum, most educators (if they got into the profession for the right reasons) are doing the best that they can with what they’ve got. And that’s really all that can be asked of a person.