Harvard student explains why teaching high school is way harder than studying law

A former high school teacher is going viral on TikTok after explaining how “high stakes” her job was.

Rachel Cohen, a current student at Harvard Law School, shared the video on Oct. 27. In the clip, she responds to a commenter who asked why she says teaching high school was “harder” than taking classes at one of the nation’s top-ranked law schools.

Her answer? Teaching requires a lot more responsibility.

“Harvard is difficult,” Cohen explains. “It’s intellectually challenging and stimulating, but it’s also the lowest stakes environment.”


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♬ original sound – Rachel

“You did the hard thing, you got in,” she continues. “You will get a job. You’re going to be fine.”

Cohen then explains that, conversely, being a high school teacher is the “highest-stakes job on the planet.”

Children’s lives are like, the realest thing on the planet,” she adds. “And so the stress that I was under as a high school teacher with other people’s lives literally dependent on mine is far higher [than at Harvard].”

The law student was quick to emphasize that, as a white woman and the child of two college-educated parents, she’s certainly in a privileged position. She made it clear that her perspective is only based on her own experience.

However, TikTok users were quick to praise Cohen for her confession. Many commenters — including some current and former teachers — said they “loved” her thoughts on the job.

“As a current teacher, thank you for talking about it,” one user wrote. “People think I just play all day.”

“Preach! I always tell my friends teaching is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” another added.

“Thank you. for saying this!” another wrote.

Cohen’s video on teaching originally stemmed from a video where she discussed why she wasn’t afraid to pay more taxes once she started making more money as a lawyer. During that clip, she mentions that teaching was way “harder” than law school, despite the fact that she was paid less than $40,000 a year.


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♬ original sound – Rachel

Check out In The Know’s article on TikTok’s “lawyer mom.”

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