1. When asked, “You teach there?” just say, “Yes.” Do not ask, “What is wrong with there?” You already know the answer.
2. When told, “You are so brave!" do not sigh audibly, frown, glare, or hit. Say, “It is my job.” Say, “The students are brave, not me.” Say nothing. Do not say, “You are such a coward!” Do not ask, “Are you afraid of children?” Do not ask, “Is it brave to enter a neighborhood where children live every day of their lives?”
3. When asked, “You teach?” just say, “Yes.” Do not ask what is wrong with teaching. You already know the answer.
4. When told, “They don’t pay you enough,” do not say, “No shit.” Do not glare or frown or hit or sigh audibly. Just agree. Do not compare your pay with that of professional athletes. Do not compare it to that of professional entertainers. Do not compare it to that of people who do whatever it is people named Kardashian do. Do not point out that your pay comes from taxes. Do not admit you are a government worker. Do not mention your union or your pension. Do not remind your interlocutor of previous comments he or she may have made regarding taxes, or government workers, or unions, or pensions.
5. When told, “Your work must be so fulfilling,” do not ask if work that requires less education but pays twice as much is unfulfilling. Do not sigh audibly. Do not say, “It must be terrible to go to work as a [lawyer/cosmetic surgeon/hedge fund manager].” Do not admit that teaching is frustrating at least as often as it is fulfilling. Do not point out that you do not go to work for the purpose of self-actualization. Say, “It is.” Do not say anything else — even if it would be fulfilling to say it all out loud — and smile.