If they told me this in college, I wasn’t listening that day…

I’m loving my job right now…absolutely LOVING it.  The race is on to the end of the school year, and I have so many balls up in the air for the next five weeks that one thought keeps crossing my mind:

Someone should tell ALL college students considering teaching that if you can see yourself being happy doing ANYTHING else, you should.

33% of teachers will leave the field of teaching within the first three years, leave for another field of work.  46% quit within the first five years.  This statistic in a book called Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers.  I’m currently on page 19, so I have nothing to say, yet, about the message of the book as a whole.  But that statistic struck me, and rang true with what I have seen.

If you become a teacher:

–You will not be able to afford a house you are willing to own, located in a neighborhood you are willing to inhabit, unless you have a spouse.  With an income.  Date wisely.

–You will get used to taking a bathroom break at 8:00 a.m. and 3:35 p.m., and not at all in between.  Maybe once a week you’ll get to take one in between.  Hang in there.  Drink your water anyway.  Just keep talking; it will distract you.

–You will get used to standing and walking for about 5 or 6 hours a day.  You won’t have a super-dressy-job, but you may want to wear heels some of the time.  It’s your choice.  The trick: Wear a different pair of shoes every day of the week.  It minimizes the pain to have different shoes from one day to the next.

–Thanks to all that up-and-about in your day, you will feel like a kid with ADHD when you have to enter assessment data or do report cards.  Your college life will have escaped you, and you will have lost all your stamina for sitting still in front of a computer screen and getting your work done.  You have to do it anyway.  Maybe not so much coffee that morning, and a big glass of Moscato in the evening.

–You will learn to go to work in sickness and in health, because you have to be at death’s door before getting ready for a sub is easier than going to work.  On the other hand, your district may micromanage your sick days so that you also need to prove that you are at death’s door before they will pay you for a sick day.  Win-win.  Well, win-win-lose.  The school district wins (they won’t end up paying all the sick days they put in your contract), the doctor wins (you’ll go pay a copay when you don’t really need to, just to get that magical note), and you lose.  Sorry.

–You will never escape homework.  You thought it would be over after college?  Nope.  If you teach it, you have to grade it.  If they write it, you have to read it.  If you graded it already, you have to analyze it.  If you analyzed it, you have to decide what to do next.  That’s another one of those sit-still situations.  Pajamas.  Another glass of wine.  Netflix.

–You will be considered some strange mutt between lower class citizen (you can’t afford a house, remember?) and revered member of the secular clergy (You’re a teacher?  Oh, good for you, dear!  I’d never have such patience!).  You never know how the conversation will go, when you tell someone what you do.  Maybe teaching will be a respected profession, maybe it will be what someone does when they’re too “lazy” to work a full year.  Maybe you will be everything that is wrong with this country, or maybe you will be a selfless servant of the betterment of society.  Either way, they won’t be talking about YOU; they’ll be talking about whatever their perception of public education is at that moment.  It’s probably best to just say you work at Old Navy.

This is all in fun, of course.  Because honestly, teaching is the best job in the world.  But only if you really, really want to be there.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Modern Home Economist
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 00:33:37

    I am in the working world but reconsidering teaching as a career. Its something I have always wanted to do. What does it tell you if you list of “pros” on;y makes me want to become a teacher more. A calling or a crazy person?

    Loved your post 🙂


  2. Dawn
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 22:39:47

    Oh, my dear friend, that means you need to be a teacher! 🙂 It’s a calling, for sure! Good luck to you!


  3. Lyndsey
    Apr 27, 2012 @ 21:38:21

    Oh my friend you explain our job so well! If you can’t handle these things you may definitely need to look for another career. Some days I can’t even take everything that goes with it, but I enjoy my summer breaks!


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