In the last two weeks I’ve taught classes with former students at workshops, gone out for margaritas with a former student and talked about everything from higher ed and linguistics to which hockey players to follow on twitter, chatted with a former student about her soon to be released by Entangled Publishing novel and finally tonight, laughed at the photos two former editors posted on Facebook for #tbt.
If you’re thinking about going into education know this: you’ll never be paid what you’re worth, you’ll always be the “bad guy” politicians can point to as wanting too much when all you want is job security and a decent paycheck, you’ll spend money on your classroom and the kids and you’ll never get that money back. You’ll work crazy ridiculous hours and drive your non-teacher friends nuts when you start talking about “education reform” and NCLB. You’ll go to the grocery store and see kids slinking away hoping to God you don’t see them AND kids who run up to you, give you a hug and introduce you to their grandmother who’s visiting as “My favorite teacher.”
You’ll be cussed at, laughed at, ignored and loved. You’ll attend trainings that don’t seem to serve a purpose during time you could be setting up your classroom. You’ll learn a million different acronyms for the Next Best Thing in education and those acronyms will change often.
You’ll meet amazing people dedicated to changing the world and then watch them thrive…or burn out…or decide it’s just not worth it to teach. You’ll have friends join admin…even DOWNTOWN admin, and then you’ll wonder if they’re still “friends” or if they’ve crossed over to the Dark Side. If you stick around long enough, you’ll learn it takes a village and the Dark Side is a myth…usually.
You’ll have classes without enough desks, without enough books, without enough super secret codes to unlock the sparkly new technology you’re provided. You’ll run into proxies that render said technology useless on a regular basis even though you used the website the week before to teach your classes.
You’ll spend hours on snazzy lessons with everything from rock songs to movie clips to pictures of places you’ve visited while on the quest to become a better teacher…AND someone in your class will try to sleep anyway.
You’ll be told you only work 9 months a year so quit your dang complaining…all the time. You’ll hear “We don’t need to pay teachers all this money. We can do school on the computers. Let the kids learn it all online.”
You’ll wake up some mornings feeling like a rockstar and go to bed feeling like a rock.
You’ll need to invest in super-dee-duper vitamins because schools are germ factories.
You’ll cry with your kids who lose boyfriends, parents, babies. You’ll want to smack them when you see their names in the paper on crime beats. You’ll want to call them up and say congrats when you see they’ve finished in the top of their class at UT. You’ll ask them if they’re sure they want to teach when they tell you they’ve decided to pursue a degree in education. And you’ll feel like crying again when they say they want to be just like you.
So think long and hard before you go into education. Starbucks gives full benefits, including a matching 401k for 20 hours a week. There are easier paychecks.
BUT nothing beats waking up in the morning excited to go to work. Nothing beats being a teacher when you love it.