Back to School
by Amy M.
My directorial debut: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Many friends and family members headed back to school today, which stirs feelings of nostalgia for me. I’m delighted to be a full-time wife (and almost mom), but I REALLY miss teaching. I miss my former students and coworkers, I miss creating lesson plans, and I miss the general craziness and excitement. Teaching can be incredibly grueling, but every day is interesting and filled with opportunities to be imaginative and open-minded. It will force you out of your comfort zone and into a difficult and magnificent world.
I’m not trying to be self-righteous here. Teachers aren’t martyrs, and there are plenty of other equally rewarding careers. I’m simply sharing my personal experience with a career I love and for which I have tremendous respect.
Recently, an acquaintance asked me whether she should abandon a position in the private sector to pursue a career in education. After much thought, here’s how I responded to her query:
First of all, “education” is extremely broad. Do you see yourself as a second grade teacher, a high school calculus teacher, a counselor, a basketball coach + physics teacher, administrator, special education teacher (the list goes on and on)? Each position is SO different, yet presents its own challenges. I suggest observing a variety of classrooms in different districts, if you can. All great teachers eventually find their niche!
Let’s start with the drawbacks (based solely on my personal experience):
Do NOT enter education if the following things are important to you in a career:
1. Earning an impressive income and being compensated for overtime.
2. Working quietly at your own pace.
3. Having a flexible schedule during the day.
4. Never working late or on weekends.
5. Spending more than 30 minutes each day with other adults.
Now, for the good stuff (again, just my personal experience as a high school English/drama teacher)!
Reasons to enter education:
1. You will never, ever be bored at work. Except on standardized testing days.
2. If you are flexible and have a sense of humor, teaching is SO MUCH FUN! It also helps if you are patient and really love kids.
3. You will interact with a variety of young people all day, every day. Some will adore you, some will despise you, and some will be apathetic. Keeps things very interesting!
4. You will have daily opportunities to be creative and inspire others about subjects that are important to you.
5. You will be thoroughly exhausted (in a good way) when you come home from work each day.
6. So very cliché, but you really do make a difference! You will be AMAZED at what your students will remember about you and your lessons, even when they seem bored or disinterested. It’s fascinating!
I have so many classroom anecdotes that range from hilarious to heartbreaking, and I’ll cherish those memories forever. I certainly wasn’t a perfect teacher–my first full year of teaching was an epic failure. I even took a break afterward and moved to New York City, where I had a great office job with wonderful people. But I went straight back to teaching in Texas the following year. Despite that awful first year, I missed it. I still do.
What do you think, teachers? Care to add your thoughts?
UNRELATED: Let’s talk about last night’s Downton Abbey! Here’s my oversimplified breakdown (caution: Season 3 spoilers):
- Mary’s wedding dress was breathtaking.
- Poor Mrs. Hughes.
chauffuerhusband is kind of annoying. Just wear a fancy jacket already.
- Bates is gangsta!
- Carson used the term “hobbledehoy.” Let’s all try to work that into our everyday vernacular.
- Poor Edith! She seems so pathetic. I can’t determine whether her aged beau likes her or or pities her.
Thoughts, DA fans?