If you do not work in the teaching profession or with kids you might want to turn back now because it is about to get real. Teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs.If I polled every teacher right now and asked what the best part of teaching is they all 100% would say the kids. If I also asked what the hardest part of teaching is, I would be slammed with thousands of responses that all have so little to do with actual teaching. It is true that teaching is a thankless profession but it is about more than that. It is about no matter how much schooling or experience you have, there is always someone trying to tell you that you are doing it wrong or that you should be doing it better. Here are some hard facts about teaching:
Stress level: The teaching profession is right up there with doctors in terms of stress level. In fact, some studies show that teaching is now the #1 most stressful job. More students have behavioral issues, there is more emphasis on data collection and data driven decision making, there is more emphasis on testing and “teaching to the test,” etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on and most of the stress does not come from the kids.
Time spent working: Sometimes I am incredibly jealous of my friends who leave work, “at work.” I spend my nights gathering materials for lessons the next day. I spend my weekends writing lessons, grading papers, writing IEP’s, writing RR’s, inputting data, etc. I am never not thinking about teaching. When I go grocery shopping, approximately $30 goes to school stuff every single week.
Summers off? I think not: Many people in education do not get the summers off. Administrators, secretaries, special education staff, etc. all work during the summer time usually. Sometimes it is without any extra pay. For the past 2 years I worked at facility for special needs kids that is year round.
Burnout rate: Most teachers leave teaching within 5 years of starting. I don’t know the stats on other careers but I have a strong feeling other people do not go to school for 6 years just to quit their career a few short years later. I think part of the reason I started this blog is because I am coming up on that 5 year mark. In college I would have judged a teacher for leaving. I would have thought, “how could you leave those kids!” Now, 5 years later….I get it. I totally get it. I apologize for being so naive when I was younger. I apologize for judging what I did not know. I have switched schools and I sobbed when I left the kids. If and when I ever leave teaching, I will sob hysterical ugly tears for my kids. There is a part of me though that will be able to take a deep breath and feel relieved for the first time since I have started my career.
Don’t worry, my next post about teaching will be about all the hysterical and sweet things my kids have said over the years.