Personally my views on education has evolved from when I first started when I was 22 years old. I did think it was my God given mission, I thought it was something I was meant to do – I gave my whole self to the job. (gee I was single, nerdy, working in a small town with not much to do, and misguided.) Now 18 years later I have come to realize that though one needs to have a certain affinity to work with children – teaching has more to do with learned skills, presentation techniques and organization than it does with a vague passion for whatever is concerning you at the moment.
Saying that – I don’t think that it matters a whole lot on an individual level how you view education – which ever way you think of it you have to balance it with whatever is going on with your life. If you have less personal demands on your life – you may choose to spend more time and your being into teaching – if you have more – than less time and so forth. It is what you can live with. Though if you are beginning teacher – know that you need to have a life separate from teaching – you will burn out, and there are other difficulties which I will not get into in this blog)
O.K. I DO think it matters how society – parents, students, and unfortunately that I have to say this politicians think of the job. It has quite the ramifications on how teachers are treated. From pay, benefits, to what I think is almost more of an issue support in the form of professional development, and other services that help students and families.
When people ask what I do and I say I am in education you get many comments akin to …”oh you must LOVE your job.” or “you must be______________(fill in the blank )to work with students.” I have to say I usually quietly nod and go about my business…… Here is my real responses…..
-I do love my career, I feel like I am getting better at it year after year. Depending on the day (worse in February for whatever reason) 95% of the time I am fairly excited to go to work to do my thing.
-I actually feel that I get fairly compensated – salary and benefit wise. I do think new teachers out of college are NOT fairly compensated – seriously there are many instances that they could do better working at jobs not requiring a degree…) *** Disclaimer – I live in Idaho so the cost of living is not out of balance with the pay scale. I do feel that teaching should demand a salary that can afford you at least a modest house, and healthcare for you and your family. Where ever you live….
-Since I made the choice to not make teaching an absolute center of my life – though I spend less time at school – I am a better teacher now.
-Every profession has good workers and bad workers. Every profession has politics.
-I don’t feel like I can “save” every child. I have between 130-160 going through each semester. All I can hope to do is get every student the opportunity to hopefully see what their life could be like. Then teach them some tools to make those opportunities happen. I try very hard to make extra connections with students who need more support. Then if they don’t get along with me – I try to find another teacher or professional that can have that connection with them and help them.
-Teachers have good weeks, bad weeks, and in some instances – bad years, and good years. Like everyone we have friends and relatives ill or dying, we have children, we try to balance how to get it all done. We even have times where we feel all of the legislators are out to make it more difficult for us – and it is hard to keep up morale.
So basically it is like any other job or career. The only difference perhaps is we don’t have a well defined product necessarily. Or at the very least our product is not based solely on our efforts (students have to ultimately perform tasks and demonstrate what they know themselves.)
have a great day!