So you probably noticed I haven’t posted in over a week. I even totally forgot about my Friday’s Jam. I started my new job last Monday so my thoughts have been elsewhere. I’m working at the same geotechnical company as my wife, which is really, well, cool. Right now I’m a temporary contractor but hopefully I will transition into a regular position later this year.
But working for a private company for the first time in my life has found me reflecting on my time as a teacher and how wildly different it is in a few very important ways.
Let me first say I don’t regret being a teacher at all. Not one bit. It is what I wanted to do since I was in elementary school with my very own fantastic teachers I was looking up to. I’m extremely proud to have done it and had such a great time working with kids, especially letting them peak into the ways of the world through science, and reading them some of my favorite books. If the world of education were not in the state it is currently in, I’d probably still be doing it.
However since beginning a new job, I’ve noticed how less stressed I have been (and it’s only been one week). Here’s a few reasons why…
- If I’m late to work it’s not a big deal because there isn’t a classroom full of unattended 10 year olds waiting on me.
- Instead of waking up at 6am (I refuse to get up earlier on principle) and rushing to get ready, skipping breakfast, and getting to school by 7am to prepare for the day and receive kids at 7:40, I can now wake up anytime between 6:30 and 7:30, get ready without the proverbial gun to my head, and get to work when I’m ready (within reason, obviously).
- Instead of slamming food in my face and “relaxing” for approximately 15 minutes during my lunch period, I can eat when I want to, and take 30-60 minutes. I can even leave the building.
- When I leave work, I leave work. I don’t need to bring it home with me, or worry that I didn’t. I didn’t grade papers this weekend. I didn’t worry about next week’s plans. I don’t have this nagging fear of a principal popping into my classroom for an unannounced observation tomorrow.
- My work is evaluated based on its quality, not an arbitrary number of objectives deemed important and applicable to everything no matter what I happen to be doing.
- If I need to take a day off, I just do. No spending 2 hours preparing plans and materials for a substitute. My work will be waiting for me where I left off the next day I get back.
Even with those things in mind, there are several things I miss about teaching.
- Everything about being a good, influential figure in children’s lives.
- Seeing students get excited about something we’re learning (especially in science!)
- When the whole class is hanging on every word and would rather skip recess to have you continue the book we’re reading aloud.
- Chicken Patties from the cafeteria.
- Colleagues. Other teachers are some of the best people I’ve ever met and had the privilege of working with. I miss them
- Field trips.
- Having an entire classroom that is mine. Filled with my stuff. Used the way I want to use it to teach kids awesome stuff.
- Little victories, and huge successes for every student.
- The lightbulb going on, and the face that goes with it (possibly the best thing ever about teaching).
- The extra, fun stuff: Playing 4-Square with the kids at recess and really kicking their asses, pajama/movie days, high fives in the hallway from little kids, dressing up as a pirate to promote a read-a-thon, and so on.
This is where it stands thus far. We’ll see where it goes from here.