- Wedding: July 2016 - Long Island, NY
I am a high school physics teacher. While it’s not exactly what I thought it would be when I started my masters, it is a super rewarding job.
– personal relationships: I have met some fantastic people teaching. While there are definitely “cliques” in the profession (those that are obsessed with teaching and make it their whole lives, those who are constantly reading up on the latest trends in teaching, etc.), overall coworkers (at any school I’ve ever taught at) seem to be friendly and helpful and bond over the profession’s ups and downs
– student relationships: there’s nothing I love more than interacting with my students. Whether it’s within the classroom, or during clubs, or just at lunch/extracurricular activities, I feel like I make a huge impact on their lives and their happiness. Since I teach 16/17 year olds, they’re very hard-headed and lazy and they think they know everything, but I treat them with respect and treat them like adults and they respond amazingly. I love to hear how excited they are about getting into college/doing well on the SATs/getting asked to prom and I sure love to hear how thankful they are for my recommendation/math practice/just being there to listen.
– vacation time: duh. Even though people think we get soooo much vacation time and omg why do they get paid 12 months when they only work about 9 months and blah blah, the vacations are literally the only reason I’m sane. Next month (March) is an entire month of school (no breaks except weekends) and while that seems like such a silly thing to complain about, working with children all day every day hard. Throw in the fact that you’re trying to TEACH them something they probably don’t care about, when they’d (literally) rather be ANYWHERE else, it’s mentally draining. Vacations are so entirely necessary, but so so welcome.
There are also a lot of cons to the job, though, so if you aren’t really sold on teaching, it’s hard to look around these things. A lot of younger teachers have gotten into it for the “vacations” and “weekends” and “less work” but it’s really not like that at all and a lot of them leave before their 3rd or 4th year.
– Politics: Oh gosh, the politics. If your administration doesn’t like you, it’s difficult to be successful in teaching. It could be as simple as one observation didn’t go the way they wanted your classroom to look, and then after that it doesn’t matter how much you change, it’s never going to be good enough. A good administration isn’t like that, but not everyone who gets into position is a good administrator. In addition, in NYC where I am, the people running the “DOE” are not actually teachers at all and have all these “fantastic ideas” about how the classroom and schools should be run when in actuality none of it works and it’s literally a waste of time. But, that’s what you’re rated on and with a poor rating, you’re out of a job so you try your hardest to follow the rules and it’s the students who are found at a disadvantage because of poor practices. *sigh*
– Work doesn’t end: Most of your friends go to work, and when the day is over, they leave for home and don’t have to think about their job until they return the next day. When I get home from work (which is never when school is over), I’m either grading assignments, uploading marks onto the internet for students to keep track of, lesson planing, answering student emails (which literally don’t stop omg), making parent contact for struggling/excelling students, etc. Even when I say that I’m not going to do schoolwork for the rest of the night, a student will email me (and of course it goes to my phone because I would feel guilty if it didn’t) about an urgent internship recommendation/grade inquiry/etc. and I’ll plop myself down and answer them (because I WANT to, deep down, because I can’t stop myself from caring).
– people’s opinions: My own father complains about “how good teachers have it” and how we shouldn’t be getting all of the benefits we have. Tenure, pension, contracts, etc. I am sick of hearing about how my job is so easy and how I shouldn’t be complaining about new common core requirements or revised evaluation methods for administration.
-ratings: Your rating is usually public and everyone can see your student’s exam scores, your yearly overall rating, etc. (Even your salary!) They say your students marks should be a huge part of your rating, but is that really fair? My 16 year old students have enough science credits/state exam passes to graduate with honors by the time they come to my class. They are studying for SATs and ACTs and taking AP exams. Everything is more important to them than my class- they do not need it to graduate and are told countless times this fact, but my rating every year is dependent on their WILL to pass an extra (and extremely difficult) math/science hybrid? If they show up for the state test, it is an accomplishment in and of itself! It is difficult to motivate today’s children in this society. But it is something that is always pushed for and supported by politics and one day it will truly become an issue.
I’m sure there’s so much more that if I had longer to think, I’d be able to add. But off the top of my head, these are what I came up with. Do I love my job? Absolutely! I love doing what I do. But there are times when I know in my heart that there are so many issues with public education that it is at times overwhelming and I find myself wondering why I got into the profession.
But then I see my kids when they finally understand a new concept and can solve a new physics equation, and I literally get so excited that I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.