Things I Never Thought I’d Say: Reflections on Teaching as a Profession

  1. I love teaching.

    I don’t think I even said this as I considered teaching. It came about more naturally. I was spending all of my “spare” time (who really has spare time in college?) working with kids in schools and after-school programs. I loved the education classes I took, and everyone told me I would be a good teacher. I wasn’t sold, but my government degree made for a lot of vague job possibilities, many of which I had no interest in. Teaching was a “real” job with an income, and it would allow to work for something I cared about, but it wasn’t something I went into with a passion for the profession.Fast forward two years, and I love so much of my job. On a daily basis, I get to think creatively to solve hundreds of problems. I spend my day running around using a variety of skills: constructing posters, facilitating discussions, counseling hormonal teenagers, and manipulating algebra and geometry to make them work for me. I love it.

  2. I am physically worn out from teaching.My ankles have been swollen for about two years because there’s no time to sit down. I frequently find mysterious bruises from breaking up fights. I desperately need 8 hours of sleep to maintain the energy I need for my classroom, but I can’t plan for four periods and case manage 15 students in 16 hours a day. So, in order to still have an income to pay my rent, so sometimes, I cut back on sleep, which leads to nasty burnout cycle. I’ve fallen asleep on my desk after school more than once. Sometimes, I choose sleep. This leads to stress and anxiety, since I can’t even claim that I’m doing all of my work. Theoretically, I should have more energy from more sleep, but I’m so afraid that someone will call me out for not being able to finish everything that I’ve suddenly got headaches, stomachaches, and a general desire to curl up into a ball and do nothing.
  3. School politics are worse than politics politics.

    I interned with the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. I worked with political campaigns in three states. I spent four years in college studying government and politics. Trust me. School politics are filled with more drama, backstabbing, and disgusting messes of bureaucratic nonsense than any other experience I’ve had in politics.

  4. There are sooooo many cool resources in education.

    Okay. I might have thought I’d say that. But really.

    Black Girls Code teaches kids less than half of my age (and I’m not that old) to solve problems algorithmically on devices of the future (aka computers). Beyond this, they specifically work to increase diversity in STEM fields through increased exposure and opportunity.

    Khan Academy, in addition to the fantastic video lectures useful to both kids and adults, offers a free program for teachers and students to progressively move from simple to more complicated material. As a “coach,” I can help my students set goals and track their progress. Awesome sauce.

    Facing History and Ourselves claims to combat racism, antisemitism, and prejudice and nurture democracy through education programs worldwide. Oh wait. They actually do that.

    SO MANY COOL THINGS. Now, if I had time to carefully prepare each lesson, I could maximize these amazing resources. I’m working on it.

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