The hardest job I’ve ever had was….

I apologize for my absence.  I could give you a number of reasons for my lack of postage, among them beginning wedding planning and starting my first year as a teacher.  I could tell you I have a tough class this year and I’ve been swamped with trying to figure out how to manage them.  I could tell you I just didn’t have time.  All these reasons are true, but what I’m really trying to say here is…

Teaching is hard.

Not hard like math was hard.  Not hard like vodka is hard.  I mean hard like going outside when it’s -45 degrees and asking yourself why you live where the weather hurts your face (and you can’t come up with any good reasons but you know you’ll never leave).

Wind hurts my face

This is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  I often find myself asking, “Do I really want to keep this up?” “Maybe I should think about another profession” and “An office job sounds really freaking nice right about now”.

But….I stick with it.  I stick with it because I know after 3 months I’d be sick of that office job, but after 3 months of teaching I’m not sick of school.  I stick with it because I know I would miss the constant interaction with tiny minds and the consistencies (and inconsistencies) they face each day.  I stick with it because I honestly believe that “it gets better after the first year” (If I had a nickel for every time I heard that….).  I stick with it because I like my colleagues and how they always build each other up and never shoot each other down.

Mostly, I stick with it because at the end of the day I actually enjoy teaching.  Today was a bad day – the kids were chatty, my patience was waning, the power went out so we couldn’t take our online benchmarking test (so I had to reschedule it twice because of other unforeseen circumstances and by that point I was throwing my hands in the air in surrender).  At the end of a bad day I can’t wait to go home, but I still stop in to talk to other teachers, play piano for the music teachers, and pause to get that one math building exercise from another teacher.

There are three things people have told me so far this year that have turned my mood around instantly.

  1. A fortune cookie fortune from my mentor (that she’s had since her first year of teaching) that reads, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Be patient.”
  2. “I’m so overwhelmed with everything going on….and I’m not in my first year like you!  I can’t imagine how you’re holding up!”
  3. “I’ve been teaching for 14 years and I still have days where I’m wondering if I’m a good teacher.”

So I’m home, drinking a brew and getting ready for frozen deep-dish pizza (not the same as real deep-dish, but it’ll work in a pinch).  Soon I will cuddle up on the couch with a good book and my fiancé will walk in the door all sweaty from the gym.  Then we’ll go to bed and I’ll toss and turn thinking about all the things I have to do at school and how I’ve not gotten them done yet.

Then I’ll get up, eat breakfast, and go to school – not because I have to, not because I get to, but because somewhere in my being I still know that I want to.


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