Yes, I said it. And you know what I love it! I feel good in the morning going to work. Yes, I know teacher are underpaid (all of them) and underrated (most of them) but nonetheless, it is a job I look forward to doing every day. I have to work. It is part of my chemical make-up. It is also part of my family financial make-up. Why should I do a job I like? I rarely complain about the students or my daily routine.
I dreamed of being a stay at home mom all through my teen years. I said to myself I would be a stay at home mom until my oldest was in high school, just like my mom did. Then reality struck when I stayed home. I was bored! I cooked, I cleaned, I took good care of my son, and I was still bored. I worked part time during that period of my life and I was accused of talking down to my co-workers. I was hurt by that accusation. I wasn’t trying to be mean or talk down to them, I was around a baby all day and worked several nights a week and, well, you know, baby talk was my colloquial. So after almost 2 years of being a stay at home mom I went back to work, outside of the home, full time.
I did that job for another 8 years. I enjoyed it, mostly. Well except for the part about: customer service, working nights, weekends, & holidays, being made to feel guilty for having to stay home with a sick child, and a myriad of other retail related woes.
Then an opportunity I have never regretted came up. Teaching. I had wanted to be a teacher before I decided to have a family. Why not now? It would take a little more education, time, & maybe even a slight pay cut but I would not be swayed. My husband and I sat down and talked about it for a while. Finances, schedules, and life changes were discussed. We did not take this change lightly. We prayed and talked to others about it. We devised a plan for survival. Luckily, we never had to implement any of the components of our plan. I got the job!
In 2007 I started teaching and I have never looked back. I have loved every minute of it.
There have been days, weeks, months, & yes, years that I have wondered if what I do is all worth it. Is the money worth it? No, I am in charge of 150 students. I see 90 a day (first block of 30 students every day). If you do the math I make less than the average babysitter. Are the hours worth it? Sometimes, I am NOT a morning person so getting up at 5:45 usually becomes 6:00 and PUSHING it out the door. Are the entitled students worth it? Man, there are days I wonder how they got to be that way: wanting and demanding everything they say blaming me for their problem of not understanding simple directions, complaining that there is to much work in our class, need I go on?
So, you ask, what prompted this blog post.
I will tell you.
A student, or maybe three students, or maybe even more that that told me I have influenced them in some way, shape, or form. But this one in particular…
We do silent reading in our class. That means we spend 15-20 minutes of each class reading, self selected text. (My master’s research was driven by Readicide a book by Kelly Gallagher.) They pick out a book and read. They do have to complete a book share presentation and write a review for a class book (this gives other students an opportunity to look through colleague testimonials and find a book they want to read) but other than that they just read in class.
He told me, “I hate reading!”
I said, “Let me try to help you?”
He said “OK”
I helped him find a book about a war vet called Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy by Ilrario Pantano. That was his first quarter read. Today he selected his SECOND book for the year. He is reading Burned by Ellen Hopkins. He told me today he loves reading poetry. His friend (who also made the same declaration at the beginning of the year) took him to the library today to get the book. His friend (who says he has never read a book until he picked up Mob Boss by Jerry Capeci) just started reading Crank by Ellen Hopkins and is already (much to his pleasant surprise 3/4 of the way through) and told this student that Ellen Hopkins is a good author.
These young men hate reading, would never say they liked reading, like reading!
That, my friends, is why I love teaching. That testimony is worth so much to me.