That is the question – for me, at least.
I enjoy teaching; however, I am tired of many of the things that come with teaching. What are the pros and cons specific to me?
Cons for me:
- Grading, which is mountain high when a teacher of English in a college preparatory high school, is the main thing that is not missed. Until I did not have it to do, I did not realize how little of a “life” I had.
- Hoops and politics? Nope, I do not enjoy jumping through all of the hoops of ever-changing teaching requirements and the unending paper work. Yes, there is “office politics” in schools, and I much prefer to stay out of the politics and in my room doing the job I am paid to do: teach.
- Being older, I do not want to have to work regular hours week after week. When teaching, I average 60 hours a week during the school year without counting the hours of summer school I seemed to get roped into teaching frequently. Even when on a “long weekend getaway,” I still found myself grading papers as my husband drove. Why, you may ask, do I not want to “punch the time card” on a regular schedule now. There are two main reasons beyond what has already been stated. First, when I have an opportunity to travel, I want to be free to go, even last minute. Next, my get up and go is not as fast to come up to speed as it used to be. I need a little more time to convince my body it actually wants to move. Standing in front of a class or sitting at a computer entering grades or at a desk grading does nothing to encourage my body to want to move better.
- Finally, the unknown of what I will find in the classroom is a deterrent. What do I mean? Over the years, I have seen the attitudes and behavior of our young people deteriorate significantly. I taught first in public school, and then I taught for nine years in a private college preparatory school. My last teaching experiences were once again in public school. I’ll not get on my soap box; I’ll just leave it with what I have already said.
Pros for me:
- First, I enjoy teaching, especially if I have a somewhat receptive audience.
- Next, I enjoy watching students grow. Two students in particular come to mind. The first paper one young man wrote for me in 9th grade contained 42 run-on sentences, but he grew to be very good at writing. He honored me once he went to college by asking to come see me when home on weekends or during breaks for me to review his work for English class with him, even though he was earning As on those I never saw. He said he was seeking perfection. The second student will admit to you herself that she constantly disrupted class with her chatter. She and a friend of hers were “stinkers,” but I loved them any way. You could have knocked me over with a feather when she friended me on Facebook, and I learned that she had chosen journalism as a career. You see, not only was I her English teacher, but I was also her Journalism teacher.
- Finally, I simply enjoy knowing my students and becoming a part of their lives and their journeys.
Perhaps in another time and another place, teaching in classrooms may once again be the job for me, but not for now.
What then? Some of the ideas I have been contemplating, and even acting on, include such things as tutoring, ACT prep classes, blogging, editing and/or proofreading jobs, and freelance writing. Anything that can be done online is preferred as that gives me more flexibility for travel. If anyone knows of a good way to join the working ranks of any of these career options, please share!
What would you do if you could “grow up” to be whatever you want to be for this time of your life?
Have a blessed and happy day!
This work by Angela C. Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at livingandlovinglifeafter50.