For the past eight months, I’ve been working to complete an online teaching credential program. This is surprising to many people because last they heard, I was DONE with teaching. I was burnt out on moving from country to country and into new classrooms with little support and messy curriculums. I loved the students, but I didn’t know if it was what I was meant to do. I decided to go back and focus on writing, what I’d gone to university for.
I took inbound marketing classes, did a social media internship, and freelanced for the first few months I was home and I found that I wasn’t really enjoying myself. It all felt extremely hollow and self-serving. I love writing and it’s something that I can always do, but media is swiftly changing and writing is not easily a solid career anymore. You have to be a marketer and social media guru as well. The main jobs out there are for copywriters, which I’ve done my share of, and for me, it’s writing without freedom or full creativity.
I missed teaching. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the right choice. There’s an article by David Wong, editor of Cracked, that has always resonated with me. He talks about how at the end of the day all that matters is if you have skills that are valuable to other people.
I’ve never felt that way with writing (sure, people enjoy my writing and relate to it and I’m proud of a lot of the work that I’ve done), but I certainly feel that way when teaching. I feel like what I’m doing is WORTHWHILE and I’m actually contributing to the world around me. The feeling of seeing your students finally master a skill, show empathy, or come up with an inventive idea, cannot compete with getting a ‘top ten places to go’ blog published by a travel site. Because ultimately, travel writing is a lot about me and teaching is all about them; my students.
Not only do my students inspire me with their unexpected poignancy and absolute joy for life, but they make me laugh. So damn hard. I’m a silly person, who loves t0 delve into the absurd and as a teacher, I get to do that daily. Dance party to a song about tacos? Heck yes. Writing stories about an evil dog that is taking over your life? Sounds good. Setting a butterfly free which had become our class pet? That’s a weirdly emotional and amusing lunch right there. Instead of sitting solitary with my coffee and my laptop, I’m making Day of the Dead masks with kids who have somehow become my little family.
I also decided to become a teacher because I realized I’M ACTUALLY GOOD AT IT. I’m no teacher of the year, but I started to notice that my students liked me, I saw major improvements in their studies, and other teachers I worked with would comment positively on my teaching skills.
Of course, professional development is a part of any career and I have much to learn. But, to find something you have a knack for and that can help make this world and our future a better place? How could you ignore that?
Now, here’s the downsides. Teaching pays horribly. It’s an extremely stressful and many times, thankless job. There are many ignorant (and in my opinion, rude) people who think teachers are glorified babysitters, those “who cannot do”, and not professionals. I wish these people could try teaching for one day. They would see that in one day you are juggling lesson plans, assessments, controlling behavior, communicating with many parents, and attending meetings with other teachers and administrators. They may not survive!
But, every job is tough and these are downsides I can handle. I don’t want to be struggling to make ends meet, but I’ve never been someone to put an importance on money in my life and I couldn’t give a damn about being rich. The stress of the job can pay off when you see how well your students respond to a lesson or a former student sends you a kind letter. And of course, did you think I’d forget….SUMMERS OFF!!!!
The biggest upside of all 😀