I have given thought, in recent years, to leaving teaching. It’s not that I hate working with teens, or hate the job itself, but I do hate a lot of the nonsense that goes with teaching:
- Administrators who are more concerned with looking effective than they are with actually doing anything to improve the school.
- The tendency these days to let kids get away with murder, but slam teachers for the slightest issue or mistake (hasn’t happened to me yet, but to colleagues, yes).
- The social scapegoating of teachers as the problem in American Education, rather than focus on actual issues. Do you have any idea how demoralizing it is to see people shit all over you and your coworkers day in and day out?
- The relative low pay (sure, I get paid ok, but seriously, for the education I’m required to maintain, and the stress-level of the work, it’s not great).*
The last few years, I’ve had awful classes, which piled more and more stress on top of the usual job-related load. This year, my classes aren’t so bad, but for other reasons I can’t get into in a public place with my name attached, the job isn’t going great for me.
So I’ve tried to look at other job possibilities, and you know what? They’re terrible.
I’m 45 years old, and I’ve been a teacher for eleven years. I’m qualified for a great deal of jobs who won’t even give me the time of day, because they don’t want to consider that eleven years of teaching writing is pretty much equivalent to three years of writing low-level brochure text. Or they don’t want a middle-aged guy when what they’re really looking for is a twenty-something who will devote 99% of his time to the job.
Added to this, I can’t really take a job where my pay would be less than I earn now without causing my family a great deal of stress. And we’d like to move in the next few years; upgrade to a better place in a better location. Not going to happen if I leave for even worse pay.
So, option two: Sell some books. Except that isn’t working out so well, and may never change.
Anyway, this is why I’m pretty unable to seem upbeat lately. I feel like I’m carrying too many loads.
*If you’re tempted to get all high-and-mighty and inform me that I do get paid well considering I “only” work ten months, let me point out that I have a BA and three years of post-grad work, and I get paid half of what my wife makes with no college degree. If it were just because I don’t work for two months of the year, I’d make more. Also, quite frankly, what I do is much more important to our society than what most people do. Why are we paid so little?