Saturday, 11 April 2015

Honesty becomes me. (Or, this month, when I stopped lying about teaching.)

Although I have certainly been honest on my blog and with some of my friends, being truthful about my career in teaching (or, more to the point, lack of desire to teach in a classroom) as not been easy. In my new job I have met so many students studying teaching. The first day one of them said 'What, didn't you like teaching?' as if I was a crazy person. I made up some excuse and left it at that.

The thing is, I actually love teaching. I love being a teacher.

I don't love a lot of things about it. I don't love the injustice of it all. I don't love behaviour management, leadership struggles, politics, actual politics interfering with teaching, so called experts rambling about what teachers should be doing.... and so on.

What teachers do on weekends - mostly planning.

And I also worry about a lot of things about teaching. I worry about where my children will go to school, and more importantly, who will be teaching them, and will their needs be met. I worry about my friend suffering burn out and stress, I worry about contracts and permanency, and a whole bunch of other things.

And yesterday I lost it. I said Stephen had been doing relief work this week and she said 'Oh, well teachers make a lot of money.'

'Trust me, he earns every dollar.' And I left. Because, truth. You're talking about a profession. You have to be rgiestered and you have to be qualified through a university, with a minimum of four years study. Yes, that includes people who do post graduate study to teach.

It's not just that though.
'Sometimes I expect a tumbleweed to come rolling past.' - a quote of one my my students!
Sensitive me who doesn't like particular scents and textures, hates almost everything about the school environment. Schools are rarely clean places. They are too cold in winter and two hot in summer. Yard duties are horrendous. You can't even go to use the facilities whenever you please (because, legally, your duty of care is to the children and not your own bladder). My first long term contract was in a school, in a transportable classroom that was filthy, had minimum windows and a heavy wooden door with no window. I didn't feel safe in that environment.

And I love kids. All these things aside, I do. I love the quirky kids, and the kids who don't get it, and the really cheeky ones, and the ones who cry every day for whatever reason. It's not that I don't love them, but love just isn't enough to keep you in a job.

When I made my decision not to go back, Mum said that I have about forty more years of my working life to go, and there's no point being miserable in it. And I was miserable a lot of the time. It showed in every way possible.

For a long time I've been seeking out different ideas and trying new things. Right now I'm enjoying doing OSHC work, but I'm also grateful I'm having a bubba and not having to work there forever. My long term dreams have also included being an author and being a 'cookies and milk mum', and both of those are, well, kind of realistic.

The Year 5 Funky Chickens.
It has been hard being honest, and a lot of the time they ask me why. My main reason, is, I don't enjoy it. It wasn't for me. I have loved some schools and really disliked other contracts. I love kids. I love teaching, but I don't like all the stuff that goes with it.

I think I have given it a good bash. Four years in a career you don't really enjoy is long enough, at least I think so. and I don't want to put other people off. Plenty of people finish teaching degrees and don't pursue that career path which is totally fine.

At the end of the day, it isn't so much about happiness, or self fulfillment or job satisfaction. It's about the ability to stay healthy. I wasn't healthy as a teacher, and my work probably reflected it. All that aside, I am so grateful for some of the most wonderful and caring colleagues I have every had the privilege of working with. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in the Mid North and on Yorkes, and for friendship and for wonderful opportunities. I am glad teaching helped bring Stephen and I together and that it's something I can support him in. And so, here endth the lesson. It's been bittersweet, kids. Very bittersweet. But I'll take the good with the bad.