I am a teacher, a high school English teacher to be more specific, but that isn’t really important. As a teacher, I am surrounded by many fellow teachers: the teacher friends I work with, the teacher friends I used to work with, the teacher friends I’ve made through Pinterest, the teacher friends in my education program in college, the friends of mine who have also become teachers, and the list goes on.
This means that I am surrounded by the social media posts of teachers, which is usually a GREAT thing. The sharing of rough days, the sharing of funny moments, general encouragement, and more. However, there is a downside to this. (Disclaimer: This downside has NOTHING to do with any of my fellow teachers. It is purely a reaction on my part.) Occasionally, I feel as if my teacher friends like their jobs more than I do and that makes me question my career choice, simply because I see statuses about how much they love teaching or how many lives they’re changing.
There is nothing wrong with loving to teach or changing lives. I’m a firm believer in the empowering nature of education, and I am innately passionate about the importance of what I do.
But here’s the truth, folks: Some days, I hate my job. Sometimes, I come home exhausted after a particularly trying day with students. Sometimes, I come home bothered by things I can’t control, wondering when I will have time to get to the all-important teaching part of my job. Sometimes, I come home wanting to cry (or actually crying) for my students or sometimes because of them. There are days when I want to quit my job and go work at McDonald’s (last Thursday, for example). There are days when I wonder, “Why on earth am I doing this to myself?”
For a long time, I thought that was terrible–that this meant I am in the wrong profession. Adages like “Find a job you’ll love and you’ll never work a day in your life” certainly don’t help. I’ve decided this just isn’t true (at least not for me). No matter what job a person has, I really believe that there will always be bad days–days that feel like work.
Overall, I really do enjoy teaching. I’m still learning how to be good at it and I’m getting better each day. I like my colleagues; I like my school; I really do like my students. Most days, I like everything about what I do. But there are some days that are just harder than others. On those days when I find myself wishing I had chosen a different field, I always end up asking myself this question: “If I weren’t teaching, what would I be doing?”
I have yet to come up with an answer to that question. I really that that says it all.