Being a teacher is something that I’ve always wanted to do. There is no question in my mind that I was meant to be a teacher and when it’s time, I will retire as a teacher. Politics, standardized testing, teacher pay…all of those issues have caused a lot of people to change careers. I must admit, with all of the complaints that I’m hearing from people I know that are in this profession, I feel pretty lucky to be the kind of teacher I am. Where I teach, standardized testing happens one time at the beginning of the school year. The results of the tests guide our instruction for the rest of the year. There’s no test at the end to determine grade placement for the next school year. I get to teach how I want…I’m given the standards and I teach to them. It’s fun. Most of the time.
Despite all of the advantages of teaching in a non-public school, I still find that I’m burned out. Sometimes it’s because of obnoxious parents or a boss that comes off a little too blunt and abrasive during faculty meetings, but most of what I burn myself out on, is the work that I bring home. It’s probably a well known fact that teachers work longer than 3:00 on a daily basis, and that we have little to no extra time during the day to get lesson plans written and papers graded. So then why do I feel that it’s unfair that I have so much work to do at home? I feel bitter at times, almost to the point where I’m jealous of people with 9-5 jobs that can come home and know that there is no work that has to be done…aside from typical housework.
A colleague of mine, who I mentored during her second year as a teacher, told me that she has a policy that she does not take work home. She and I are very similar in that we don’t have children to occupy our time when we get home. So how could this woman, who is younger than me, have the right idea from the very start, and I still can’t get it after 10 years? There are many answers to this question…from always having my job as my first priority to time mismanagement. Whatever the reason, I am feeling particularly burned out and lazy this weekend. It’s Saturday night and I haven’t even started my lesson plans for next week. When I complained to my husband, he asked me how many weeks there were left in the school year. There was a lot of sarcasm in what he said. With one rhetorical question, he shut down my complaint. Public or private school, new or seasoned teacher, you can’t argue with the fact that there are 16 days left in the school year. With so few days left, there’s no room for complaining. I’m off to start my lesson plans….