The Long Haul

Thanks to having a nice, well deserved 4 day weekend, I have been able to sit on the computer this morning and read some blogs. I don't normally get to do that til the afternoon or evening or even not until the weekend. It's kinda nice sitting here in my cold office, listening to my daughter play in her room with the dogs. Thank you, end of Daylight Savings Time. I now get to share my mornings with my early riser! (6am on a day off!!!). Anyway, I have been reading some blogs, and it seems like people are tired, frustrated, and worn out. I get it. I feel that way, too, but I feel better now that report cards are done and confereces are half over! I am also seeing blogs where people are talking about not doing this job forever. And I wonder.

When I was 7 years old, I told my parents I was going to be a teacher. I don't think I had a fabulous teacher then or anything, but it's what I said I wanted to do. And I never waivered. Not even in college when there is so much out there. I had people tell me in high school that I was stupid for wanting to be a teacher. These were the same masterminds who were supposed to be teaching us English, but instead thought it necessary to do nothing. (I don't remember one thing from my senior English class other than the quaterback couldn't read a lick and I read about 10 - 15 Danielle Steel novels that year, in that class alone!). I went to a college that I knew I could get out of in 4 years with a credential and be able to start working. If I stayed in CA, it would have taken me at least 6 years, if not more, and I may have lost all interest. So, I went to college and 4 years later, 4 years after graduating high school, I was working along side some of my former teachers as a colleague. I still can't call them by their first name!

This year is my 13th year of teaching. My 13th year in first grade. And I can't imagine myself doing anything else. And it's not that I don't think I couldn't do anything else. I don't want to. I like seeing the kids learn something new, or seeing that lightbulb go off when they finally get it. I like working with kids who otherwise may not have done anything spectacular. I feel this was my calling in life, not just something that would pass the time between childhood and retirement. I do get frustrated, stressed, tired and all that, but it comes with the job. I don't know anyone in any job who is never stressed. Unfortunately, that's life.

As I read some blogs, I see people who are already planning on getting out of teaching. It makes me wonder what brought them to teaching in the first place. Something drew them in, and it had to be more than the pay and the wonderful working conditions. I haven't seen one blog where the teacher is not in a Title 1 school and working with at risk students. Teaching in a Title 1 school is hard work with little reward from the outside. It's a lot of complaining, finger pointing and empty promises from the administration. It's a lot of stress, frustration and hard work on the part of the teacher. But I always have thought that if it's too hard, then you need to go elsewhere.

I don't think teaching is for everyone, and in fact, I work with one who shouldn't be teaching. But it isn't my place to tell her that. I think a lot of good teachers have left for whatever reason, and I think a lot more are wanting to leave. But why? Is it really too hard? Too stressful? Too much time? I don't know. I don't think it's too hard, but then I have been told that I only teach first grade, so I don't really teach...try to get a high school teacher to get a 6 year old to read... I have been told I don't have stress since my kids aren't tested...but they are tested in 2nd grade and it's my job to get them ready to be tested, which is why my assessments are made to look like a standardized test! I've been told that I don't have to spend time planning, since they won't get it anyway or I've been told I spend too much time planning...it's my life, I'll do what I want. You can spend as much or as little time planning, whatever makes you happy! As for the money, I can't complain too much. I know CA pays some of the higher salaries, but more would be nice. But, my family has survived off my salary alone for the last 5 years. I don't have money at the end of the month and I don't have the luxuries of some other jobs, but I don't need it. I never went into teaching for the money. While it would be nice, it's not necessary. Some may think I am crazy, but again, it's my blog!

I am in this for the long haul. I could go find a higher paying job with less stress and less hours, but where would the satisfaction be? I have never once said I wanted to think about quitting or moving to another profession. I may eventually have to move districts, just to appease my hubby's desire to move, but I still want to go and teach. Maybe it's just too hard in other places to stay for the long haul. I don't know. But it's sad, and a bit frustrating to see that people are already planning their exit from a job they profess to love.

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