As you probably know by now, I taught seventh and eighth graders in Baltimore City for six years before I moved on to running my business full time. Every now and then I remember some good times that were had in those six years and some of the rewarding aspects of teaching, and I think I could almost miss it... just a teeny tiny bit.
Truthfully, I loved being a teacher. I was passionate about what I taught in the classroom, I loved my kids, and I had an amazing group of teachers and admin that I worked with daily. I'm just one of those types of people that is constantly looking for a new challenge, and when the burn out and boredom began, it was time for me to move on to something else. On the other hand, there are plenty of things that I don't miss about teaching, so I thought I'd share a few of those with you.
1 // Not being able to use the restroom whenever I damn well please. Do you know how awful it is going three hours without being able to leave the room and go to take a pee? Add in a school-wide staff fitness challenge where drinking a shit ton of water is involved, and it's pure torture. I'm pretty sure I was that awkward teacher that yelled many times, "Ok, you guys need to hurry up and get in line and get quiet so that we can dismiss because I NEED TO PEE!" Hey, it worked, and you've gotta do what you've gotta do in desperate times.
2 // Speaking of bodily functions, I don't miss stories that some of my boys would tell me. A few of them spent more time around me over the course of three years by default since I also coached basketball. As a result, they became a little too comfortable with the oversharing. I am scarred for life by a story involving a Burger King wrapper being used as toilet paper in a pinch. You guys, you can't unhear these horrifying things.
3 // The evils of online grading systems that magically delete all of your final grades. I'm pretty sure our district wide grading software had it in for me. I'd stay late in my classroom entering final grades when they were due at the end of the quarter. The next morning, I'd log into the grading system and they'd all magically be gone and all the curse words would come out of my mouth.
4 // Two words. Body odor. Never have you ever smelled something as foul as 35 pubescent teenagers crammed into a classroom. And they wondered why I always cranked the A/C. Why would I turn up the heat if it only resulted in more sweat and stench?
5 // 5 minute lunches. Yes, this was a real thing. Actually, technically, my lunch period was 25 minutes long, but by the time I took my students to the cafeteria, used the restroom, checked my email, and prepped for my afternoon classes, I usually had 5 minutes left. I hate cramming food down my throat like a manic barbarian, so most days I didn't eat lunch and opted for 5 minutes of peace and quiet instead.
6 // Grading homework that no one really cared about. And by nobody, I mean the students AND the teacher. Who makes these rules about having to give homework every. Single. Night? Basically, homework makes everyone miserable.
7 // Feeling like you've been hit by a truck every night. If I had a dollar for every time I stated, "My body hurts," after climbing into bed at the end of the day during my teaching days, I'd be plenty rich. I'm not really sure I ever knew that so many body parts could hurt all at once until I became a teacher.
8 // Being given vacation and sick days that you can't use. Every school year we'd get a small number of vacation and sick days. However, if you used more than a couple, you could get reprimanded by the district. It was basically like dangling a piece of candy in front of a kid and then telling them they couldn't eat it. It was sort of like, Oh hey, here are your days off that you can use, but you can't *actually* use them unless you've died. Oh, you're coughing up a lung with bronchitis? Have fun with that! What the fresh fuck is that all about?
9 // Spending my life savings on school supplies. I was somewhat lucky. Our principal helped us out as much as he could so we weren't as bad off as some schools, but when budget cuts came around, we were given our paper ream rations, and then we were on our own. It was like The Great Depression had hit and teachers were hoarding paper and accusing others of stealing their stash. And the insult to injury? The measly $250 teachers are able to claim for supplies on their taxes. I had hit that $250 mark on my first day of back to school shopping, so whoever made that rule up is clearly an alien. No normal person could make up such a dumb rule.
10 // Being accosted by kids in the morning before my coffee had kicked in. There were the kids that knew not to do it, and then there were the kids that just never seemed to pick up on the fact that lasers were beaming out of my eyes and tearing their brains to shreds because they'd approached me before that magical caffeinated hour.
While I'm sure I could list many other reasons why I don't miss teaching, these were just a few of the things that scratched the surface. Many of these things are indicative of larger issues within our public school systems throughout the country, but that's for another day and a more serious post.
Anyone else a former teacher? What don't you miss about a previous job?