Possibly the most common question I’ve been asked since changing careers. Listen, I probably technically worked in the field that I received my bachelor’s degree for only 2 years. Although in 8 years of adult teaching I would say I’ve taught information technology. There is a need; that’s why teach. What I like about teaching is I can be creative, and while I have boundaries in what I teach, I design my look/tone of my classroom. Those of you that know me know that the illusion that I have control is important. Now, to choose a profession is which I have the least amount of control…but the illusion of control. Perfect! Sign me up! It’s like being a mom, a mom of 120. So, now really…why teach?
I DON’T KNOW, STOP ASKING. Any answer I give sounds cheesy anyway. Listen it started when I was laid off from my first job out of college and I started substitute teaching …it was a job. I didn’t think I was particularly skilled at it, I just read someone else’s plans really well, and stuck to the script. I am really good at dialogue, pulling topics from the air and even my substitute teaching was relevant. Not to mention…teachers kept calling me back. They wanted me there! Huh! So…that’s not what I went to school for and another job opportunity came up so I better do that. But after 1 year in a job leaving at 6 AM and returning at 6 PM I wasn’t satisfied, I had no time for my family and I wasn’t making a difference. At least not in my mind. I was good at my job, I play work just as good as I play school. I thought I’d get a teaching license while I worked but I was going to have to quit my job to student teach. I cannot afford that! If only I had known, two weeks after the deadline to enroll, I got laid off AGAIN. Two weeks after that…I’m pregnant?? How do I look for a job now?! Humf.
That started the spiraling career of teaching; I might add within this stretch I joined some ladies in a bible study…Spiritual Gifts. #1- Teacher, Are you serious? I’m just teaching to stay at home with my kids, I am not meant to teach. Yet babysitting turned to in-home certified daycare turned to: “I WANT THESE KIDS OUT OF MY HOUSE.”
I still don’t have a teaching license so…I’ll teach adults. Perfect! After 2 years of teaching Office Technology courses another “company” closes on me and I’m without a job. Are you serious? Thank goodness for the community college. That kept me afloat for 5 more years, but as courses changed, funding was depleted and I was working quarter-to-quarter to keep a contract; I was uneasy.
So to prove that I had other skills I picked up a summer job, not teaching this was 2010. 10 years after the original teaching experience. Here I am working a sweet gig and…I hated it! So, I took 2 weeks off to teach kids how to use computers and design documents for their 4H projects. I got paid well-enough to be off “work.” Then IT happened…I went home at the end of the 2 weeks and sitting at the dinner table I told my husband, “it’s been so nice not going to work the past couple of weeks.” Quizzically he looks at me and I smacked my forehead. Dummy! You were working, difference is…you like it!
The hard work, the work that doesn’t feel like work. That’s why I teach!