I get it. You watched “Dead Poets Society” and that infamous Oh Captain, My Captain scene and you wanted that moment.
You’re passionate about a particular subject and the thought of getting paid to continue your studies with a bunch of junior versions of yourself sitting in perfect rows, so rapt with attention that they miss the bell at first; and then still linger to learn MORE…oh, it just warms those cold recess of your soul! Gimme some of that!!!
Or, maybe it’s the idea of being your own Pied Piper in a room. Guiding eager young minds in the quest of the infinite. Expanding horizons, developing their passions, & sending them out into a world of discovery. It’ll be like having Your own set of Minions being groomed to take over the Tri State Area!
Are you NUTS?!?
Sugar, let’s look at the reality: that movie moment? Yeah, those were actors paid to pay attention. The reality is that keeping 30+ kids in line is an art form that many never fully develop & suffer mental anguish at the lack. That stuff you want to research? About that…odds are good that you won’t get more than one curricular day to talk about it (if even that). And as far as having the last say in your classroom? Oh, honey! Every bureaucrat, district leader, building leader, parent, student (heck, even the bagger at the grocery store & the cashier at McDonalds) is going to *know* better than you what you should be doing; and Heaven help you if you think you can just politely ignore their demands. They all watch the news for the release of those test scores from that amazing test that can magically measure your ability as a professional by asking your student a series of multiple choice questions written by non-educators. After all, those who can do & those who can’t teach. Am I right? *nudge, nudge*
In today’s world of education, you are a tool. Both in the traditional & coloquial sence. You are the implement those in power will wield to enforce some new (& totally created by others containing less experience with both kids and education) idea. You are also the “tool”, that rediculous idiot, that all the above will blame for thing both completely out of your control & the few things that might be. Like being the poster child for the professionally ignored? Become a teacher!
You will be held accountable. Even when no one knows what the heck is going on (which set of standards are we following today? Well, I don’t care if Bobby hasn’t had enough to eat this past month or that Kiera’s family had a devistating event last week. YOU should have prepared them for this!). Your job security will be in the hands of people who have never been in your position, or have purposely left that position because they didn’t like the environment. Encouraging, huh?
Please, PLEASE, do not go into education!
You will get your heart broken a bit every year. These kids will become your kids. You will wipe tears away, hug away hurts, cheer for their accomplishments big and small…and then they will leave without thanking you. By the way, You won’t care about that. You’ll be too busy with your own box of tissues at graduation.
Your bank account will never be anything to brag about (savings??? What is this magic thing others speak of?). There will never be a big enough budget to cover your classroom needs, so you’ll have to dip into your already laughable paycheck to make sure there are crayons, colorful posters, maybe some of those plastic drawer things for kids to use. Oh, did I mention that to skimp on these will directly & negatively impact that evaluation mentioned above? Great, right?!?
No one will respect you. You with your double-major, post graduate degree & certifications in multiple areas who converses regularly with nationally renowned experts in your field will be constantly harassed by people with less education and no experience (but plenty of money) telling you that you have no clue how to do the job you spent years training (and continuing to train) to do.
…but we need you…
You. That glorious, crazy, passionate, loving, high energy, don’t-back-down-from-a-challenge you is exactly what education needs. Education needs those oddballs that say there’s value in imagination, and play, and all those “soft” skills that cannot be measured by some pricey test. Nerf gun fight in the quad? Eggggggselent!
Your “never say die” Goonies self is exactly what those kids need – as a model, a mentor, a coach, a clansman, and a never-give-up-on-your-dreams example that there is nobility in following a calling (you do know that the money sucks, right?) & that finding satisfaction in your work isn’t necessarily about dollar signs.
I hope you get your Captain moment, but I have to admit: those rumors about training your bladder are true.
Still, it’s worth it. All the abuse from the media, the political maneuvering, the efforts you make in the face of opposition when you know it likely won’t find success; it’s all worth it for the kids.
THEY matter most.
…and I hope you get the room down the hall. I’ll show you where the secret stash of extra paper is 😊