I was probably only six or seven when I started telling people that I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. I was also going to be a witch, a dancer, a veterinarian, a reporter, a writer, and an astronaut…only some of those stuck.
- You'll always earn a low salary, especially considering the education required, the importance of the work, and the stress and danger involved.
- It's the only profession I know of where people who have never attempted the work themselves (or worse yet: FAILED at it) are in charge of the system, and the whole world thinks they know better than the trained professionals how to do the work. (Well, maybe mothering--that also came with a TON of irrelevant, hateful, and unwanted "feedback" from people who don't know a darn thing about it--we can talk another time about misogyny and the value of women's work).
- You might as well change your middle name to scapegoat, because you'll collect ALL the blame and none of the credit.
- The stress levels are sky-high and self-care is just two words people like to say, about as useful as sending "thoughts and prayers" during a tragedy. No one means it; no one cares.
- It's physically dangerous. More schoolkids than police officers have been killed in our country this year by gun violence, and their teachers die trying to save them. Between school violence, stress-related health damage, unsafe and poorly maintained work environments (school buildings), and contagious illnesses, teachers die from the work every day. Your life is on the line.
- You'll be overworked every single day. Schools are underfunded, which leads to being understaffed, which leads to one person shouldering a work load more appropriate for three to five people.
- People will call you a hero, but it's lip service they pay to avoid paying you in respect, support, or dollars (you know: things that MATTER and might make a difference). It's disingenuous at best, and often far darker than that.
- You'll feel helpless a lot because you can see the problems and what needs to be done, but you don't have the tools, time, or resources to fix things. It'll break your heart a little bit every day…and can eventually make you shut down out of self-protection.
- Sometimes I stayed out of passion--to try and make change from the inside.
- Sometimes I stayed because I'd been gaslighted so much that I'd internalized the idea that the problems were about me instead of about the work conditions.
- Sometimes I stayed out of exhaustion--too tired to put in the footwork to find something else.