I recently received an e-mail from a friend asking about teaching High School. She was asking for advice. I started by giving practical advice and then told her of the journey I’ve walked the first half of my year. I felt compelled to share it with those who still are faithful readers.
So, a teacher, huh? My best advice I can give is to start looking now. You are really going to want to start getting your name out now. What area are you looking in? If it’s a high-populated area, then the competition is going to be tougher. Take your resume and have Tom in Career Development beef it up. Schedule several meetings with him because you want your resume to look amazing. Make sure it has a bent towards education and childcare. Start sending it out and make sure you keep track of where you sent it. I made a spreadsheet of where and when I sent it off, further communication, etc. After two weeks, call the schools back and ask if they’ve received your resume.
I am going to be honest with you about teaching high school. It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever done before. I am up at the crack of dawn, at school before the sun is up, and all I hear all day is screams and much talking. As a first year teacher, I am at the bottom of the totem pole. All I hear is criticism; and I have to smile and agree. It’s a constant struggle to keep up with grading and a perpetual fight to maintain control of the classroom. For the first three months, I vowed I would not be coming back next year. I hated my job, hated the hours, hated the constant fear and feel of being the lowest of the low. Then, something happened. I looked into the eyes of my students one day as I was teaching. They were enthralled…by Theology! They were hanging on every word. It’s not like that everyday, but everyday that’s what I work for. I love that this is a completely selfless job. You don’t get paid squat, there’s hardly any benefits, you’re constantly criticized, and you literally never stop going. But, that’s not why I’m doing it. I do it because the looks in my kids’ eyes when I affirm them or answer a very important Theological question. I do it because I am finding fulfillment in being the lowest. In taking the kids hearts and souls in my hands I may be, through the grace of God, making sure they continue that long, arduous walk towards Heaven. I learned early on that there’s a difference between a good teacher and a great teacher; the good teacher teaches, and a great teacher learns while she teaches. I have learned a great deal. I have a post-it note on my computer in my classroom that says, “Remember that you are not here for you, you are here for your children.” Honestly, Cass, it’s the next best thing to being a Mom. The only difference: I don’t take my kids home at night.