Friday, January 24, 2014

Scratching the Surface: The Pros, Cons and Laughable Moments of my Job

Every job has its pros and cons, even the jobs where our passions lead us. I'm a former professional event planner and am dying to get back into planning weddings/events again, but even with doing what I love, there were still some downfalls.

Currently, I'm a Freshmen and Sophomore English teacher. I definitely like my job, but I'm not head-over-heels in love with it, like I was with event planning.

With that said...

Let's talk about the good, the bad, and the downright hilarious. 

The Good : 

1. Summers off, Christmas Break, Fall Break, Spring break and occasional snow days.
2. In the state of KY,  teacher retirement is AWESOME. I save for retirement (I'll make a little more monthly in retirement, since they won't actually be taking out the amount I put in to retirement every month.) and I never see the money, so I can't miss it. I'm not sure I could easily save for retirement if I had to see the money and cut a check every month.
3. Having a classroom to decorate. LOL.. My current theme is mustaches.
4. The variety - no day is the same. You deal with multiple personalities everyday - some lessons get the kids excited, while others make you want to offer them some cheese with that whine.
5. The light bulb moments when students finally get something! 
6. Developing a rapport with your students and co-workers. I've met some of the greatest people through teaching. 
7. The products of innovative assignments. I recently had a group of kids recreate one of the scenes from Romeo & Juliet using only Instagram. I was impressed with outside-the-box thinking.
8. Innovative Lesson Planning - it's fun to get enthusiastic over lessons that you know students will like.

The Bad: 

1. Too many snow days will mean the school year has to be extended - no bueno.
2. Your job isn't safe until your tenured, meaning you're riddled every year with anxiety until you've been offered a job.This can make it difficult to plan for buying a home, etc.
3. Definitely wish we got paid a little more. A lot of teachers take on additional part-time jobs (me included), or take on extra-service roles (include me in this, too) in order to make a little more cash flow.
4. In the district where I work, we only get paid once toward the latter part of the month (and in the Summer, we get paid for July a week after we are paid for June) Budgeting is not my strong suit.. I'll have all this money for like a week and a half... then bills are paid and I'm poor for almost 3 weeks.
5. If you have to take a sick day, or personal day, doing sub plans is a time-consuming pain. It's almost easier sucking it up and teaching when you're under the weather.
6. There is A LOT of stress associated with the grades that are tested by the state (10th grade is a testing year - GAH!)  You want the students to do well and the accountability, at this point, rests mostly on the teachers shoulders.
7. Babysitting the unmotivated, apathetic student or constantly redirecting negative or distracting behaviors 
8. Some professional development opportunities are COOL, while others are a total snooze-fest.
9. Seeing the effects of bullying
10. Grading A LOT of papers. With English, it can sometimes take 5-10 minutes per paper, multiply that by 150 students, for one paper assignment. That time adds up.
11. Lesson Planning 

The Downright Funny:

With students, you NEVER know what kind of answers you are going to get. I love to offer my own commentary too.. bahaha

Taken straight from some of my student's work... 

This student decided to use her inference skills to suggest that some of these micro stories are about strippers and moody girls on their period. My commentary is in blue.

After wrapping up the historical context surrounding Shakespeare, this student decided to rename the Bubonic Plague...

And in encouraging them to defend their opinions in their writing, this is what a "Would you Rather" supported opinion looks like... Enjoy. 
What are some things that have you made you laugh while on the clock?

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