I recently wrote the most-commented article on this site to date about the number of hours teachers work and comparing those to standard business world people. As I write this one, I’m sure it will stir up just as many responses, though many of them will surely be in disagreement with me. Just keep reading, and tell me where I’m wrong at the end!
One of the comments to that article said something to the effect that “nobody works harder than teachers do!”
While I agree with the sentiment, I think it’s possible for our own passion to cloud our word choice at times.
Comments continue coming in about that article, and I saw an email right before I went to be last night about a comment by sciguy left on this topic. He explained that he had taught 2 years, he then went off to work in the business world for 10 years, he owned his own business for 3 years, and has been teaching again for the last 3 years.
His claim was that teaching is demanding, but it doesn’t exceed the stress or work involved in owning one’s own business. I had a sneaking suspicion that his comments were the truth.
I was disappointed when I checked my site this morning, didn’t see his comment, and then realized he had actually left it over on a similar post on Learn Me Good.
While I am keenly aware that our jobs are demanding and far more time-intensive than many people realize, the example I gave in my response was that of people in the medical field.
If I screw up in my work, someone gets some wrong information that I have to go back and correct later on down the road. If I don’t realize I’m wrong for a few years, it’s no huge loss.
If a doctor or nurse screws up, someone’s health (and potentially their life) is in jeopardy. Add to that the numerous long hours they work, and it can get to be a lot.
As sciguy brings to light, an entrepreneur is financially responsible for the success of the business. When you open your own business, if becomes your life.
And honestly, the job security of education is a pretty sweet deal too. I mean, people are going to continue making babies and that means ignorant people will continue to need to be educated.
When we walk into work each day — assuming we don’t do something stupid to a kid or break a law somewhere along the road — we pretty much can rest assured we’ll have a job until at least the end of the school year. That’s an assurance that most people in the business world don’t have.
I mean, even if a district is in a budget crunch (is there a district in the world that isn’t in a continual budget crunch? I swear I’m sick of hearing that over and over again!!!), they are pretty much guaranteed to keep you on the payroll until at least the end of the semester.
While it’s not the most lucritive job in the world as far as pay or hours or stress levels go, I think when we step back to look at the career honestly and in an unbiased way, we can all recognize that there is at least some level of cushiness involved with our line of work.
How many times do you think this conversation gets played out?
“What do you do for a living?”
“Oh, I go in to work at 9am, have an hour or more for lunch, have occasional meetings with clients and supervisors throughout the day, leave the office at 5, and spend the rest of the time doing whatever I feel like.”
“Wow, I wanted to do that when I was a kid. I totally respect you! It must be nice knowing that you are making a difference in the world.”
And yet how many times do we have the same question, tell them we teach, and get that response? We have it good, folks. Quit your whining and enjoy the rest of the summer!
Miss K has an awesome comment that I wanted to respond to in the article so people who stumble over here don’t miss it. Go read it first, and then read my response here.
@Miss K – I think you hit the nail on the head here. Passion. Dan Miller has a book called 48 Days To The Work You Love that I have heard highly recommended. One of the coolest blogs I’ve seen it The Chief Happiness Officer where he talked about loving your work.
I wonder how many teachers get in the business and realize they don’t absolutely love the thought of waking up each morning to go and teach! How sad that must be. Could it be that those people who find themselves in that place are somehow trapping themselves into a system that requires immense amounts of diligence and motivation that they simply don’t have?
I have written a handful of articles that address this very topic in one way or another:
- 9 Reasons To Quit Teaching (And 10 Reasons To Stick)
- 25 Tips For Less Stress
- 50 Reasons Why I Enjoy Being A Teacher
- 50 Reasons To Love Your Job As A Teacher
- 65 Things You Should Do Right Now To Avoid Burnout
- Help! I’m On The Verge of Burnout!!! Do I Quit Teaching Or What Do I Do?
- I Give Up! 10 Reasons Why I Am Quitting My Teaching Job
- Invalid Reasons Teachers Quit
- On The Brink Of Quitting
- Shut Up And Teach!
- The Dip
- The Honeymoon Is Over: What Killed My First Job And 7 Tips For Getting Your Next Job
- To Shut Up Or Not To Shut Up? That Is The Question
- Tools For Success
- Valid Reasons Teachers Quit
- Where Have All The Good Teachers Gone?