To all aspiring teachers: You get a great vacation schedule for this job, but don’t let anyone tell you it is a five day week. You will work nights. You will work weekends. Depending on what you teach, you may work almost all weekends and nights during the school year. Elementary school is easier. Core subjects such as math, English, social studies and science at the middle school and high school math can be rough. You must give regular homework. If you want the kids to do that homework, you need to grade and return the work reasonably quickly. (One complaint I have with the current heavily scripted regime at my school: I hardly ever have time to go over the homework. It’s not built into the obligatory lesson plan.) You have to prepare for the week’s classes, a process that may involve trips to Michael’s, The Learning Store or a local grocery store.
I suggest teaching gym classes to anyone who likes physical education, with the caveat that there are not many jobs for graduates in this area. You have to be willing to move. I envy those gym teachers sometimes, though. They give almost no homework, have to grade a rare badminton test or two, and often make more money than regular teachers because of coaching opportunities.
Eduhonesty: I don’t want to make teaching sound bad. Really, grading’s not that hard. I make my tea and toast, put on Law and Order or some other relatively mindless TV, and relax in my jammies while working through the papers. I enjoy Michael’s and the Learning Store. I am looking forward to this quiet Sunday of printing lesson plans and checking data.
Certain shows are perfect for grading. Cops works well. I look up every so often to take in the spectacle, but I never have to worry about what I missed. New Orleans PD doesn’t care if I am riveted to their bold attempts to control Mardi Gras, while snapshots of drunken people who pee in the street provide a little entertainment to break up my routine. Bar Rescue’s a win too. I don’t have to watch every dishonest bartender, but I like to tune in for the final salvation of Moe’s Honey Trap and Biker Bar.
Just making it real here for anyone who is thinking of entering this profession.