Feels like I need to open up a new post every time you people come out to play ’cause the commentary is too fine to restrict it to the comments page. I’m very grateful for the advice of people who’ve already made their selection from this buffet line.
Also, naturally, I appreciate the affirmation of my current classroom position. It isn’t on account of any dissatisfaction that we’re having this conversation.
Why Quit The Classroom
There are, however, two reasons why I don’t think I’ll retire thirty years from now (or whenever they let me retire) a classroom teacher, why I’m pretty sure it can’t last much longer.
- One is that growin’ up will seriously affect my effectiveness, which isn’t to deny the effectiveness of a whole lotta thirtysomething (and beyond) teachers out there.
I’m just keenly aware how much of my strength as a teacher derives from my ability to relate to student culture, to talk like they talk and dress like they dress without looking like a sneaker-wearing, slang-slinging anachronistic joke.
- The other reason is possibly the most tragic revelation of my short career, that in spite of good advice to find balance, to moderate the amount of time I spend on lessons, I cannot.
I get these ideas, you know, stuff that is obviously superior to what I taught last year and, though I know the tax my body is paying in developing them, though I know that creating them until one in the a.m. is leaving me too depleted to teach them well, I can’t not. It’s not in me to not.
I’m kinda shocked by the melodrama in what I’m typing next, but I find it completely true that what I love most about this job is what’s eventually gonna drive me away from it
Workaholicism’s always gonna be a demon I’ll have to chain and feed, but with as much foresight as I’ve got in me, I don’t think it’d be near the same problem in a job where I don’t feel obliged to entertain as much as I do in this one..
If, however, I find myself relating to my kids this well even into my twilight years (30+) and if I find the load easier to bear, there will be few jobs out there to tempt me from the classroom.
Why the Admin
- Without indicting any administrators I’ve worked with, either past or present, I find so much lacking in the relationship between principal-teacher and principal-student. I’d like a chance at that one.
- I want to make teachers’ jobs easier, make it easier for them to teach well, unfettered by the unnecessary. (Man, how many lame administrative careers were launched with that motto in mind?)
- I feel an instinctive facility for leadership, interpersonal communication, presentation, and design which high school freshmen only stretch so far.
- An admin credential would keep me closer to students than a doctorate would. (Pending correction from Dan.)
- It’s hard watching the best classroom blog on the ‘net slowly transform into the best administrative blog on the ‘net without wanting to put some money down on that action.
Why the Doctorate
- It’s where my gut â€” an unreliable consigliere if ever one was â€” is pushing me right now.
- I need to teach older kids, I think, kids for whom entertainment isn’t such a priority. It’s the entertainer slice that’s murdering me right now.
- I had a ridiculously positive teacher ed experience, one which I feel equipped to emulate.
- Corrections always requested, but whereas an administrative credential draws out over a fixed career arc, my impression is that a doctorate spokes off in a few more directions.
- I’m tempted to take my practice entirely online, hopping on the payroll of Phoenix, Capella, and anyone else who’ll have me, maintaining flex scheduling (maybe teaching 60% on the side) and a mobile lifestyle. Is that bad? That’s bad, isn’t it?
Next fall one of them’s gonna happen.
Y’all have been a lot of help so far and if any of this strikes you as particularly right, wrong, or worthy of comment, please have at it.