I remember sitting in my car on a cold morning, situated somewhere in late January, contemplating whether or not I was actually going to go into the school and start my day, or if I was going to drive away as fast as I could and never look back. I texted a friend of mine, who is also a teacher, and said that I was quitting my job and going into selling insurance. He told me that I just needed to get through my first year, and then it would get easier. I ended up going in and teaching that day, mostly because I thought about the fact that I had left my favorite travel mug on my desk the night before.
I spent much of the next few weeks thinking about the great beyond that would come after the conclusion of my first year of teaching. I thought about the year worth of lessons that I could spend a few minutes tweaking, instead of hours creating. I thought about all of the classroom management techniques I had learned, and all of the development I would have under my belt when I got the chance to start again. I would no longer be the new teacher, I would just be Ms.G.
Everything came crashing down in March. The world was shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic and that meant a mad dash to transitioning to distance learning. I took it in stride, and leaned into my past side hustle as a YouTube content creator. I tried my best to forget everything I had learned the first half of the year about what it meant to be a teacher. Now it is July and the future of what my job will look like next year is up in the air. I fear that my dreams of only having to spend a few unpaid minutes outside of my contract time on creating lessons has been dashed. I am mentally preparing myself to give up my nights and weekends for a second year in a row, all in the name of education. However, this year as a darker shadow cast on it. This year I am being asked to give up my nights, weekends, and possibly, my life.
I have thought a lot about whether it is worth it to continue in this field. I love teaching. Engaging with my kids and sharing the information and knowledge I’m passionate about with them makes me infinitely happy, but at the end of the day I am broke, tired and scared.
How much do I have to sacrifice? I have reckoned with the low compensation, the lost nights and weekends and the out of pocket expenses, but I don’t know if I can reckon with the potential of losing my life.
I love teaching, but I don’t want to die for it.