I know, teaching is challenging work, it is difficult work, it is more than anyone who hasn’t taught could possibly imagine. I know.
I also know that teaching has its perks.
Last year I decided to walk away from the classroom. I wanted to finally take the break that I’ve been saying I needed for a few years. In part because I was getting disenchanted and I didn’t want to become one of “those” teachers, still there year after year and no longer enjoying the work. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved working with children but I preferred taking them out on field trips or just chatting rather than doing lesson plans related to standards and such. I really loved talking about reading and writing and so I decided that I wanted to be a literacy coach. So here I am, a literacy specialist with a non-profit organization in New York. I love what I do. I love that I get a chance to work on literacy with young children, I love that I get free reign to design the lessons as I see fit and that my bosses are open to ordering resources that I need. I love that I get to work with students for two short, sometimes long, hours each day and the rest of my time is spent reading, writing, and researching ways to best serve them. But I miss the perks of teaching.
I miss days off. I miss having my own group of students that are mine. I miss recess time where I could actually go outside and feel sunshine on my skin. I miss prep time. I miss days that end at 4pm (yes I know, teachers are working on weekends and into the wee hours of the morning but you choose to do so, it isn’t required that you stay in the building.) I miss summers off. I miss colleagues to bounce ideas off of and I miss watching students grow from the beginning of the year til the end.
Now, to be blunt, some of the things that I miss I haven’t experienced in the last year of teaching. I sometimes wonder if I’m just doing the old grass is greener thing. And soon enough I’ll be back. I know it. But today, as I sit under these florescent lights with no window to see out of and feeling trapped by my desk and computer, I miss recess. I want to go outside and play. I miss the feeling of knowing that spring break is coming soon. And I miss students.
Perhaps I’ll get over it.