Let me tell you…

why I teach school.

I can tell you this because I think I have finally figured out the answer. Or at least I have figured out enough to be able to form some type of response to the question that is asked more often than you would believe.

Because, as many of you know, I had forgotten why I taught school. It hadn’t slipped my mind, necessarily. It’s more like it was covered, smothered, chunked, and drowned by a bad year. A really bad year. A “why-in-the-world-am-I-doing-this?” year.

I’ve wanted to teach school since I was in elementary school. Tatum and Sally took more tests and quizzes than any other siblings in the world. When I didn’t get into the early childhood program at UGA, it broke my heart. A weird turn of events, and a God-send of an advisor, changed that and allowed me to become a teacher.

So I taught. I taught 5th grade for 2 years in Jackson County and now I’m in my 2nd year teaching 4th grade in Woodstock. It’s nothing like you think it is. It’s harder and easier, at the same time. The things that you think would be the worst parts (paperwork, parents) are really small compared to meetings, band wagon educational philosophies, financial worries, and children who are no longer raised by their parents but are raised by MTV instead. But yes, I do get 2 weeks at Christmas and the summers off. And yes, I do finish everyday at 3:00pm. (I knew you would say that- everyone does.)

My first year teaching, I was passionate and creative. I was dedicated and exhausted. I thought I knew everything and I really knew nothing. Except this- I loved those children. I prayed for those children. I put my hand on each of their heads every Monday morning and prayed. Of course, they thought I was just looking for lice (no lie!), but it was an open door, so I took it.

But like any profession, you settle in and that which was fun and exciting before is now mundane. The love for the children is smashed by the stresses and discouraging situations- rude parents, sad home lives, not being allowed to just teach, the GCRCT, complete disrespect from the kids, etc.

And then you get the class from hell. Not all of them, of course, but enough that (knock on wood) they will be considered the worst class I ever had. And it caused this crisis of belief. Why was I even there? I could definitely find another job. I love writing. For that matter, I love Chick-fil-A. I could work there. All summer I made plans to quit teaching. I was going to find another way to earn money that didn’t involve any public school system in Georgia.

These thoughts, these questions about whether this was really God’s best plan for my life, have been in my mind for over a year. (One of those overturned tables. You with me?) And when decision time arrived this week, when that intent form for the 2007-2008 school year was put in my box, I honestly had no idea what to do.

So I went to the movies.

$9.50 later, I know why I’m a teacher.

To be continued………

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