On being a high school English teacher.

One topic I've never really discussed on this blog is my life as an English teacher. Mostly because I'm afraid to say much  because teachers have to make sure to keep private & personal lives separate. However, I've gotten a few questions about what it's like to be a teacher, so I thought I'd touch on it a little bit. After all, it is a huge part of my life & who I have become over the past two & a half years.

I teach high school English to 10th, 11th, & 12th graders at a local charter school. Teaching is both an exhausting & exhilarating career choice. Those of you teachers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Every day is different than the one before which I LOVE.  However, it's not glamorous nor is it easy. Yes, we get summers off but we fully make up for that with the amount of "over time" we put in planning, grading, & simply worrying about our students after school hours & over the weekend. I love my life & my students, but there are many days where I just want throw my hands up in the air & give up. As a young teacher, I especially feel that teaching must be a passion of yours. There's some insane statistic that shows the percentage of new teachers that quit within the first five years is staggering. I don't find that difficult to believe. It's an emotional roller coaster that has caused me to put my head on my desk crying on multiple occasions. The truth of the matter: it's really freaking hard being a teacher.

I come from a family of teachers. My mother was actually my elementary school principal growing up (you guessed it-- I never got sent to the principal's office). My sister is a second grade teacher. As a teenager & up until graduation, I wanted nothing to do with teaching. However, after dabbling with a more creative major (photography), I realized it was no use fighting what fate had clearly already set before me. Now, I can't imagine doing anything else. It's one of the most fulfilling professions.

The students are the best part. They are the reason teachers stay. I'm not going to lie, I've come close to quitting before. However, I didn't because of my students. It's quite phenomenal how attached you can get to them. I work at a small charter school & am lucky enough to have a tight-knit group of kids that I get to really connect with. They are so freaking cool. I am continuously blown away by just how amazing they are. They've taught me so many things!

I know I'm leaving out so many things I want to say on this topic, but I will step off my proverbial soapbox & hope that I haven't scared too many of you away!  Don't worry. I don't plan on making this a teacher blog or anything from now on. I just wanted to share a  slice of my life that I've been keeping to myself for a while now on this blog. Also, please let me know if any of you have any other questions about teacher. I'd love to talk with you about this topic!

5 thoughts on “On being a high school English teacher.

  1. Betty

    I have the same job-charter and all. It IS hard. Most especially, it is hard with the current economy. I’m looking down the barrel of my school closing, and what do I do then? I don’t know if I could handle a public school after all the freedom I have had.
    I don’t really know what to say except I’m glad you shared this. I thought I had more, but you nailed it. The students do take up most of my head space. I forget about my husband, pets, plans for evening, everything when I’m in the classroom and we’re having fun (and then if a lesson falls flat I can’t sleep over it).They are brilliant. So much more brilliant then anyone gives them credit for, and yet their common sense! It is inconsistent!

    One thing I am struggling with is their disappointment. We did Poetry Out Loud recently and I had to make a really tough call about the winner, and then when that kid didn’t place at state she was devastated.I seriously couldn’t sleep. I don’t know how to handle their sadness when I offered them the situation in the first place.

  2. Nyla

    It’s my first year in high school and I’ve always wondered what being a teacher feels like. There’s still some questions lurking in my mind though. What do teachers do in the teachers’ lounge? Do they talk about students during their free time? I know it’s weird, but sometimes I wonder if teachers are people. Now, please don’t get offended. I think of that because teachers know A LOT, and they’re so nice!

    xxNyla
    thechroniclesofnyla.wordpress.com

  3. Emily Abigail

    Post author

    Betty,

    Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you on this topic until today! But, I’m so thankful for your comment. It’s honestly so great to connect with other teachers who truly understand all that goes into this extremely important profession. Teaching is definitely filled with disappointments. I guess we just need to focus on the moments in which we see them reach their full potential & truly soar! :)

  4. Emily Abigail

    Post author

    Hey Nyla! What an exciting time! I hope your first year of high school ended well! Sorry for not getting back to you sooner on this topic. The teacher’s lounge at my school is mostly a place for teachers to decompress and relax for whatever time they can. There may a few moments where we discuss what just happened in our classrooms, but we try to keep it light! :)

    Also, we are most definitely people! We cry & worry & make mistakes! :) I hope this was helpful. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

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