Teaching is a soul-sucking, frustrating, and beautiful profession

Teaching is a soul-sucking, frustrating, and beautiful profession

JT Kordesich
Oct 18, 2018 · 2 min read
Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Talk to any teacher you know, and you will most likely hear a string of similar complaints.

“I have no time to pee.”

“This kid is being such a turd in class.”

“Seriously, I have two degrees and work 60 hours a week for THIS?”

And the sad part is, these complaints are only three of virtually limitless and legitimate complaints teachers in the United States have about their chosen field. Classes are too full, budgets are placed above student wellbeing, and no child is left untested.

We pour our hearts into our work, caring for our neglected students, pushing and pulling the unmotivated, and entertaining the apathetic. Being “on” from the crack of dawn to mid-afternoon is simply exhausting. “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings”, so we try to fill every moment with instruction and enlightenment. At the end of each day, we’ve unabashedly earned a small reward of wine, rolled ice cream, or killing pixellated zombies (my preferred form of positive reinforcement for a job well done).

We come in the next day to find complaints from students, thinly-veiled threats from parents, and increased regulations from administrators. Whether it’s a daily groan about homework, a plea for a reconsideration on the grade a child earned, or a reminder about lunch duty, it seems that the deluge of negative vibes is a stream against which teachers must constantly swim.

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Call me sick, abnormal, or insane, but I love it. The paycheck isn’t ideal, sure. The thought of confronting a parent, or even a student, is sometimes gut-wrenching. However, the recognition of pride on a student’s face when they give a correct answer is pure wonder. At a surface level, most teachers will admit to loving teaching for that reason alone: helping kids. I think it goes deeper than that, however, and that the extremes of teaching offer a deep learning opportunity for those who are open to it.

Every profession has its emotional highs and lows, and by no means is teaching unique in its swings from exuberant optimism to crushing negativity. For those in teaching, however, it is important to be mindful of those cycles, and to embrace the valleys of doubt as a counterpoint to the peaks of the “good days”.

The true beauty of teaching lies in the incontrovertible fact that while each day will undoubtedly bring a flood of adversity, it is also guaranteed to bring triumph and some inner growth.

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