Every teacher, at some point, wonders why the heck they signed up to be a teacher.

Endless paperwork, class after class of kids who want you to prove to them why they should learn what you’re offering, colleagues who just want to pick up a paycheck, bosses who just want to nail you to the floor and keep you pumping out project after project so they can tick their boxes, hours-long meetings where the pertinent remarks could have been communicated in a 5-line email, the feeling that you’re re-creating something that’s been done a thousand times before – if you could just find it, the knowledge that no matter how much you get done, you could always do more… there are a lot of reasons why teaching can drive you nuts.

However, it has enough redeeming features to constantly remind us why we’re here. Once you get through those first gruelling years where it seems everything you do is wrong and everything you try is futile, you begin to notice things – that you’ve gone 3 weeks without a confrontation in your classroom, that you’ve managed to get your program done by the first week of the school holidays instead of the first week of school, that when you’re creating a unit you’re going, ‘oh, I’ve got something for that somewhere,’ instead of,’ okay, where the heck will I find information on that?’ and that you can’t remember when you last said to someone, ‘why am I doing this, again?’ And everyone has asked that, at some point.

So why are you doing your job?

Why am I doing this? Well, I’m lucky. Because I was never one of those people who ‘knew’ what they wanted to do. But teaching chased me until I gave in, and every time I’ve tried something different, I’ve hated it. Teaching’s got a lot to offer – changing loads to keep you from getting bored, short face-to-face hours to protect sanity, lots of resources – even if you have to go hunting for them sometimes, flexible programs and plans, and the choice of how you run your room and interact with your students. Sure, we could be paid more – we will, after all, make the next 3-4 generations of kids in this country into useful and viable citizens who will eventually run the place themselves – but at the end of the day, if we can keep our heads in the right space, there are plenty of reasons to feel satisfied with what we do.

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