Top 10 Reasons I Left Teaching

#RedForEd has been an awesome movement. I got to share in the fruits without doing any of the labor.

I just stayed inside an air-conditioned office enjoying my latest career…

You see, I used to be a teacher. Since college, all of my jobs have gotten progressively easier. I started as a small town newspaper reporter. Holy Shit, all the long hours, no vacation, criticism and typing you can handle for about $40 a day.

Early 90’s, I left journalism to teach. I was the only new teacher looking forward to a “raise”.

I lasted 7 years in front of those little fuckers, teaching 9th grade English and journalism. I didn’t really want to leave. I got recruited when I was getting a master’s degree. Thought I would try “corporate America” for a summer.

Holy shit was an office job easy. I officially resigned from teaching 2 weeks into a “real” job.

T-rex at #RedForEd protest

But the Bear kept teaching, and with #RedForEd success in Arizona, she is getting a raise… (so daddy might get a new pair of cycling shoes this summer).

That said, here’s my top 10 (or 11) reasons for leaving teaching to work in an office:

  • Cake — it is almost always somebody’s birthday and somebody brings cake. Free fucking cake, and time to eat it. Didn’t happen much at my schools.

  • No Bells — Office: wander in 8 or 9-ish, only have to be prompt when you have a meeting that you schedule or agree to. Teaching: you are Pavlov’s Dog and must “respond” to the sound of every bell.

  • No Bus Duty — sooner or later every teacher has to stand in the hot sun (or rain or snow) next to a bunch of busses with a billion wild beasts (especially parents) beating each other, throwing shit, screaming and running in front of huge moving vehicles. Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, I can still smell the diesel.

  • Urinary Tract Infections — there’s no peeing in teaching. You are bound to get an infection if you hold it long enough. And, you are responsible for deciding which little pissant really has to pee (or take a shit) or is just lying to wander around for 25 minutes. So in a few years of teaching, you can either get or give a metric ton of urinary tract infections.

  • A Million Decisions a Minute — don’t care how much responsibility or number of people you serve in your job, you will never have to make as many split-second decisions as teaching. Is this kid really bleeding, or is that ketchup? Who hit whom? Right answer, wrong answer? Is that a lie? Is that kid funny or is he a fucking bully? Why are you crying?…

  • Anger Management — Office: get mad take a walk, go to the bathroom — plenty of time to cool off. Teaching: get mad and there’s 30 kids who need you to calm the fuck down and do your job “right now.” Sounds easy — go try it for a few days — especially when two kids get in a fight or some little shit threatens to sue you or stab you with a sharpened pencil. See if you can keep your heart or head from exploding after the roller coaster of emotions hit you before lunch.

  • Crying — Office: never cried once in 20 years. Teaching: I had a parent complain to my principal: “he made 3 girls cry in his class today.” I said: “Look, I teach 9th grade, there is not a day that goes by that somebody doesn’t cry in this classroom, and sometimes it’s me.”

  • Bottomless Pit of Need — Teaching: no matter where you teach (but especially in poor areas) there are always kids who need food, clothes, a safe place to be, medical care, or someone who gives a shit if they live or die. There’s never enough you can do to help them all. Office: they just “need” someone else to clean their mess out of the fridge. (Fuck you, you lazy cube rats…)

  • Grading — I was teaching English, so there’s a mountain of shitty writing you must read and try to make better. It’s not just the work; it’s the judgement. Writing is really thinking clearly. So you are constantly telling small humans, their brains suck. It gets old — or worse, you get to like it waaayyy too much.

  • Entertaining Every Day — Comedians work for years to be funny for an hour. Teams of movie-makers kill themselves for months for 120 minutes of thrills. Novelists can work for decades on a book that will keep you awake for 20-30 hours. Teachers must entertain those little bastards for more than 1100 hours a year. But kids and parents complain school is booorrringg. “Fuck you, you ungrateful little shits. And tell your fucking parents, I’m not enthralled by their personalities either.”

  • Cash — After I left teaching, in 3 years I doubled my income without really trying. I’m not saying I was a good teacher. But if you want good teachers to stay, you should fucking pay them better than the guy in the next cubicle who spends 4 hours a day on Facebook complaining how hard his job is.