Who Thought Teaching Was a Good Idea?

Remember back, long before you actually went to college? Back then, you could be anything you wanted to be. Your future was a blank slate. Then, at some point, you made a decision to become a teacher. Why? you now ask yourself? What was it about teaching that made it sounds like a better idea than, say a toy tester or a candy maker? What made it sound like it would be more enticing than a lion tameror even a parole officer? Because as I see it, after 28 years, there are days when I ponder that question. Today being one of them!

I didn’t always want to be a teacher. Truth be told, I NEVER wanted to be a teacher. But it all happened so fast…sort of like when a turtle gets mugged by a couple of snails! I had it in my head that I wanted to go to college, but there was no particular field that really drew me in…until orientation week. 

At the college I attended, Bemidji State University, you had to declare a major before you started Freshman year. I was sitting next to my boy friend, at the time…currently my first husband. I tossed my head back onto the back of the couch…and sighed loudly. “What?” he asked impatiently. “I have to declare a major, and I have no clue what I want to do for the rest of my life.” He ignored me and continued to fill out his paperwork. I slid onto the floor and sighed louder. “What?” he asked more loudly. Rather indignant, I replied, “I just told you! I don’t know what to put down as my major!” Again, he continued to work on his own papers. I launched myself across his lap and looked up at him. “I don’t know what to be when I grow up!” I whined. He pushed me off of his lap and smoothed out his own registration papers – the ones that I had crumpled in my dramatic episode. “Just pick something easy. Be a teacher. They have an easy job.” Still lying on the floor, I sighed again. “Fine. How hard could that be?”

Needless to say, we were both very wrong. But don’t worry…he got his due! As the four years of college passed, he somehow got it into his thick head to switch his major from journalism to education. His reasoning: “Well, now that we’re married…(we got married after Freshman Year)…we could save money by sharing books.” Isn’t that just the best reason you’ve ever heard of for changing your major from something you really loved? Can you say cheap?

Tonight, he was late getting home from school. (He is now an elementary principal.) I called and left a message on his office phone and his cell phone, and I sent a text. About half an hour later, the phone rang. “Still at school. The police just left.” That was all I got, but it didn’t sound like a good day to me. I smiled! Huh! It looked like his bad day trumped my bad day.

Lately, at school, there have been lots of days like that: police, rain soaked carpets, moldy ceiling tiles, kids throwing up, kids absent, etc… It’s always something.

BUT… even with all that yucky stuff, it definitely adds interest to my days. Today, was not the best day for either one of us…but tomorrow might be. You just never know. And that’s what keeps me coming back…day after day for 173 days a year…for 28 years…for 8 more. That and the big, fat teacher paycheck! 🙂

Mary…the Phat/Fat Teacher

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