Summer classes don’t start for a few more weeks, so I’ve had some extra idle time to think and come up with questions about what teaching will be like. I wonder if some of us who are going into this are like innocent, starry-eyed children, believing in ideals and goodness and changing the world through education. (I recently wrote an essay for a scholarship competition that had that perspective, I admit.) For myself, I’ll tell you I think I’ve always been that way—idealistic about humanity and life’s possibilities—but I’ve balanced it often with heavy doses of cynicism and pessimism about the ubiquitous dismal state of things that seems to pervade societal politics and operations. I digress.
I bring it up because I think that those of us who are excited about having a positive impact in our communities and on our nation’s youth are somewhere in our minds expecting to be rudely awakened by the less-than-ideal reality that faces all teachers. Teacher burnout was a topic brought up in the few interviews I’ve had so far for mentorship positions (which I don’t think I got, sadly). So maybe we, or I at least, need a bit of knowledge about what to expect when we actually start teaching. Maybe this will help soften the blow when we step into the classroom for the first day on our own and the stars fall out of our eyes.
When I get any answers to these questions, I’ll post them. Also, I’m always coming up with questions, so this list will grow with time and extended periods of idleness.
- How much can I really expect to make teaching in Georgia with a Master’s? (It’s also all about the money.)
- Is it worth it financially to get special ed, gifted, and/or ESOL endorsements?
- What will my hours be on a typical day? Is it realistic to expect to leave soon after the end of the school day?
- How secure will my position be when and if I attain one?
- Is it ridiculous to think I could make it long term in the Atlanta Public Schools system?
- Will I be able to coordinate and work with other teachers on such things as coteaching or coplanning?
- How secure is the mandatory teacher’s retirement plan and pension? Really.
- Is it at all reasonable to think that I could get a job teaching high school one day without returning to school for another degree?
- Is this work going to be able to support me and my daughter like I’m hoping?
- What possibilities are there for me to earn additional income (as a teacher, not a waiter) during summers?
- Am I delusional in hoping I’ll be able to save, support, and do a little traveling every year (hello, Paris) on this salary?
- How good and how expensive are the benefits? Dental? Acupuncture?