On Friday night, a co-worker brought his wife to “cake and cheer”. I’ve met her before and knowing that she’s a fairly new public school teacher, I asked her how that was going. She is indeed enjoying being a teacher, which was good to hear.
Hearing about her experiences as a public school teacher cemented a conclusion I came to about a year ago. I don’t think I could be a public school teacher. I certainly like the teaching part. When I was a TA in grad school, it was one of the most positive and enjoyable things I did while I was there. In fact, I’ve always thought I’d try my luck at being a college instructor if I ever got out of the game industry.
The reason why I don’t think I can be a public (or I guess private too) school teacher is the strict schedule they keep. Teachers have a rigid schedule that they must follow five days a week. Teachers can’t be late for their own class, nor can they skip out early from teaching a class. I couldn’t do that. I get to work at varying times: 9:55am, 10:07am, 10:16am, etc. No matter what time I start, I just leave eight or nine hours later. I’m allowed to be flexible like that. Sometimes, I’ll take my lunch at noon or 11:45am or maybe later like 1:30pm. Teachers can’t do that. They have to take lunch whenever their kids do and they have to be back on time, no matter what. Once in a while, I’ll take an hour or two from my day to go to the dentist, doctor, or whatever errand I have to run. How can teachers do that? I don’t think they can, they have kids to look after.
I am totally accustomed to a flexible working schedule. Seeing the constraints that teachers must work within, makes me additionally value their desire to provide a solid education to kids. They do get that awesome two months free in the summer but the rest of the year isn’t that way. So no teaching for me.