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Turn and face the strain

I've been contemplating a career change for a while now. At first I thought that maybe teaching somewhere different - a school less crowded, or a school with a more motivated students, perhaps - would make things better, but the more I think about it, the more I want to leave the classroom completely.

I love making connections with students and I love sharing my love and knowledge of literature with others, but I'm not entirely sure that this is the life I want to lead. I find myself struggling to fit the mold of "teacher" because I am not what a teacher is traditionally supposed to be. And I don't think there are enough people like me to start some sort of revolution of non-traditional teachers.

- I'm not a stickler for rules and discipline and forcing children to behave. I hate it, I really do. Maybe I'm more college-y when it comes to this point, but I'm very much of the "If you don't like it in my class, get the hell out" way of thinking. But, of course, I can't just toss out anyone who doesn't want to be here. They're entitled, by law, to an education.

- I hate homework. At least, I hate busy work. I see homework as an extension of what we're doing in class, and most of the time, I will manage to try and fit everything into class time, so there isn't usually homework. And I refuse to assign arbitrary homework.

- I'm no angel. Teachers are public figures and "role models," and I don't want to be anyone's shining example of good behavior. I have tattoos. I use profanity. I enjoy rated-R entertainment. I'm opinionated, and I don't like to stifle my opinion: I'm atheist, I'm pro choice, gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana AND prostitution. I'm a believer in sex education and readily-available contraception. I don't believe in sugar-coating important issues, and I don't believe in hiding who I am. Maybe a lot of people actually agree with me on these points, but I can imagine that there are many students whose parents would prefer that their children are not taught by someone like me.

- I don't like all my students. (I like most of them, but not all.) No teacher likes ALL of his/her students. I guess what I mean to say is that, I hate having to be nice to the students that I don't like, just because it's my job. I'm not allowed to tell the kid that's totally being an a-hole that he is a total a-hole, and he needs to change. It doesn't mean that I would give him less of an education or slack off on my job; I just feel like I am at his mercy because it is MY job on the line. I can at least get away with ignoring coworkers that I don't like. But not kids. I guess this is similar to having to work customer service - another thing I really hated.

But the thing is, I don't know what else I could do with myself. The job market sucks right now anyway, but even if there were a ton of jobs available, I have no clue how to proceed. I'm not in a position to go back to school or do further training - I've got a household to support.

Ideally, I would love to remain in academia. I've ALWAYS dreamed of becoming an English professor - it's all the things I love about teaching without the things I listed above, mostly - but even before the downturn in the economy, tenure-track positions were scarce. And I am technically qualified to teach at community college right now, but it's not the same thing. And I'd get stuck teaching a lot of the same types of students that I teach now, I bet.

Other than that, I can't think of anything that I am qualified to do that would also be enough to support a household (yarn store owner, makeup artist, freelance writer, etc). I would love the idea of doing some sort of non-profit work, but again, I don't know what sorts of positions I'm qualified to take on.

I wouldn't mind teaching for longer, but I don't know how much longer. I don't want to be here so long that I start hating it, because this is absolutely the type of job that you have to be in LOVE with to want to do. And I just don't think I love it enough.

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