Americans are known for their work ethic.* According to the website below we rank 9th in the world for the number of hours that we work each year. It has become the norm for both men and women to put in long hours to raise their level of income and reach the American dream. I’m sure many people need these funds to provide a level of comfort that we have grown to accept in America, but where do we draw the lines of enough and too much?
As a teacher my friends often make light of the fact that I usually work 6.5/5/190, or 6.5 hours a day, five days a week, and 190+ days a year. It doesn’t do much good to tell them that it takes nearly an hour to prepare for each hour of quality lesson. Each day I have paperwork to fill out for every aspect of my job, and must communicate with several different constituents all while managing a class of 20+ students. To do a quality job of teaching it requires me to put in far more hours than are printed on my paycheck. The public sentiment is that teachers should be pitied for our career choice, but I find more and more how I pity those outside of education.
My first example is my neighbors and friends who are out working from dawn till dusk to gather more toys to park in their front yard. I actually have the time off needed to enjoy life. Second, I recently had a millionaire business man ask me, “Do your kids like you?” and my answer was, “yes.” I get to spend time with my family every day and I am involved in their lives. Third, I hear of so many people who are lonely and just don’t seem to know anybody in these impersonal times. I usually can’t go anywhere in our community without meeting at least one person that I have touched through my teaching. I could go on and on.
When I look at the fact that my government has positioned my income just above the poverty line, I can get pretty mad. Yet, I try to keep my focus, not on my bank account, but on my quality of life. And for me there is no better life than that of teaching. When I die with my few last pennies I will have left the world a better place and the hundreds of lives that I have impacted will live on. Until then, I’m going to enjoy life, I’m on summer break. To the rest of the world, have fun at work.
(Tell me in the comments below what your favorite part of teaching is)