Teaching Is Not For Me

This post is a bit of a rant. You have been warned.

…I really needed to get this rant out of my system, OK? And I maybe wanted to see who else has felt this way, because I’ve felt grumpy about this for the past 48 hours or so.

So I had a meeting with my academic adviser yesterday – my first meeting of the school year. We discussed class options for the spring semester, made a very vague outline of courses up to and including my senior year, talked about study abroad stuff, et cetera. Most of the meeting was really helpful and awesome!

…until she said that maybe I should consider teaching. Like, I should take the required classes for prospective English teachers, and just focus on that and my major in journalism. And the teaching classes would be something to fall back on, because “many of [her] students change their minds about their careers.”

[Makes a variety of horrified expressions]

I said I was absolutely not interested in teaching, not even willing to consider it, because… well, one of the things that made me half laugh, half sob as I left her was that I LITERALLY JUST WROTE ABOUT THAT EARLIER THIS WEEK.

We had to write about our characters and their jobs as part of a character study assignment in my Creative Writing class, and I wrote about a young woman who becomes an English teacher because everyone told her that being a writer isn’t a good job, isn’t a “real” job. That she would be a “starving artist” sort of person. And then in the end she does become a writer and it’s 1000000% better than teaching.

…I do not want to teach. I SO do not want to teach. If you do want to teach, or you are currently a teacher, then I sincerely hope that it works out well for you! I really do! But for me? It wouldn’t work.

I don’t want to be stuck in a classroom. I have NO PATIENCE for teaching people. (At least not large groups. One on one? Sure, maybe. But classes? HAHAHAHA NO.) Like, my mom was a teacher for years and years – she taught math and science in middle schools and high schools – and she’s talked about feeling very limited in terms of what she could do with her students. And I think I would hate that sort of bureaucracy, too. I would totally be the sort of English teacher who would get ALL EXCITED ABOUT PROJECTS my first year or so of teaching and then become completely burned out because there would be no time for the fun projects, not when I had to “teach to the test.”

I want to write! I want to be a journalist, and maybe even do some photojournalism. And in my spare time, I want to write short stories and creative nonfiction and YA and sci fi and fantasy and mysteries and picture books and scripts and OMG ALL OF THE WRITING. I WANT TO DO IT ALL.

So yeah, I’ve been feeling pretty grumpy about that lately. I’m sure my adviser meant well, but it was just realllly frustrating to have her keep pressing this issue. Like, lady, I would not have chosen this university if I wanted to teach. I know what I came here for, and it’s not teaching. If I wanted to teach I wouldn’t have left my state. If I wanted to teach I probably wouldn’t have even left my town because there’s a college nearby – the one where I attended all my dual-credit classes, actually – and I would’ve gone there.

I SWEAR THIS LITTLE RANT OF MINE HAD A POINT BUT I SEEM TO HAVE LOST IT NOW. I don’t even know. I’m NOT frustrated with her for suggesting teaching, but when she kept asking and we had like a five-minute almost-but-not-quite-argument about being willing to try these classes? Yeah. I’m frustrated.

I really hate this idea of “adult thinks they know better than child/teen/young adult when it comes to the younger person’s career choises” and it’s just like… well, I know that plenty of college students change their major, some even more than once. But I’m not going to. I’ve known that I wanted to do this for years now, especially regarding the creative writing bit.

I’m honestly kind of surprised she kept bringing up teaching, particularly after I expressed the idea that I don’t have the right temperament for it, because there are sooo many other jobs you can have with a plain old English degree: Technical writer, editor, copywriter, PR person, social media manager, publisher.

I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT THE WRITTEN WORD. I’m just not passionate about the idea of teaching, I don’t know, literature to high school students. NOOOOOOO. DO NOT WANT. I am grateful, immensely grateful, to the English teachers I have had so far – EXCEPT YOU, MR. STAMPER, BECAUSE YOU SUCKED AND EVERYONE IN THE CLASS THOUGHT YOU WERE HORRIBLE BUT I DIGRESS – but their job is so not the one for me.

So FYI, if you suggest teaching as a possible career option? I won’t explode into a tiny ball of frustration if you just ask, but when people keep insisting that I should consider it, it makes me want to scream into the abyss. Like, no, really, I do understand my own personality and interests and teaching is so not the right choice. Teaching would suck out my soul just like Dementors do. I am sure of it. (Also, Mr. L, if you’re reading this: You were never my teacher but you did give me lots of good literature recs and I really appreciate that and I hope this post didn’t make you grumpy… but I’m a writer-y person not a teacher-y person.)

P.S. I watched the series nine premiere of Doctor Who today and during the scene in Clara’s classroom, it struck me that even if being an English teacher allowed me to travel through time and space with the Doctor, I STILL WOULDN’T DO IT. NOPE. NO WAY. IT IS JUST NOT THE RIGHT JOB FOR ME.

(I would be the lady from series three who writes a book about him, OF COURSE.)


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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8 Responses to Teaching Is Not For Me

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I find it super frustrating when people press their opinion on to me like it’s THE ONLY OPINION. Gah. I think sometimes we do need direction and advice and other perspectives? But yeah. If you don’t want to do it, I feel like you shouldn’t have to justify your career choices!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Exactly! If I’d been floundering around and thought that I /maybe/ wanted to major in English but wasn’t sure what specific career I wanted, then her suggestion would’ve been super helpful! And I’m sure that’s why she brought it up in the first place – it has probably helped a lot of students, or at least given them ideas about what they might want to do with their life. But then I was like NOOOOOO and she kept going on about it and I was sitting like an awkward uncomfortable lump in my chair. :/

  2. I think I would actually enjoy teaching, because I really love school, but the whole “teaching to the test” thing is what bothers me the most – it’s not really about learning, it’s about doing well in exams, which SO should not be the point. Which is why I’m really excited that the university degree I want to do doesn’t have exams, only assignments and projects…SO COOL.

    Follow your dreams, Engie, don’t let them bring you down 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      IKR? I’m like 99% sure I don’t want kids, but if I did I would totally homeschool them, because I would love teaching one-on-one (or one-on-two or one-on-three). But teaching a large group? And teaching to the test? KSDJHGFDKGJDKFJFDS NOOOOO.

      Thank you!

  3. Mom says:

    I understand your frustration. I dealt with a similar situation with my adviser, except he kept telling me I absolutely did NOT want to be a teacher, when YES, that is actually what I DID want to be. And I still love teaching, but on my terms, not public school terms.

    So, next time you meet with her, be polite and firm in what you want to do with your life. Pursue internships in the fields you listed (technical writer, editor, copywriter, PR person, social media manager, publisher.). Show her you mean business!! 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      I will. 🙂 It was just weird that she didn’t, you know, MOVE ON after I reacted that strongly to her suggestion. (I said, “Oh my god, NO!”) And then she didn’t ask about any other career options? It just seemed odd to focus on teaching, keep pressing the issue when it was obvious that I was just like “ew, no”, and not even talk about all the other things I could do with an English degree that are much more dependable than writing fiction for a living? I totally understand why she brought up having something to fall back on if writing stories doesn’t work out, but teaching just seemed like a super unoriginal suggestion – not to mention that there’s so much I can do with an English degree.

  4. moosha23 says:

    Oh I get it. Being a teacher is so limiting for me – I’ve been told it’s the “proper” thing to do if I’m planning to work at all (!!) but of course I’ve got my sight set on other things. 😀 Great post!

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