Top Ten Things I WON’T MISS About Being a Teacher

As I’ve said many times in the past few weeks, I am soon hanging up my teaching hat for full-time motherhood.  As I think about the days and months ahead, I find it difficult to understand what my life will be like without teaching.  I am obviously really excited and feel so blessed to be making this step, but after a few years in the classroom, I don’t know anything else!  I decided to devote a top ten this week to the things I definitely won’t miss next year.  Next week’s will be the Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Teaching because I really do like my job and don’t want to dwell on the negative.  Some things just stink though!  Here they are:

[For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, head over to see Oh Amanda, by the way.]

  1. Very very limited bathroom breaks.  Does the urge to pee always strike you at scheduled intervals?  Of course not!  Too bad though.  Try leaving a class full of kids to go to the bathroom. Add to this equation that class changes only allow 6 minutes and at my school there is ONE faculty bathroom that services about 25 adult women, and you have a recipe for some serious discomfort.
  2. I have to get myself, a baby, a packed lunch, and a breast pump out the door at 6:45 everyday to be at school on time.  Fun!  Bonus:  I have two large dogs and a husband who travels a lot.
  3. GRADING.  I don’t think most people really consider the time required to assess assignments for approximately 150 high schoolers.  I teach English specifically, so much of that is written work.  I am currently looking at 73 essays, 63 portfolios, 30 projects, and 93 final exams before I can turn the page to my new life. Ugh.  Here’s my current stack.  Just looking at it frightens me.

    ....and this does not include 50-something more reasearch papers that wouldn't fit in the photo
  4. Apathetic faces. I look at them every. single. day. I mean I try to mix it up with something interesting that involves student participation, and I usually get rewarded with a few kids who really “get it” and make my job worthwhile, but there’s always that kid in the back who just can’t wipe off the “I hate this” expression, regardless of what song and dance I come up with.
  5. Insane parents. There are some crazies out there!  We all want to be involved in our kids’ education, but is it really necessary to send me a long email asking why your kid has an 89% in my class?  While I’m at it, please don’t try to have a serious conference with me in the greeting card aisle at Target on a Sunday afternoon when I’m with my family.
  6. Being blamed for society’s woes.  Apparently everything that’s wrong with America comes back to our public schools and those teachers who don’t do their job.  I’ve had to politely leave a cocktail conversation a time or two, and I cannot tolerate certain conservative talk radio hosts for that very reason.  I invite Neil Boortz to do my job any day.  Let’s see how that goes.
  7. The breast pump. First let me say that I am really grateful to have a good pump and grateful that solid, hospital-grade pumps are accessible to modern women.  Jude is still breastfed, and we’re going strong because of my pump.  I am thankful for that.  That said, I am SO OVER sitting in a supply closet 3 times a day, washing those pump parts every night, and packing that bag every morning.  As Kelle Hampton says, the pump seems to mock me as it rhythmically screams CRA-ZY, CRA-ZY,CRA-ZY,CRA-ZY. There is something so beautiful, fulfilling, and lovely about nursing a baby. There is something so ugly, weird, and mechanical about hooking yourself to two humming plastic cones.  Don’t even get me started about the time a MALE COWORKER walked in on me.  The horror.
  8. Buying my own classroom supplies all the time. I should keep a running tally of the money I spend on grading pens, colored paper, markers, poster board, instructional materials, tissues, and hand sanitizer.  I’m afraid the number would scare me and lead to heart failure in my husband.
  9. Spending all day in a windowless room.  My school was built about 20 years ago, so most classrooms don’t have windows.  Is it raining?  Is it snowing?  Is it gloriously sunny?  Don’t ask me.
  10. 32 ninth graders in one room at one time.  Need I say more?

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Things I WON’T MISS About Being a Teacher

  1. Your post could’ve been written by me! I left teaching English a few years ago to be a full-time mommy, as well. I relate to every one of your points (and could add a few more, too). Enjoy your last few months in the classroom, and good luck as you transition to this new phase in your life!

  2. tami

    This made me laugh. I know I will miss the stories of the students that you used to share. ha ha!

    For real, Katie, and I am not just saying this because you are my friend…if there were more teachers like you in the world, the conservative talk show hosts would have nothing to complain about (education wise). You really are a good teacher. I am so glad that you will get to stay home with Jude, (and a little jealous) but it is sad that the public school system will be losing a good teacher next year.

    PS, I am so totally glad to know that my breast pump wasn’t the only one that talked….

    1. Thank you, Tami! I think I’ll come back to teaching in one form or another one day, but I admit I’m ready for a change. It’s time to go for sure!

  3. You forgot all the paperwork and documentation associated with No Child Left Behind, IEP meetings, lazy children, and extra curricular activities, or maybe you had a better school system then me. Insane parents, I had parents call me at home while I was on maternity leave! Great list, hope you enjoy being away from teaching, I know I do, though I do miss some of the kids, just some and that is a very rare occurrence.

    1. Oh my. I could go on and on and on about those things. I could have ended up rambling about politics and NCLB and laziness though, so I decided to keep it short for my list. I think I’ll miss a few kids here and there, but I find the kids a little less endearing now that I have my own baby, to be honest. It changes your focus for sure!

  4. OMG, I’m getting excited for you to leave teaching just reading that!

    And I am in full awe of you pumping at work. Seriously, you are a great mama!

    Thanks so much for linking up today! Can’t wait to hear more about your new sahm gig!

  5. Good post, entertaining. I have subbed in the past and am afraid for my boys when they enter jr and sr high. They are almost 4 & 6 now and though the oldest is in public kinder. now, I’m planning to homeschool next year 😉

    1. No! As far as jobs outside the home go, it’s the only one I could ever do, I think. Next week I’ll be doing the Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Teacher. There are things I’ll miss for sure. You really get to make a difference, and that can’t be said for every single job out there. Plus kids need teachers who care. AND you get to talk books all day. 🙂

  6. 32 9th graders?! My worst nightmare–taught high school english for 5 years before staying home with my daughter. I do not miss any of those things on your list either! The stack of papers made me cringe and the thought of hearing, “John Steinbeck is a complete IDIOT.” 20+ times a day is not something I miss at all. 🙂

    Hang in there! You’re almost free.

    I do miss my students’ light-hearted spirits and the occasional “ah-ha!” moments on their faces, but I have to say, staying home is pretty darn nice.

  7. Great post! Congrats on your transition to SAHM-hood! I taught art a while back (K-8th grade at my sons’ school) and I can relate to nearly all of your comments! Now I homeschool my kids, and we have a blast at home together. And I can pee when I want to! LOL

  8. Abida

    So glad it was my pump talking and not the voices in my head…I can rest easy now, lol!

    Can’t relate to being an English teacher but hated all classes in high school that weren’t AP or Latin. Just couldn’t stand the other kids! That said though, my university Spanish class had windows and I was once caught daydreaming on a blissfully sunny day so the classrooms may be windowless for a reason…

    On a side note..have you ever thought about homeschooling?

    1. I hesitate to homeschool becuase I know I am well-versed in English but could never teach other disciplines. I was always kinda anti-homeschooling for that reason and because of socialization, but my awesome doula homeschooled her kids and they are seemingly intelligent, well-adjusted, aware kids. It’s all in how you do it, I guess. But it’s gotta be HARD to do well. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Teaching « Mama the Reader

  10. Oh my goodness…I can relate so much to #1, 2, and #7!!!! I got SO SICK of pumping at work (and I am militant about breastfeeding!). Finding the time inbetween patient care was nightmarish sometimes. It got to the point where I was not pumping as much as he was eating…thankfully I’m quitting just in time.

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