Top 10 Things You Can Kiss Goodbye When You Become a Teacher

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When becoming a teacher, you gain a variety of things. You can suddenly multi-multitask, recognize learning/processing issues a mile away, and turn a possibly boring concept into the most exciting lesson EVER. But what do you lose when venturing into the wonderful field of education?

1. Your ability to remember where you put your coffee/worksheets/keys/etc.

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Listen…I can tell you the name of Angela’s four cats and two fish, I can tell you how Ryan broke his arm in second grade, and I can tell you what seven allergies precious Kylie suffers from. So why can’t I remember where I put my steaming hot mug of tea before it turns into undrinkable, tepid liquid? Our minds are able to hold a fountain of information, but ask us where we put the 40 tests we just copied after having a conversation with a co-worker and our brains turn into mush. 

2. Your patience. 

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Do you know what it is like to hear your name 472 times a day followed by occasional poking, prodding, and non-stop whining? Do you know what it is like to have 25 students need your help with different things all at the exact same moment? We spend all day practicing patience, so please forgive us if we come home and snap at one more person who needs something from us. 

3. Your anonymity. 

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We can’t go anywhere without hearing a student or parent enthusiastically call our name. Even when we think we have some peace and quiet halfway across the country, we magically run into students. It’s like they have some GPS-tracking device on us at all times, even when we are secretly trying to buy tampons in aisle 5. 

4. Your desire to do things after school or on the weekend. 

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Look, it’s not that we hate you, dear friends. We are just so emotionally exhausted after most work days that we cannot possibly drag our butts out to happy hour after work.  And as for making plans for a Saturday or Sunday? Unless you are my pajamas or a recently released show/movie on Netflix, I do not want to see your face. #sorrynotsorry

5. Your hope for the next generation. 

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I must admit…there are many things about my students that I find downright inspiring. Some days, I’m instilled with hope about our future generation. Other days, I hear about students eating Tide Pods, filming wildly inappropriate videos of themselves, and making downright foolish, absurd choices. On these days, a bit of my soul dies along with several teenage brain cells.

6. Your ability to talk about adult things.

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I can spend all day talking to you about funny memes, Tik Tok, or the latest Kardashian’s missteps. But throw me into a group of adults and I don’t even know what is relevant anymore. 

7. Your poker face. 

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When students do something downright ridiculous or stupid, it can be difficult for us to maintain a straight face. We have mastered the “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” face with just a simple look. We try our best to remain neutral, but sometimes our facial expressions give us away.

8. Time for yourself. 

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Unfortunately, self-care is often the first thing to go out the window for teachers. We put everyone else’s needs before our own, which often results in run-down bodies desperately trying to avoid taking a sick day.

9. The dream of having luxurious, expensive vacations in exotic places. 

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Any thoughts we had of staying at large, name-brand hotels are quickly diminished when we receive our paychecks. That five-star hotel on the Amalfi Coast? Forget it. That romantic Caribbean cruise for two? Nice try! Unless you spend many months setting aside a portion of your paycheck, you can pretty much expect to vacation in your backyard or at the Holiday Inn. 

10. The thought of doing anything else for a career. 

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If teaching is your passion, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else on a daily basis. Yes, we have aged fifty years, received countless bladder infections, and cried on difficult days, but we couldn’t think of doing anything more significant than trying to raise educated, smart humans who will go on and change the world.

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Abigail Courter is a fifth year music teacher at a K-8 private school in California.  She has taught general music, band, music technology, and performing arts.

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