You should love the career you’re in

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016

by Amy Davis

As a teacher, when August rolls around each year everyone I run into asks me the same question…Are you ready to go back to school? My first few years of teaching I would say no because I thought that’s what people expected to hear. However with age comes wisdom and my new response is of course I love my job.

Now, teachers, pause before you roll your eyes and hear me out. I believe that summers are not only a perk of teaching but 100 percent requirement for being a great teacher and continuing to love this career and I’m tired of people making me feel guilty for loving my summers, a fog delay or a snow day! As teachers we willingly give up so many freedoms that accompany most careers. The lunch hour.

Most of my professional friends have flexibility during their day because of their lunch hour. They meet friends for lunch, run an errand, skip it and leave early, workout, run home to let their dog out, or go to the grocery store. Instead teachers are usually using this time to go to the restroom, make copies, supervise lunch, feed students lunch, quick phone calls, all while trying to eat a sandwich.

Another downfall of teaching is taking time off. Yes, we get built-in holidays but what if your best friend plans a destination wedding in the middle of April. Most teachers get two personal days a year and some systems won’t let you take them consecutively not to mention the guilt that comes along with leaving your students with sub plans for extended periods or the time it takes to make these sub plans. Obviously, extenuating circumstances most schools will work with you, but you pretty much have to travel according to built-in holidays. And then, of course, there is the financial compensation.

A starting teacher’s pay isn’t that bad for an educated professional the shortfall is compensation for experience, rewards for excellence and opportunities to advance. But what most people forget is the amount of money we give as teachers to do our jobs. What other career has to buy supplies?

Yes, we are provided with some things like desks, computers and smart boards, but what about pencils, markers, paper, crafts, staplers, hole punchers, and the list goes on…. I’m certain you would have an uproar if nurses were suddenly forced to buy their own gloves or tissues for patients. Or flight attendants had to provide the snacks for passengers.

Now I’m not trying to get anyone to feel sorry for teachers I signed up well aware of every point I’ve discussed. My mother was an outstanding teacher for 34 years. Every job has its pros & and cons. I have a lot of family in the agriculture business. They have periods during the year they are only home to sleep brief amounts of time.

They sacrifice countless dinners with their family and friends, weekends and sleep to get their job done. Once their crop is up they have some extra free time, you don’t see people criticizing them for hunting or fishing or golfing. I have a friend in human resources.

She runs in the mall on a Tuesday at 11:30 or goes for a run at 2 p.m. or takes her daughter to swim practice at 10 a.m. because she controls her schedule. She also has to work overnight for days at a time, take phone calls around the clock, and some nights work until 10 p.m.. My point is every job has its pros and cons. But the beautiful thing about all this is we live in America. No one forced you in the profession you’re in and if you are unhappy then find a new career that makes you happy.

What other job do you get to say good morning to hundreds of young people each day and hear it back 99 percent of the time. What other job do you get to show your school spirit every Friday! What other job do you get to dance in pep rallies, Zumba with your boss, or dress like a super hero? What other job do you get to influence countless students? What other job do you get to see proud graduates walk across the stage in June?

What other job do you get to walk around the county fair with kids calling your name? What other job to you get to witness countless acts of kindness each day by volunteering, befriending a student with a disability, giving a hug, voting a student with special needs homecoming king? What other job do you get to write letters of recommendation for exceptional students? What other job to you wake up at 4 a.m. and ride on a bus for 3 hours? What other job do you get to make such an impact, such a difference?

So, teachers, love every minute of your summer. Take advantage of the extra hour when it’s foggy and keep praying for snow and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it because throughout our year we need the small restarts to keep going and a hard restart in the summer. I hope you all have a fabulous new year!!

Amy Davis is a teacher at Southampton High School. Her email is