Pros: rewarding, important work. work with adolescents, have the opportunity to truly make an impact on many lives
Cons: very short breaks, 80+ hour work weeks, limited teacher's union (charter school), emotionally charged job
My work hours on a day-to-day basis are from 7:15 am--4:45 pm. I usually arrive to work around 6:45 am, and do not leave until about 5:30. I physically teach students from 9:30 -- 4:00 PM, with one 25-minute lunch (and 3 minute passing periods). Outside of these times, I spend my time planning, designing and creating Physics curriculum resources from – more... scratch, attending professional development sessions, collaborating with other teachers, and grading. Although I leave work at 5:30 pm, I normally will put in at least 2-3 more hours of work at home.
Teaching has been one of the most difficult endeavors I've undertaken, and fighting through these challenges on a daily basis has taught me innumerable lessons. One of the most important of which is the value of "grit." I believe that teaching is one of the most difficult, rewarding, and sometimes unforgiving exercises in leadership. I graduated with a degree in Biology from UCLA and was given a Physics classroom at a charter school in urban south Chicago. I am provided no curriculum, and no textbook. I had close to no lab resources at my disposal. Every single thing, from every lesson to every handout to every lab, had to be designed and implemented by me. As a teacher, I looked at myself as a leader of 190 students who required a great science education, regardless of my position as a first-year teacher. I tied my success directly to their achievement. This attitude taught me so much about the finer details of leadership, and I believe that the lessons I learned can be applied to every workplace, regardless of my position.
Despite the position that I've been placed in, I've been able to experience success at various times. I regularly have received positive reviews from my superiors, and I have been the first teacher to last at the Physics position for longer than a year (most do not complete even one year at this school). Amidst the stress of being held accountable by 190 students on a daily basis, there are times that I truly enjoy my work. Given all that I try to teach my students, I've realized that I can often learn from them. Their smiles and positive energy is a reminder to my older, sometimes more cynical self, that life is meant to be enjoyed. – less