Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #16

Top 100 Things I've Done Add comments

Teach high school.

Six years after I graduated high school, I was back in the classroom I took Physics in during my senior year. Except this time it was chemistry…And I was the teacher.

Like almost everyone else I know, college left me with a degree and no direction. One of the many things I tried was teaching. I went up to the state’s education department in Providence and got myself a substitute teaching certificate.

At the beginning of my second week, I got a call from the school department in the town I grew up in. They offered me a long term position covering for a chemistry teacher who had just had a baby. So with literally two days experience teaching high school, I was given about 100 kids, a curriculum to follow, and my own classroom.

Chemistry is the least favorite and most difficult class in high school. Nevermind the fact that most kids aren’t interested in learning anyway. I faced lots of challenges beyond the subject matter though. Like keeping the crazy kids under control, getting the lazy kids to work, avoiding the faculty drama, and staying motivated to do actual work for a meek $50 per day.

Like any job environment, I found there to by a ton of wired drama between all the teachers. I’d always wondered what went on in the faculty lounge. Now I was eating lunch with the same teachers I’d had six years ago. And guess what they were talking about? The students! Oh and of course each other too. I’m sure I was the topic of conversation in the faculty lounges many times. It was basically the same crap that the kids talk about in highschool. It’s funny, it’s like the faculty is just an older version of the students, except they eat lunch in a different place and sit facing the class.

The pay was way too small for me, so as soon as the regular teacher came back, I resigned from my quick stint of teaching.

Even though I was only a teacher for a couple of months, it was pretty rewarding to see kids come to understand something due to my explanations and see the ones that weren’t doing any work, respond to my motivation. Of course there were kids who were impossible, leaving me with a feeling of an unconquered challenge, but there were others who thanked me and praised me. These small rewards left me with a desire to return to teaching kids in some way, somewhere, someday.

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