I sometimes live a super exciting life on Friday nights. The kind where you throw your hair up in a bun, put on leggings, turn on the TV to watch some Netflix, and tackle the pile of papers that I neglected to grade all week. To be fair, this doesn’t happen every week, but, hey, it happens. This week included Valentine’s Day, Parent/Teacher Conferences, PD, and penguin lesson plans prep. Clearly, this Friday night was going to be spent at home.
I decided to watch a documentary that has been on my watch list for a while. I figured I could watch “Minimalist: A Documentary” in the background and still be able to get a lot accomplished. Little did I know that I would get sucked in.
Now, let me preface the rest of this post – I am not a “minimalist” nor do I intend to adopt this lifestyle. But it definitely made me stop and think about job as a teacher. Probably because of the pile of papers on either side of me and marker in my hand.
One of the ideas that stuck out to me the most was that a goal in many people’s life is to work at a job to climb the ladder of success. It is generally thought that being “rich” is earning 50k a year. But once many people reach this bracket, they don’t “feel” rich.
I’m still a fairly new teacher, so my salary isn’t very much. On top of that, I have a massive amount of student loans I have to face monthly. Oh, how I wish money wasn’t an issue – but it definitely is. I wish I had a larger pay check where I wouldn’t have to budget for every little thing. Ha – I even have a category in my budget to spend on school! I mean, what other jobs do you have to budget in order to put right back into your work? Oh, that teacher life.
BUT. You know what? I wouldn’t trade my status as a teacher for anything. Is teaching hard? Absolutely. Is it tiring? All the time. Is it frustrating? Way too often. Is it fun? YES! Is it hilarious? Every day. Is it the best? In my opinion, definitely.
Although I’m not “rich” by America’s standards, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. I’m rich in my life because of my job (among other things – my faith, family, friends, etc.).
My life is so full bring surrounded by my students. They bring me so much joy and laughter! I promise that we don’t get through an hour without laughing. I love my little firsties so much because they make me see things in a whole new light. I love reading their writing and seeing the world through their eyes. They value the simple things, which makes me value the simple things. We cherish hugs, smiles, and silly jokes. We crave time to read books together. We enjoy simply talking to each other during snack time. Recess is good for the soul – enjoying fresh air, laughter, playing with friends, and of course chats with the teacher while playing beauty shop. I could go on and on, trust me.
Not only do my students mean the world to me, but also my relationships with my coworkers! I absolutely could not do my job NEAR as effectively without my dream team. We laugh together, plan together, eat together, and simply do life together. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind talking to six year olds all day…so it’s necessary to pop into my friends’ room to gesture pulling out my hair through the window. Or share a funny picture that was drawn. Or fill my mug with her Keurig (one of my love languages, in case you were wondering.)
The main thing I took from the documentary was “How do you define success?” It’s easy to get wrapped up in wishing I earned more money to buy more things. I truly believe that I am doing what the Lord has called me to do with my talents that he has entrusted me with.
I truly believe that I’m a rich teacher. Are you?
What about your job makes you feel rich?