i’m teaching for the money

I’ve been dragging my feet on this whole “next year” thing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given some ridiculously vague answer to some person who I know well or don’t know well about what I may be doing with my time when the school year starts… or may not be.  You know.I snickered when I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page tonight.  We don’t even have to have that discussion today, do we? Fine. Short version. Most of us (except that handful of disheartening folks who need to find a different profession) don’t do it solely for the money, because the pay doesn’t come close to the value of the work when it’s done with passion. Good.  Glad you agree. And guess what?  If I go back to teaching this Fall, I’ll be doing it for the money. Ha!

Here’s my thought process this far:

1)  If I had no children of my own, I would go full-time, full strength back into teaching at the same school I’ve been at for the last few months.  After a semester of earning my stripes, I think I make a pretty decent maestro for those precious students.  My little ensemble would be putting on the Best Stinkin’ Musical Ever.  We’d be so good, Bev Perdue would have us performing to open the next session of the NC Legislature, and we’d make all the representatives cry and stand in line to hug us.  I’m feeling pretty good about us, me an’ them kids together.

2)  If we can squeeze it out financially, I would stay home full-time, and the Lutz kids would have SuperMom [trumpet fanfare!!!] to grow them into the best little Lutzes the world ever saw.  Gabby would have lunches packed with funny notes tucked inside them, Ben’s preschool teacher would never have to send another “ahem, your tuition is late again” note, and I’m certain Nate would be reading The Hardy Boys before he turns 2.  The boys would accompany me to sing at the assisted living home on Thursday mornings, and every neighbor of ours would know us as “that family that brings the awesome desserts” because I’d finally learn to bake while the kids tell me all about their day over a tall glass of milk.  I’m feeling pretty good about us, me an’ these babies together.

Time is so precious.

It’s easy to imagine that if I wasn’t dividing my time, I’d be so much better at the one thing on my proverbial plate.  However, I waste a lot of time as it is.  How much better a mom and teacher might I be if I was a little more organized, a little more focused, feeling a little better a little more often, a little… Yeah, that’s a quick way to beat myself up. No good.  Even if I tried to pour every bit of myself toward a single worthy goal, I’d still never achieve those pretty pictures I painted of perfection.  The fact is, we aren’t robots.  We aren’t designed to run at 100% efficiency, or with unlimited energy resources.

It’s not hard for me to know what I’d choose to do if money weren’t an issue.  I do have three very young children.  I’d go on most of the field trips with Gabby, and we would eat out waaaaay less because I’d be cooking gourmet meals to go along with our homemade pies.  I’d be more available for all the people who share the same address as me.

So in that sense, I do teach for the money.  If I teach during this season of my kids’ lives, it’s because I have to. But shame on me if I ever let my students – or my children – feel that I don’t want to be there with them.  In either case, that would be untrue.

What would you do if money weren’t an issue?