A while ago I was talking to someone and we were discussing our careers. We are both teachers. I teach in the city, she teaches in the suburbs. She was telling me about how she's applying for a job in an affluent paying suburban school district and suggested to me that I do the same (especially since they are looking to hire more minorities). I told her that I would look into it...
In the back of my mind I was thinking:
I think every kid grows up dreaming of a job with a six figure salary. That's especially with the help of parents...
Mom: You're going to be a lawyer when you grow up!
In reality, how many of us ended up achieving the job of our dreams? Not many. I started college thinking that I was going to be a Pharmacist. I figured I passed all of the Science classes in high school with A's, why wouldn't I do well in this major?!? That didn't go far once I passed my Intro to Biology class with a C-. I was entering my junior year and still had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I spent an entire summer trying to dig deep within to think of what I was good at.
Shopping, Watching TV, Doing Hair, Singing in the shower, Folding clothes, Grading Papers, Reading, Writing...
Then the light bulb went off in my head...I should be a teacher! I took all of the prerequisites for a minor in Education and switched my major to Literature. I then went on to grad school and took up a major in secondary education. Once I graduated the first place that I applied to was in the city.
Yes, my job is stressful and I deal with very intense situations on a daily basis and a lot of my population is composed of hard-to reach students. Even on my most stressed out days when I sit at my desk and rub my temples...I go home at night, lie in the bed and reflect on my day. Then I realize: It wasn't that bad.
Aside from the stress, I get to do what I love (teach!), show my creativity, my sense of humor, make real-world connections, challenge my students, set goals for their futures, and watch many of them succeed. I can honestly say that I never watch the clock thinking: When is my day going to be over? Everyday is like getting on a rollercoaster for the first time, wondering what are going to be the ups and downs, curves, twists, spins, etc.
I wouldn't trade it for the world. At least not for now. Yes, more money can be made in the suburbs. But I am here because this is where I am needed. :)