It’s been 10 years since I started my Education program at UNB. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade already since I started this particular journey. I have a few friends would are just starting out in the program or have just completed it and are looking to make their way into the world of supply teaching.
Ten years ago I had just come home from living in Scotland for two years. When I finished my undergrad at Mount Allison University I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise. My list of summer jobs was varied and none of them were ones I wanted to do long term, so I headed off to Scotland to find work and hopefully find some idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I had been leaning towards something in tourism. I had even taken German instead of French in my undergrad because there were a lot of German tourists coming to Nova Scotia so I thought it would be helpful. But I wasn’t convinced tourism was a good fit for me and the jobs seemed few and mostly seasonal.
So one night I decided to sit down and write down all the pros and cons of all the jobs I’d ever had and try to figure out what kind of career I should have (they didn’t have the same kind of “career quiz” on-line as they do now). And basically what I valued in a job was being able to be creative, autonomous to a certain extent, make a difference, I wanted job security, I wanted to be able to make a living wage and I don’t like working evenings or night shifts. In fact, I don’t like shift work at all. I like a regular and predictable schedule because time with my family and friends is very important to me. In all the jobs I had, I enjoyed training others or showing people how to do things, whether that was training a new pizza salad chef at East Side Mario’s or showing visitors how to juggle at the world circus exhibit at the museum. I enjoy interacting with people but hate selling things or asking for money. I have an intense dislike for calling people.
I listed my hobbies. I love to read and write, do theatre, I like being active. I like drawing and being outside. I like science and love learning new things. I wanted a job where it was easy to integrate those things into my life and where I wouldn’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I wanted to have fun in my job and be able to have enthusiasm for what I was doing because I would know that it’s important. I didn’t want an office job, however cushy it could be, where I would sit around pushing papers and playing solitare just to make the time pass so that I could go home at the end of the day and have my real life outside of work. Now don’t get me wrong, there are days when I’ve worked all day and I come home with a pile of marking and lesson planning to do and I feel like my head is going to explode with all the extra work I have to do that I think I would love an office job. I listen to my husband complain about having a few sites blocked at his work so he’s finding it harder to fill the time and I think that would be nice, but no. I hate being bored and as much as teaching stresses me out sometimes, I’m glad I chose the career I did.
Even though I’m stressed about finding a job and the possibility of going back to supply teaching, even though I have concerns about the direction our education system is going, I’m very glad I made the decision I made back in that little flat in Scotland and I’m very glad to be a teacher.