1. The classroom is my stage, and I am the star.
suckers, er, students are stuck with me shining for 50-75 minutes per class session. Aren’t they lucky?
2. No research required.
One of the best parts of my job is that the focus is 100% on teaching, which means I don’t have to publish anything. All I’m required to do is teach and do service (committee work).
3. I am a huge English (reading and writing) nerd, and my job is…to be a huge reading and writing nerd.
I majored in English because I liked to read and write. I teach reading and writing because I like to read and write. So, really, this is pretty much what I was born to do.
4. I get to come up with cool assignments.
I mean, yes, often we have to do some fundamentals, which means writing summaries and other run of the mill stuff like learning MLA. But then, on other days, I get to make my students do poetry slams for their final exam or write papers about Mulan. So it balances out.
5. I get to teach a lot of first-generation and non-traditional college students.
As a first-generation college student who didn’t understand or know anything about college except that I wanted to go, I love that I get to share everything I have learned about navigating college with my students. I have been where they are, and I understand a lot of what they’re struggling with. I also have the benefit of having a pretty varied college experience. I did the straight out of high school to college thing, but I also did the college after taking a break and college while working to support a child as a single parent thing.
6. I do not have to deal with parents.
Even though I teach dual enrollment students (high school students taking college courses), my engagement is solely with the students as college students. High school teachers, on the other hand, have a responsibility to keep parents informed of their students’ progress, etc. That is not something I have to do! In fact, I may have only spoken to one or two parents since I’ve started my job and they had to get express permission from their children for me to discuss anything with them. AND those calls often go to the dual enrollment office or my department chair, so it’s rare I get them at all.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with parents, but, well, see next point.
7. I am the boss, and my syllabus is law.
My faaaaavorite part of teaching college is that I tell my students what they need to do and it’s their responsibility to do it. Period. When I worked for the K-12 public school system, I was told that even if a student wasn’t doing their work or whatever, you couldn’t fail a student until you talked to the parents and blah blah blah lots of other stuff (this may have changed–it was eons ago). I never liked that because my attitude is basically, “I told you what to do. Now do it.” And that’s what happens when you teach college! Because it’s in the syllabus.
True story: I have that comic up on my office door.
8. I get a winter break, a spring break, and a summer break.
Okay, so right now, the summer break is like a unicorn since I have never not taught summer school (this summer included–although, this summer I’m teaching an online class, so I am almost there). And, okay, yes, I do spend at least a week during my winter and summer breaks doing lesson planning and course prep. HOWEVER, those breaks exist and I don’t have to go into the office unless I want to, and I can make plans to travel and relax for the holidays, and I don’t have to request extra time off.
And since I don’t have to publish or do extra research, I can actually use my breaks (minus next semester course prep, sigh) to rest. Again, I’m not 100% there, but next summer, I should be living the dream. I can almost taste it.
9. I do not have to sit at a desk from 9-5.
While I am required to have office hours, I set them myself and they have not, as yet, required me to be in my office every day until 5 p.m. In fact, I may be able to completely avoid having office hours on Friday this upcoming semester. It’s pretty sweet, I must admit.
10. I have pretty awesome colleagues.
The only thing I love as much as teaching is probably talking about teaching. And it’s pretty great that I am surrounded by other professors whose primary work is teaching. We get to swap ideas and war stories, and (almost) everyone is fun, funny, and engaging. I have been blessed in general to get along with my coworkers, but I really and truly do like the people in my department as well as the professors from other disciplines who are in my office unit.
Also, our department secretary is the bomb. I can be pretty high-strung sometimes, and she has not once let on how much I must drive her crazy. She is a goddess among women, seriously.
Please comment and tell me what you love (or enjoy, if love is too strong a word, ha) about your job!