There’s about 10 minutes in every morning that I hate being a teacher.

These five minutes start when my alarm clock tells me it’s 6 a.m. I know it’s lying, because I set my alarm clock 20 minutes fast. I doubt I’d really even care about my alarm clock lying like this, were it not also telling me that it’s time to get up. In these 10 minutes, I hate my alarm clock.

I flop out of bed, dragging my carcass across the floor, towards my buzzing, buzzing alarm clock. I hit it once, twice, three times before it finally shuts up. In the brief silence, I rue the day I decided I wanted to become a teacher.

I stumble into the shower stall, the shower head coiled and ready to strike with a blast of cold water. I try to block it. I mostly fail. After this, the rest of the morning is one tired, hazy blur.

Brief breakfast; brief blog; brief drive to school, to the tune of “Holiday in Cambodia.” My trepidation and anxiety haven’t melted away just yet. Early mornings: the backache that only slowly fades away.

None of this matters the moment I step foot on school grounds. It’s game time, and I like this game. I like this game a lot. By the time I see my students gathered before me, and assorted into groups of distracted, interested and I-really-don’t-wanna-be-here, I know I no longer fit into that last group.

I know I love this job. I know I will endure early morning alarm clocks, cold morning showers for this job. I hope this feeling lasts.


  1. That could be me. Except my clock is on real time, and the real time is 5:45, leaving me five minutes less tired than you.

    When I started, I met a lot of burned-out teachers who counseled me to quit immediately. My immediate reaction was to hope I never became like them. And 24 years later, I’m pleased to say I haven’t. I don’t much care for the system, but I like the kids a lot.

  2. I envy you your five minutes.

    I don’t much care for the system, but I like the kids a lot.

    I think that if we gather all the active teacher bloggers in the world together to sum up their view of teaching, we’d come up with that statement. Then, we’d be hard to find someone who disagrees, and we’d be hard to find someone who has much more to add.

    Until some schmo in the back starts rambling about technology, of course. At that point, everyone would start shouting at once, incoherently. That’s pretty much Education’s blogosphere for ya.

  3. If you get a removable bendy showerhead, you can take it down and point it away from you as you turn the water on, so that when you put it back up the water’s nice and warm.

    That is, if in your sleep-induced stupor you can remember that you could do that…

  4. Showerheads rudely firing at me in the face will wake me up, so I keep them as they are.

  5. Well, tomorrow’s Brooklyn Queens Day. We used to get it off, but now we go in to listen to mind-numbing lectures about why kids should not come late to class, and what a great job the Bloomberg administration is doing.

    Still, I get to sleep an extra hour, which is always good. I have to remember to bring a book.

  6. Depending on how you look at it, you get to sleep a couple of extra hours. Sit toward the back.

  7. I can definitely relate to this. My routine is very similar. I always wake up at 5:30am- think about if I want to be a teacher, realize that if I didn’t want to be a teacher, I wouldn’t be able to find a sub and then console myself with the thought that I can just have the kids watch movies all day.

    This idea encourages me enough to shower, dress, get to school and do all the marking I didn’t do the night before.

    And by the time school starts? I’m excited. And the idea of wasting time watching movies when I have experiments and lectures and ideas to share seems silly.

  8. And yet there’s that 10 minutes where it doesn’t seem silly. That 10 minutes when it’s just about the most reasonable thing in the world.

  1. 1 Matters of Priority « On the Tenure Track

    […] convinced myself that my dislike of teaching ended once I saw my students, ignoring that it ignites up again at the end of the day, when I would be ridiculously tired, even […]

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