Let's be honest. Being in education can really suck sometimes. Most of the time, it's as rewarding as a career can get, but the job can take a serious toll on you. That's because this is a job that's unlike any other. There's no monetary or otherwise extrinsic motivator to do better for your constituents. The only thing you really get at the end of the day is peace of mind that you did your best. Everything about education is intrinsic. That's why the burnout rate is so high for fledgling American teachers. If you've ever wondered why 3-5 years is the average career span of a teacher, look no further than the long hours, low pay, and endless hurdles that teachers go through every day just to do their jobs.
Aside from those reasons, being an educator is unlike most professions. You wake up at some ungodly hour, and the job is there with you, sharing your bed with you and your significant other. You leave work at whatever ungodly hour you can manage, and the job follows you home, or to the restaurant, or the bar. You try to take a vacation, and the job follows you there too, to the beach, or the resort, or the bar. Did I mention the bar? It's no wonder so many teachers burn out so quickly. The job latches onto every fiber of your being if you actually care and do it right.
So, here I am, looking to give all of my fellow educators a leg-up on Monday. We've made it this far because we've found something special in education. Is it the scant pay and inordinate number times we facepalm every day? Possibly. Or maybe it's the feeling of being indoors so long that you've forgotten what sunlight looks and feels like. I personally enjoy mounds of paperwork. You know you like it too. Let's admit it, if you're a lifelong educator, you're fairly masochistic. However, you also know how to thrive under pressure, and you do it knowing full well that you won't get thanked for it very often, but you do it anyway. Your sense of silent virtue is stronger than most. How many students have now come through your doors and made something of themselves because of your efforts? I bet that number is pretty damn high. Those are the educators I love and keep in touch with, even if they knock out at 9pm on Friday nights. They keep doing it, and no one sees or thanks them for it. You want humility? Find a good teacher.
The only thing I have to say to you is: whatever you need to do to keep making it worthwhile for your students, do it. Whether it's daily yoga sessions, getting up early for a run, or shooting the breeze at the local watering hole with your favorite soldiers-in-arms, don't forget to lean on your fellow educator every once in a while. It's a long and thankless job, but here's a thank you from a lowly dean. You kick butt, and sometimes, your students recognize that too.
(Always remember, wear a tie, and keep your finger out.)