01 May 2012

Why I am not a teacher

(This is in response to Why CS graduates don’t teach which didn’t sound quite right to me.)

Why don’t I quit my job and become a teacher? I’ve thought about it, but

  • Money.

  • It seems like public school teachers have to spend a lot of time just fighting active sabotage—whether it’s the legislature, school boards, textbook publishers, administrators, parents, students, other teachers, etc. In a lot of these stories everyone comes off badly. I hate politics.

  • I’m used to being empowered to make whatever changes are necessary so that I can do my job. Teachers can’t even begin to do that. They don’t control the curriculum, class sizes, external interruptions, disruptive students, prerequisites, and most importantly they have no control over the goal (test scores). It sounds awful.

  • There’s a major “classroom management” component of teaching that I would find stressful and probably unrewarding. I don’t expect I’d be any good at it either. (Money aside, this is the biggest sticking point. I probably just can’t do the work.)

  • Here in Tennessee, to teach in a public school, I would have to enroll in education courses. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s basically a lot of unpaid overtime and I’ve never heard anybody say anything nice about that kind of part-time program. Maybe I’d be pleasantly surprised. (Go on, tell me I’d be pleasantly surprised.)

Bottom line, being a programmer is easy: it’s mostly just programming. I love teaching more than I love programming. If being a teacher were mostly about teaching, I might have to give it a shot. I wish it was. But it’s just not.

…Is it? Go on, tell me it is.