That 3 p.m. quitting time is a myth.
As a child, I'd thought as far as jobs for working moms go, teachers had it pretty good. They get home not long after their kids do. They don't have to sit in meeting after meeting. And they're off from work whenever the students are off from school. But like any other job, it's not easy (that's why it's called work, duh). Here, real teachers from across the country and across disciplines share what we corporate creatures take for granted, and the perks to teacher life we'd never considered. Pay attention, class.
“All day we live by a bell. We are adults who can't just get up and use the restroom when we want. It's crazy. There is not much downtime while you are at work.” –Jessica Verdiglione, high school math teacher, Red Bank, NJ
It's more time, but only kind of.
“A lot of other working moms often comment that I have a lot more time with my kids than they do. Which is true, I agree. (I do love the school schedule!) But our job doesn't end when we leave the school, so it does take time away from my kids when we're at home." –Stephanie McGowan, itinerant teacher for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, Denver
Early wakeup, all for other families' benefit.
"Every weekday I wake up my own children before 6 a.m., bring them to daycare, and come to work to care for your children. To be a good teacher means you must love your job as much as you love the family you leave every day to do it. All any of us really wants is to know our sacrifices and our hard work are appreciated." –Cristina Bolusi Zawacki, 6th-grade English teacher, Spotswood, NJ
Please, grown-ups, talk to me.
“I deal with kids all day and get no adult interaction and therefore I want to talk to an adult when I get home. Yet, my husband spoke with adults all day and doesn't want more adult interaction. He wants to talk to my kids and I want to tap out.” –Nina Auster-Cusner, elementary and middle school Judaics teacher, Baltimore
Lots of tongue-biting going on.
“We can't talk to other people's kids like you do your own.” –Jenny Bettis-Benjamin, special education teacher/elementary education teacher, Clinton, IN
Their school isn't my school.
“There are so many things to worry about as a parent, and knowing what's developmentally appropriate helps. But the drawback is I'm not as present at my children's school because I'm at work.” –Kim Cohen, kindergarten teacher, New York City
Other working parents only have their own kids to worry about.
"When 3:00 hits I don't stop being a teacher. I am always thinking about my students. Always. Even when I'm at home with my own children, I'm thinking about ways to make your child's time in my classroom as effective as possible. You are trusting me with your most precious gift, so I make sure I am as prepared as humanly possible." –Cristina Bolusi Zawacki, 6th-grade English teacher, Spotswood, NJ
We have a whole different kind of balance to deal with.
“It’s hard finding the balance between family time and after-hours work. There is still so much that needs to be done and/or prepared for the next day that can't be done during the work day.” –Carrie Molinder, preschool teacher and daycare center owner, Terre Haute, IN
Not switching languages is a plus.
“Being a teacher mom is amazing because you don't have to turn off your work language once you get home.” –Alexandra Etscovitz, elementary school art teacher, Needham, MA
There's no lunch hour to speak of.
“My days at school are very regimented. I’m basically on the clock for 8 periods a day. I’m always envious of women who can take an hour lunch break from work to meet a friend or run some errands, or those who have the flexibility in their schedule to work on their own time.” –Jamie Lincow, high school Spanish teacher, Huntington Valley, PA
Written by Meredith Bodgas for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.