Usually, TFA people get together and complain. We talk about how we work too hard and how annoying and difficult our kids can be. In the group of math teachers I always see, if anything we try to one-up eachother with the most ridiculous and most terrible stories. The typical TFA answer to “how are you doing?” is anything from “I hate my life and my job” to a big sigh followed by, “I’m surviving.” Usually, I appreciate the group outlook, because we’re not bragging and making eachother feel bad, and a bad day provides endless humor we can all relate to. We’ll celebrate the successes, but we’re really supportive of the challenges.
Last night, I bumped into a friend from Institute, who also teaches middle school in my district. She’s the first person I’ve talked to who very quickly told me how much she loves her job and how happy she is to go to work in the morning. Turns out her life is a lot like mine: she has three wonderful classes and one class with all the problems. She appreciates that her worst class is some people’s best class, because like me her biggest problem is chatter, not outright disaster. She’s obsessed with her kids and already dreading the day they graduate. Usually, we have a rule that we don’t talk about work when we’re out on weekend nights, but I made an exception last night because I was so thrilled to talk to someone who likes her job. The horror stories are funny, but this was much nicer to listen to. It’s sort of sad that conversations like these are so rare. I know a lot of people truly are miserable, but a little positivity probably wouldn’t hurt the rest of us.