Tonight I received a welcome respite from work. It is spring break for UCF where I adjunct most of the year. A certain layer of stress has been removed from me this week. I often wonder what percent of teachers have jobs other than their full-time day job. I include the time that we spend coaching on campus as well as the other types of jobs teachers pick up such as the summer my friend had at the pet daycare at Disney. I can't think of a time in my teaching career where I didn't have a second job.
Just to get my teaching job, I had to coach cheerleading. After that job, my life motto became, "I can coach cheerleading for a year, I can survive most anything." It actually became a pattern at my old school. A person would coach cheerleading for two years and then a new teacher would come aboard and the position would be foisted upon them. I didn't mind coaching cheerleading. There were other sports that I wanted to coach and did coach, track, volleyball, and girls' flag football. I loved those jobs, even the cheerleading. I eventually gave up coaching sports when my daughter was born. I still needed to work, but I needed a job that paid more and took up less of my time. This led to adjuncting at the local university. After an arduous 7 years, I finally finished my doctorate. Two semesters later opportunity opened up for me at UCF. I took it. I always described my other jobs as doing research for my next job. This one was certainly a step in that direction.
To be honest, my stomach hurt every single night that I went to class that first semester. I hated it. I had inherited a syllabus and textbooks and did not have the courage to make the class my own. I, however, stuck with it. I am now entering my sixth year of teaching this course and love it. I can't really imagine any other work I would be doing for a second job. The energy that preservice teachers bring to the field rejuvenates me. The questions that my grad students who are in the field bring me, keep me on my toes. Most of all, I leave my 2nd job at 9:30 pm with a spark that constantly kindles my teaching fire leaving me feeling a little less crispy around the edges. So tonight, I hope they are enjoying spring break, but I miss them.