A little history...I am an RN and worked as an adult med/surg and pediatric nurse part-time for a little over 5 years. Almost 4 years ago, my hospital did a mandatory switch to 12 hour shifts and I was always a 3-11 girl since it worked out well for my family at the time. The kids were younger at the time, and one was just entering pre-school and working a 12 hour shift on either end was not conducive to our family life. My husband's job requires night time on-call once a month and he needs to be able to leave at any given time. We need a bit more stability and home front coverage than 12 hour shifts can provide.
At this same time though, as if by some divine intervention I was contacted by my local high school asking if I'd be interested in teaching Anatomy & Physiology and Medical Terminology for their Career and Technical Education program. I thought I was in heaven! No more weekends or holidays, summer break with my kids and if there was a snow day, no worries! I work in the same district they attend so absolutely no impromptu childcare needed. Everything sounded great!
The pay was not ideal, but I justified that thinking that I made about the same working part-time as a nurse as I would if I considered my summers off as part-time work and the pay schedule based on years of service and education would eventually "catch up" in the pay department. The thing is, our district has been experiencing budget cuts and I have only received one raise after my first year and I'm now finishing my 4th year of teaching and still only making what a 2nd year teacher would make. I have been assured that my position is safe and is not on the chopping block...unlike our unfortunate culinary teacher who has been cut and will not be returning next year.
What I did not anticipate was the sheer overload of after school work during the school year! My God! I had no idea how much uncompensated, extra work teachers do at home in addition to what they do in the classroom! I never cried in nursing...this job brought me to tears from just utter exhaustion and the transition from nursing to teaching was rough. When I got to the school, there was no program in place and I was making everything from scratch. Hours upon hours of making PowerPoints, work sheets, and studying. I had to relearn in great detail a lot of the A&P I hadn't reviewed since nursing school so that I could effectively teach the material in a way that high school students could understand. Needless to say, much of that has improved and I am a very good teacher. My frustration comes from being so sorely underpaid for the amount of BS I have to do. Also, if the current referendum doesn't pass for extra funding to pay the teachers, I'm looking at not getting a raise in the near future.
My students are driving me crazy as well...perhaps it's just this year, but I feel as though the kids are getting worse and worse. They have no drive, don't want to study, and can't manage to stay off their frickin' cell phones and are not punished adequately for using them. They are becoming increasing disrespectful and argumentative and again, for the pay, I question if it's all worth it?!? It's not just me either...all of the teachers are complaining about the students and about how this particular group is just awful but according to the middle school, the next group is going to be worse! Don't get me wrong, the kids aren't juvenile delinquents or anything, but they are coddled in a way like I have never experienced before. They are not disciplined at home or at school and it is apparent by their unwillingness to do their work. They expect you just to crank open their skulls and pour the knowledge in like soup from a can. I have a handful of students who I'm very fond of and I feel as though I would be letting those kids down, but bottom line I have to do what is best for myself and my family. The problem is though, that I'm not sure what "the best" really is.
To further complicate things, I was recently diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy and was unable to drive for several months. During this time, the school librarian picked me up every day and drove me to work. I work with great people, and I live only about 5 miles from the school and the school is a pretty small school with a small-town feel, which I love. If I went back to nursing, what happens if I have another seizure and can't drive again? This situation only complicates things. On the plus side, my own children will attend high school there and I like knowing that I'm part of the community and making a difference on that level. I like seeing my students at the store, and get a kick out of seeing them at their after school jobs when my family and I are out. The overall scheduling works well for the family, but the day to day demands of the job are taking a toll. I used to be the mom who would plan special birthday parties for my girls, sew their Halloween costumes, and make their lunches. I haven't attended a field trip or been able to be room-mom or do any of the things I want to do for my own kids. With nursing I was able to do that. Granted, I missed out on every other Holiday and missed out on every other summer weekend which worked when they were small and didn't realize that Santa came on a certain day. I just honestly don't know what to do. I also find that I get resentful towards my students when they complain about doing activities for class that I took time away from my family to create/plan for them! Ugh...I just don't know...I do feel though that I need to make a decision soon. I've been off the floor for 4 years, and each year I stay away, I lose my marketability in the nursing field. I have thought about going back to nursing part time and taking an online FNP program through Simmons College and just moving on in nursing, but then I just keep thinking, what if I regret leaving the teaching gig...maybe it's just a bad year...maybe things will get better...
My husband is no help whatsoever. He is supportive of whatever decision I make God bless him! He would welcome more pay, of course, but bottom line, he just wants me to be happy. Unfortunately, the only time I'm happy is during the summer when I'm spending time with my kids. I hate the hustle and bustle of the school year and I feel like I miss out on so much! I feel like I had a better work-life balance in nursing even if the scheduling was erratic.
I feel as though I have gone from one marginalized career into the next. What's next?...Social work? Anyway, I realize this post is just one long pity post...so I apologize for that...but does anybody have any thoughts?