Those who can…

Why is it that nearly everyone who finds out that I’m

  1. An English major
  2. A substitute teacher
  3. A private tutor

…assumes I want to teach for a living? On one level, I guess it makes sense – I’m a decent teacher, get along well with most students, and am in the early stages of one of the numerous career paths for would-be teachers everywhere. Based on that, I’m a candidate for full-time teacher status.

But I’m not a teacher at heart. I don’t want to be a teacher. I have no intention of teaching for a living. The personal interaction required to be a teacher is just not my bag. I’m in my element in a room with a computer, hammering away at a story, an article, a column, a letter. I’m in my element watching a movie with friends or hanging out and having pseudo-intellectual discussions of trivial or inane things (or intellectual discussions of pseudo-trivial things). I’m in my element explaining something to an interested person.

Classrooms, with their masses of students – many of whom would rather not be there at all, let alone learning the things their teachers are trying to impress upon them – run contrary to nearly every aspect of my personality (except the control-freak perfectionist side. But that’s a side I endeavour to keep under control, you know?).

I guess it frustrates me that people learn one or two things about me and think they therefore know my career path. It’s akin to people noticing I’m female and assuming they know my personality/aspirations/limitations based on that one fact. Humans are pattern-oriented creatures, so it’s only natural on one level, but it still aggravates me to no end.

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6 Responses to Those who can…

  1. Dwyer says:

    Hey, it’s human to extrapolate and make conjectures from known facts. I can understand your frustration if these said people made a decision on their own that you were on a teaching career path.
    If those three facts were the only ones you gave to me, I would think that you wanted to be a full time teacher. However, I would not claim it as a fact until you told me so.
    Hey. Based on what most people know about me, they’d think I’d want to keep programming (CSc major, full time programmer, magic-geek-aura that fixes any problem on a computer by just having me stand near it)… but its not true. I would be frustrated if someone started telling people I was going to be one forever.
    So, I guess I agree… or whatever. I don’t know. Man, I’m bored.

  2. Yog Sothoth says:

    Same problem here. Eventually my studies will lead to a doctorate and everyone immediately assumes I want to be a college professor regardless of the fact that I’m a programming/systems specialist geek through and through.

  3. Kay says:

    You know… I have the same problem, and I’ve never taught, or tutored, or anything like that. Most people assume that I was a teacher, whether they know me or not. If not a teacher then I would have had to have been a librarian. Nope on both counts. Far from it.
    Do I LOOK like a teacher? What does a teacher look like? At least with you there are some “indications”.
    Wait…… I read. That must be it. Case solved. All people who read are either teachers or librarians. YOU read… see!

  4. jackdaw says:

    Go back and get a Popular Culture degree……..then everyone thinks you want to be on “Jeopardy.”

  5. Fade the Cat says:

    Heh. I can identify. Started work yesterday, and four people asked what I’d majored in. Every time I said English Lit, the very next question was “So, you want to teach?” Every single one of them. It started weirding me out around the third time…
    But, no. I don’t want to teach. I’m sure I could–my mother keeps telling me I’d be a good teacher, I’ve done tutoring, I can deal with kids–but it’s not my calling in life, as it were. Can’t I just want to write? Hell, I’d rather telemarket than teach, so long as I could still work on the side; all the teachers I know spend so much time on teaching and all the stuff that goes with it, they barely have time for other work. Not my thing.

  6. Ealasaid says:

    Wow, FAde, you’d rather telemarket? Even I would rather teach than telemarket. :) But I know exactly what you’re going through. Why is it that English Major = teacher in so many minds? Good grief.
    Kay – maybe that’s it… hm…
    Dwyer: yeah, I hear ya. I guess I just wish that people didn’t leap to the same conclusion all the time. Just once I’d love for someone to get those three facts and go, “wow, you must be sick of teaching” or something.
    Jackdaw: you mean you don’t want to be on jeopardy? ;)
    Yog Sothoth: ooh, a doctorate, sweet. What’s it in?