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  • Writer's pictureDonna Gerard


Updated: Oct 6, 2023

From Bored to Everything Except Bored

After I finished college, I took a job as a secretary in the accounts payable department of a major book publishing house. I hated this job because I was never very busy and spent my days waiting for my boss to give me something to do. I asked for and got more responsibilities, but even those only kept me busy 2–3 days per month.

I changed jobs and got a position in the production department of another publishing company. I was somewhat busier, but I stunk at taking messages and I hated filing book covers. I really needed more. At the age of 23 I was bored. I wanted a job that was self-driven and meaningful.

I ended up as a substitute teacher and I knew I had found IT. There was something to do every minute of every day. I went back to school and became a teacher, and never regretted the decision.

There is always a lesson to teach, something to grade, an activity to plan, more to learn, kids to talk to, something to clean up. Teaching has made me feel joyous, infuriated, exasperated, enthusiastic, rushed, overwhelmed, useful, content, guilty, energized, and any other emotion you can name. Except bored. I have never been bored.

Every Day Is A Little Different

No day in teaching is the same as the day before. No class is exactly the same as any other.

Wonderful things happen. The kid who never understands has an ah-ha moment. The whole class does well on a test. Student presentations show they really understand what you’ve taught them. A student draws you a picture or writes a note that melts your heart.

Sometimes the day can offer a different flavor of surprise. A fight breaks out in your room. Nobody passed the test, and you have a lot of reteaching to do. The kids are just giggly, and you can’t get through your lesson.

Lots of things go on to break up the regular routine.

-There’s an assembly.

-The teacher next door is absent without a substitute, and you suddenly have five visiting students.

-The kid in the second row throws up, causing the kid next to them to get sick too.

-It’s a party or celebration day- anything from President’s Day to Pi Day takes you out of the ordinary.

-You decide to show a movie.

-Everyone is behind and you declare a Catch-Up Day.

-Field Trip!

Sometimes disruptions to the schedule offer much needed relief from routine, and other times they are frustrating because all you want to do is get finished with the novel you’ve been teaching.

But I’ll bet you’re never bored!

You Have the Ability to Make It Fun

You know those training slides that we have to complete every year? Those aren’t much fun, are they? Yeah, let’s not do anything like that in our classrooms.

But games are fun. So are art projects. And putting on skits. Races. Singing. Experiments. Reels. Building models. Movies. The point is that, as teachers, we have limitless choices and latitude in how we present material and assess our students’ learning.

The purpose of this article isn’t to present a list of ideas. There are so many ideas on the internet, and lots of ideas to steal from your colleagues (let them steal yours back), and from your own imagination. The purpose of this article is to say that this degree of creativity and freedom of choice is not available in all professions. The freedom to be creative is a perk of teaching. Hey, we take the bad, we can take the good. We have to deal with testing, meetings, unreasonable parents, nonsensical regulations, unruly students, and all sorts of craziness on a daily basis. We should be completely comfortable with orchestrating as much fun as possible in our classrooms. There are times when any other profession seems preferable to our own. BUT, we can also inject a sense of fun that will make other people jealous.

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