For most of my college career, I’ve always wanted to be an educator. When people asked me why, I knew the answer: “Whenever I think back on all the people who made an impact on my life, they all seem to be teachers.”
And it was true. I think about how, to this day, I still think about some obscure thing my 11th grade U.S. History teacher said in passing, and I think about how amazing it is to have that kind of impact on someone and not even know. I think about how often times, a teacher is a student’s first love, and how a classroom can be a safe haven against god knows what. I think about how my teachers were a template for kindness and compassion and how all of the paths I forged for myself were ones my teachers helped me envision.
Then, in my junior year of college, I decided to make a career change. There were a lot of reasons behind it, but the main force behind this change was my dad’s death. My dad’s death created a sense of urgency within me, a need to undertake responsibility for my family and make my mom proud. Becoming a teacher wasn’t going to do that.
Another reason why I decided to make a career change was because, put simply, I didn’t want to be poor for the rest of my life. I realized that even if I was doing what I love, I couldn’t be happy if I wasn’t comfortable and was struggling to make ends meet. Don’t get me wrong, some people definitely can be – I’m just not someone who can. I always knew that my professional aspirations didn't align with capitalist definitions of self-worth, but when people asked me how I was going to make money as a teacher or what I was going to do with a social sciences degree, I naively met their condescension with the conviction that if you love something, the money will follow. I always knew what being a teacher entailed, and even more than that, I knew what poverty entailed, but my optimism had always outweighed my cynicism. My dad dying changed that.
So I made a career change. I stopped working at nonprofits and started doing things that made me more “employable”. And you know what? IT SUCKS! I wish we could do the things we love without worrying about having to make a living at it, or have things that we enjoy without feeling the need to monetize our joy. I can’t enjoy my weekends without worrying about whether or not I’m being productive enough, or pursue activities that don’t necessarily benefit my resume. For example, even though I started this blog as a creative outlet, I still find myself thinking about ways to grow my blog in the back of my mind, and I still feel like this thing isn’t “worth it” if I can’t reap any material benefits from it (feel free to sponsor me, Daniel Wellington).
Truth be told, I still want to be an educator. My impulse and my inclination has always been toward teaching. Some people may read this and think that I’m immature and have yet to realize that money isn’t everything. To those people, I say: fuck off. LOL. On a more serious note, people fail to realize that telling people to just do what they love comes from a very privileged place. It’s a luxury to not have to think about money and to do whatever your heart desires. Yes, I want to be a teacher. But I want to not have to live in a basement for the rest of my life, more.
I don’t know what the point of this post was. I’m told a piece of writing should have a takeaway. I guess it’s this: fuck capitalism. Let’s all be socialists.