Second Thoughts

I’m not really sure I can afford to become a teacher.

And I’m not talking in an abstract, ephermeral, doomed-romance sense; I literally mean that I probably can’t afford to be a teacher. I crunched the numbers, one time harshly, one time generously, and both sets of numbers had me sitting there, mouth dry, ah-is-this-calculator-right expression.

I can’t afford to become a high school teacher in New Zealand. I’m going to stick at it, because I’m pig-headed in my own passive, well-I’m-here-now-what-the-hell way, but that first year…I can’t see it working. I can’t see myself having enough money to live on as a 31 year old with a wife who is new to the country and won’t be able to get a job immediately, and besides, we plan to start a family asap….I have savings, from my time working overseas, but that’s a chumps game, sticking with a job that requires you to burn through your savings just to keep afloat, to live the Kiwi dream of a house, and a car, and a couple of kids, and a week camping every year, and…

Plus immigration is dragging its feet with my wife’s residence visa – there seems to be a curious indifference radiating from the bureacracy of my own country regarding my stated desire to come back here and live and enjoy what New Zealand has to offer. I have six months until my course ends, and if she doesn’t have a visa by then, well, this whole post becomes moot because I’m heading back overseas to a country that will allow the both of us to live and work with a minimum of fuss (and for a higher salary, and less tax – it says something that I am trading that for a lifestyle in NZ that I think would be more sutiable for raising a family, assuming their father can earn enough for food).

You teach for the love of the profession, granted, and I’m no different in that respect. I never considered teaching as a career until I fell into it, found I had some aptitude for it, liked the interaction with the students (university, in my previous job’s case). There is almost nothing better than a student “getting” something on your watch, because of your explanation or cajoling, or encouragement. It’s just hard to forget your next mortgage payment once the bell rings.

Anyway, enough of the pity party. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe it won’t. I intend this blog to be a running commentary of the life of a trainee teacher and their first year on the job, names and particulars changed when and if required, as well as discussion about various education-related news that crops up.

Plus the occasional Sonic Youth photo. And maybe a movie rant or two. Teachers have got to relax as well you know.

Coming up tomorrow: a recap of my first six months of teacher’s college.

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