Giving Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, so it’s time to give thanks for all my good fortune.  Here are five of my job-related blessings.

1. A salary.

Last week, I wrote a post about money anxiety.  However, I took pains to point out that money anxiety is relative.  Every two weeks, a paycheck shows up in my bank account.  This even continues magically through the summer and winter holidays, when I don’t have to go to work.  It’s kind of amazing.

2. The summer and winter holidays.

Self-explanatory.

3. A sense of meaning.

There are moments when I detest my job, but I never, ever question whether it’s important.  On my best days, it infuses my whole life with significance.  Even if a teacher doesn’t take this job seriously, it’s a serious job.  It has profound effects on everyone the teacher comes in contact with.  (If the teacher doesn’t take the job seriously, the effects are mostly negative.)  Every day is an opportunity to make an impact on the world.  I rarely forget this.

4. The obligation to leave my very small world and mind.

I’m an introvert, so, left to my own devices, I’d probably spend all my time in my house with my husband (his company is pretty much like being alone, but less lonely and more amusing) and my cats (animals are better than people.)  I’d venture out occasionally to have lunch or a walk with my very closest friends, whose world views and communication styles are pretty much identical to my own.  I would soon develop a perspective so circumscribed that I would be even more terrified of people unlike me than I already am.

However, my job requires me to go to another part of town, interact with a wide variety of interesting and intelligent but not always easy adult colleagues, and grapple with connecting to young people who come from cultures, social environments and life experiences that are baffling to me.  My job makes me work hard at being with other people, and if I didn’t have it, I’d probably be turning into a nasty and snooty old lady.

5. Walks to and from the metro.

My commute involves 30-40 minutes of daily walking.  I haven’t gone for a run or done a yoga class in almost two months.  If I owned a car, I would weigh 50 pounds more than I do and would probably be in the early stages of osteoporosis.  I won’t like it when it’s -40 outside, but for now, those little marches are one of the best parts of my day.

Tell me what you’re thankful for – I have no doubt it will inspire me.

Image by Rainer Topf

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12 responses

  1. Many things. But when I was teaching, I was able to walk to work and that 25 minute walk back and forth was the best part of the day- great way to get ideas, make the transition from rushing around in the am, getting 3 kids and me out the door, and then the reverse, unwinding, trying to leave the classroom and return home. Enjoy your day.

  2. Colleagues to trade ideas with. Past experiences to draw on. The teachers in my life that made a difference in who I am today. Student successes–they come and go as though on a conveyor belt and are sometimes easy to forget, but they are lasting. The opportunity to plant and water seeds that will continue to grow.

    The fact that I am not alone in my efforts.

  3. The ones that come back to see me. The ones I run into and they tell me something they remember from my class. Not long ago, I walked into the building where the local pool is and said hello to the desk clerk. A young woman was walking away from us and down the hallway. When she heard my hello, she wheeled around instantly and said my name. Twelve years have passed since she was in my class, but the sound of my voice saying one word brought instant recognition and a big smile. Boy, am I grateful for this tangible evidence that I have done something important in this world!

  4. Without fawning? I am thankful for this blog, which often sets me back onto a more even keel when I am at the end of my rope.

    A few days ago some graduates came in to tell me how useful Senior Project had been — easy-peasy speech class. Another just emailed me to let me know he’s blogging for a non-partisan newsletter and writing freeform poetry again. I’m thankful that I’m making a difference, and that my former students have taken time to tell me so.

  5. I’m thankful I have a husband who gets on my case and wants me to exercise. I’m thankful for a huge family that I like to keep in touch with. I’m thankful I can check out this blog and read the words of a bright, sensitive, interesting person. It helps me understand and appreciate the life of a dedicated teacher with its normal ups and downs while influencing and expanding the minds of young adults!

  6. I am thankful that even though I am a certified teacher who can’t find a teaching job, that I have a job I love just as much working with unemployed adults to find work.

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