Version 1: If you had not become a teacher, what other field or line of work would you have pursued?
Version 2: If you had to quit teaching tomorrow, what would you do instead?
When frustrated and exhausted with teaching I’ve always joked “I’d sure like to work at Macy’s at Christmastime”. I’ve always worked with kids, ever since I was 15 years old. In high school the fitness club I worked summer camp for tried to get me to cover the front desk. The slightly older than me teen “trained me” w a quick 20 minute tour of what I had to do, including a really fast tutorial of the cash register. A “Got it? Good” kind of thing. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. Next thing I knew, I was giving customers change from my own pocket, desperate to avoid that thing. That was my first and last experience working a cash register.
Another time, my BFF was working for the summer in her Dad’s office. He was a lawyer. She said “Come and work w me!” I said, ‘But I don’t know how to type on lines or answer phones w buttons!” She said it was fine, not to worry. Ok, so I went. Her Dad looked me over (he had known me since I was eleven) and asked me to go type up this form. (it had lots of lines) Sweating, I went over to the typewriter and tried to pigeon-peck my way through the form. I was doing it! Instantly sensing my inexperience about 45 seconds into my triumph, he came over and grumbled “ah, move, I’ll do it, go!” Yep. I lasted a whole 2 minutes in that job. My BFF and I still laugh about those few minutes as it was so characteristically both her father and me intersecting in a rare exchange of personality quirkiness.
As far as dream jobs, I’ve always wanted to be a waitress in a slightly bad restaurant. Maybe not bad but not fancy. Someplace I could call people “honey” and chit chat w old ladies and pour coffee and even maybe chew gum. Maybe “Alice” and Polly Holliday and the girls in Mel’s Diner made a bigger impression on me when I was young than I realized!
I’d also like to go on the open road. Like a trucker. Not on congested highways but cross country. I could take photographs and honk my horn at kids who know the signal. Do my part in the unspoken horn honking dance that occurs between truckers and kids. I could drive all day w the window open and work the CB. Maybe get a dog.
Either trucker or I’d bake poetry pies. I would bake and sell pies and you would get some poetry with your blueberry crumble.
If I had to quit teaching right now? I’d want to work full-time for #Kinderchat. I’m still obsessing over the idea of the #Kinderchat van and going cross-country to visit all the teachers and classrooms. Like a Scooby-doo Mystery Machine van. Whatever dream jobs I’d do, it’d need to involve connecting with people, creativity and lots of freedom to experiment, laugh, create and play. That’s what I have loved most about teaching ever since I was a kid myself.