This article was written by Ali Solomon - a NYC public middle school art teacher for the past 15 years. She's written for The Huffington Post, McSweeney's, and Scary Mommy, among others. Find more of her work at her blog, Facebook page, or Twitter.
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Once that teaching certification is in hand, the changes start happening. At first, they're small: perhaps you start drinking more coffee, or get giddy over Staples catalogs. Next thing you know, you're editing your friends' holiday cards with red ink, demanding that people at the pub waiting for the bathroom form two straight lines, or referring to your Smart Board as your "work husband."
Being a teacher will forever change you.
1. You will think of a “year” as beginning in September and ending in June.
This will become confusing when people invite you to their end-of-year parties or when you try to do your taxes, but really, there will be no other way of seeing it.
2. Other teachers will claim that, due to their early schedules, they no longer have the ability to sleep in on weekends. This will not happen to you.
After five days of waking up earlier than a farmer, you could fall asleep by 8 pm on Friday and rise the following Monday still feeling like you’re coming off a two-week bender.
3. After spending 6 1/2 hours a day suppressing your filthy sailor mouth, your vernacular will permanently harken back to that of a 1920’s debutante, with enough “Oh my stars!” and “Well, applesauce!” to bring bees to their knees.
4. Even if you don’t teach English, you’ll find yourself correcting strangers’ grammar.
If one more person sends you a card that says, “Your Invited,” your head might explode red ink everywhere.
5. At some point, you will ask your mom to spit out her gum.
She’ll claim it’s just a cough drop, but she’s totally lying.
6. At dinner parties, you will have the best anecdotes to share.
But when the laughter subsides, all the other guests will be really glad they didn’t have to remove a turd from their chalkboard tray.
7. You will get annoyed when people are late.
Like, really annoyed. They’d better have a good excuse, accompanied by a note from a parent.
8. Friends will recommend that you watch certain movies about noble, self-sacrificing teachers who change the lives of their students and then leave the profession after one year to go write a book about their experience.
These movies will leave you wanting to stab yourself in the eye with a cafeteria spork.
9. You will make a really loud click-clack sound when you walk down a hallway.
Even if you’re barefoot.
10. You will become accustomed to consuming five cups of coffee and then going the entire day without being able to use the bathroom.
11. You’ll have no idea how loud your voice has become until you have a crystal-clear conversation with your friend while at a Van Halen concert.
12. At work, you will spend a lot of time talking about what you plan to do over vacation, what you ended up doing over vacation, and what you’re looking forward to eating for lunch.
13. You will enjoy a healthy social life, full of happy hours, dinner with friends, clubbing, and bar crawls.
All of this will take place before your 8:30 p.m. bedtime.
14. Outside of school, you’ll run into your students all the time. Everywhere.
Usually when you are window-shopping at Victoria’s Secret or buying wine at the grocery-store at 10:00am.
15. You will explain until your breath leaves your body, but none of your non-teacher friends will understand the point of tenure.
16. For your first year of teaching, you’ll own an array of power suits.
Eventually you will downgrade to business casual. By the time you retire, you’ll be wearing chalk-stained track pants and bunny slippers.
17. Without consulting a clock, you will have the uncanny ability of knowing exactly when 45 minutes have passed.
18. Your sense of hearing will become heightened but also selective.
You’ll be able to overhear a conversation taking place several city blocks away but will also be able to block out conversations that are happening right next to you, especially if they are about gardening, your neighbor’s home improvements, or your students’ friend dramas.
19. After spending all day trying to keep up with your students’ latest lingo, pop-culture references, and newfangled tech crazes, you will go home, cuddle up on the couch with your overhead projector, and binge-watch VHS tapes of Out of this World.
20. Like that guy in Memento, you will return from every summer vacation with no recollection of what you do for a living.