I had a sudden thought yesterday that it was supposed to be my last day of teaching. Unfortunately though, the course was cancelled due to lack of enrolments.
About 10 years ago I went through a mid-life crisis of wondering what I wanted to do with my life. I started thinking back to my childhood dreams of what I wanted to do 'when I grew up'. It was always teaching. Luckily for me, I ended up in IT instead - I don't think I could've handled being a primary school teacher like I wanted. However 10+ years ago, I did take the plunge into adult education teaching.
It was the perfect blend for me. I liked teaching adults. I was teaching at adult community colleges and on the whole, the people that were there, wanted to be there. It wasn't like TAFE or Uni where they 'had' to be there. These people had their own busy lives and had made the time to come along to a course to learn a new skill.
I was teaching computer courses - anything from web design to basic Windows & Outlook for seniors. I was still working full-time when I began, and would teach at nights or on weekends.
When Billy was a baby and in preschool, I was teaching several days a week. It started to wear me down. I had to travel an hour each way to that college, so I was dropping him at preschool / daycare about 7:30 in the morning, rushing down in peak hour traffic to the college, teaching all day, driving home and picking him up about 6pm. I hated it. (And its my greatest regret in life.) I started to hate the teaching - teaching the same courses day in / day out. And I hate to admit it, but I was turning into a really slack teacher. Just there for the money. The college was also in a bit of upheaval with staff leaving. I ended up quitting that place.
Some time after that, I was contacted by another adult community college in the area and asked to teach there. It was back to a more manageable level - nights and weekends a couple of times each term. I worked there for a couple of years - firstly in their Newcastle venue and then just at the local Maitland one. They utilised high school rooms after hours so there was no week-day teaching. As it went on, I didn't want to travel to Newcastle anymore to teach at night and I was becoming possessive of my weekends. Pete was working long hours and away a lot, so I was trying to keep weekends free for us to do stuff or just hang as a family. Then it became an issue trying to get the night courses so they wouldn't clash with Pete's squash nights or when I could get babysitting, and due to falling numbers, more courses were being cancelled than were being run. I resigned from there.
Fast forward a year or so, and I was called by yet another local community college - this time an hour's drive away in a different direction. They'd been given my name by college #2. I'm a sucker and although I wanted to say no, I didn't. So for the last couple of years, I've been teaching one or two days / term at this other college. They had wonderful staff and a fully equipped computer room, so I really enjoyed the time, but I could feel myself starting to dread it again.
I was ok once I got there and started teaching, but I was in danger of becoming slack again. I'd be wishing the course would be cancelled each time rather than hoping it would go ahead. This time I knew the danger signs and didn't want lower my standards.
So driving there last term, I made a split second decision - I've had enough. I'm going to put my notice in. I gave them a term's notice (which was the course I was supposed to teach yesterday). They still want me to come back but I'm holding firm.
So that's it - for now anyway. 10 years of teaching has come to an end. I may go back to it some day - who knows? But for now my life is busy enough without that added burden.
And it feels great.