I was watching an old episode of 8 Out of 10 Cats a few nights ago and one of the questions that came up was “what is the hardest job?”. I was watching in bed at the time, absolutely shattered after a long day at school, but despite my tiredness it genuinely never occurred to me that teaching would be the answer. I lay there muttering “Nurse, definitely nurse” to myself as I mentally scrolled through all the jobs I know I could never do (or in the case of my 6 month stint at Phones 4U, jobs I would never do again…) I was honestly surprised by the answer. The majority of people questioned had indeed said that teaching would be the hardest job to do.
My surprise didn’t come from over-confidence or any ease with which I do my job. I didn’t lie there thinking “Teaching? Really!? But every day spent at school is such a breeze!” My goodness, I spent the large majority of January/February coming home from work crying to my husband about how tired I was, how much work I had to do and various other things I was unhappy about at my school. It was definitely hard. It was awful. But I dealt with it (that’s for another blog) and now I’m feeling fine again.
My surprise did not come from a place of belittling those who find teaching difficult or feeling smug towards those who think they could never do the job. I never wanted to be a teacher when I started university, despite people telling me they thought I’d be good at it. I couldn’t stand the idea of going back into a school because of my own unhappy time there (work with TEENAGERS?! NEVER!). Looking back, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do but I am so glad I finally listened to all those amateur careers advisors because it turns out they were right. I do love my job most of the time… and that’s an important caveat. Most of the time it’s great. But at other times it’s ruddy hard. Really ruddy, flippin, bloomin hard. Sometimes I hate it. But it just so happens that when Jimmy Carr posed that question I didn’t hate it. I was (and still am) in a good place and felt surprised because I was thinking about all those friends and family who work incredibly hard at jobs I would consider to be so much harder.
I know it’s subjective and maybe next half term I’ll be struggling again but right now I am glad my answer to that question was not teacher. Best job in the world? Maybe not. But hardest? Nah.