Are you in a job or do you have a career? Are you passionate about your position or do you go to work with a sense of dread every day? A 2013 Gallup study found a mere 13% of the workforce felt engaged by their jobs--meaning they felt hugely connected and engaged in what they were doing and spent their days innovating ways to make their company perform better. Conversely, the same study said that 63% of workers are "not engaged," meaning they're workers who during the day visit their "happy place" mentally. Finally Gallup found that 24% of workers are "actively disengaged" meaning they pretty much despise their job. Add the last two categories together and you find only 13% of workers who are emotionally engaged in their workplace and find fulfillment there.
Even though the study is four years old, the numbers disturb me. Can really that many people be so dissatisfied with their occupations? That's a hugely unhappy workforce. All these statistics made me look to my own profession. Teaching. I'd say we're statistical anomalies. Most teachers are engaged and passionate about what they do. Their problem isn't the kids, it's the lack of administrative support and recognition. Yes, there are bad teachers out there who merely "warm a seat," but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.
I ask myself every August if I'm still passionate about teaching. Whenever the answer is "no," I'll know it's time to hang it up. If I'm miserable in the classroom, my kids will be miserable in the classroom. How fair is that? I want school to be an exciting experience that offers real-life application of academic skills to the real world. Some may question whether I teach English or not, but I'm pretty sure I do. Some classics, some choice, some moderns, some short stories, some poetry, some writing--last I checked those are all components of English.
So evaluate yourself. If you're one of the 87%, maybe it's time to find a different workplace. For me, I've found my niche.However, my passion isn't just to teach content, it's to teach kids. That is my passion and if you're a teacher, it should be yours too. It's easy to get caught up in content, but it's more important to get caught up in kids. When you do that, it can make all the difference.