Hey, teacher! (Brian Katcher)

How to piss off people of various careers:

Police: Don't I pay your salary?
Teachers: It's like you get paid to play all day!
Stay at home parents: Must be nice not to work.
Clergy: So you only have to work one day a week?
Writers: What do you really do?

It's a sad fact of life, but every author I personally know either has a day job, or a spouse that's wealthy enough to mostly support the family. Unfortunately, writing is too precarious a profession to gamble the rent money on. I recently spent a year writing a novel, only to have my agent tell me it was unsalable. And just when the world needs more books about circus clowns who solve mysteries.
So what do I really do? I'm an elementary school librarian and computer teacher. While my responsibilities have changed with time, I've been a teacher in one form or another for the past 23 school years. 

So why teaching? I could always get my job back at Enron, I suppose. And there are plenty of job opportunities in my town, as this enterprising gentleman demonstrated:

Well, there are several advantages to being a teacher.

*Summers off. I get about eight weeks off a year. I'm free to do whatever I want until early August when I have to go back and put my classrooms in order (and when someone invariably asks for a rewrite after two months of silence). 

*I have the immune system of a horse. My wife (also a teacher) and I were almost the only people who made it to family Christmas this year, due to a spate of the flu. We were repeatedly told that we risked infection ourselves, but we just laughed. We're exposed to so many germs on a daily basis that we almost never get sick.

*Excellent retirement. Put in your 31 years and you have a comfortable retirement ahead of you. Both my parents were teachers. As they are now retired and I'm paying into the retirement fund, I tell people I'm supporting my parents.

*All that stuff about molding kids' minds and being a mentor and stuff. Oh, and the chicken patties in the cafeteria. Those are great.

I'm often asked if I wrote a best seller, would I quit teaching. The answer is no. I think I'd see things through to the end. I have job satisfaction. And when things get rough, I can always abuse a vendor.

Dance, salesman! Dance for my amusement. 


  1. 4 generations of teachers in our family with three generations who write in one form or another, so I can certainly relate to this post.

  2. I also have a dayjob I enjoy. Though I'm not a teacher, I AM an instructor. I design corporate training.


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