“Why aren’t you practicing law?” “Couldn’t you be making a lot more money as a lawyer?”
I have a JD from Texas Tech School of Law, so I get asked those questions a lot. The answer to the first question becomes obvious once you see what a special place The Saint Constantine School is. As for the second question, the short answer is yes, I could make more money practicing law. However, there are some things in life that you really cannot put a price tag on, and working at a place that brings you joy while seeing your kids every day is one of those things for me.
Last year, I was working 4 days per week, 10 hours per day for the US government. It was stressful to keep up with my job, trying to make sure people got their benefits in a timely manner while also protecting the country from those who were criminals or were committing fraud. However, even though it added to my workload, I decided that I wanted to help at TSCS on my days off. I began by subbing a few times for various elementary grades. I was hooked, line and sinker, early on. When you walk around the TSCS campus, you see that these kids are genuinely happy and that the teachers genuinely care about them. When a full-time sub was needed for a Pre-K4 class whose wonderful teacher had gone on maternity leave, I jumped at the chance to take it. I gave my two weeks' notice at my government job, and the rest is history. I am now a 5th grade instructor at TSCS and, without a doubt, teaching is the best job I have had in my life. I am a firm believer in God’s providence. I believe that He puts you where you are supposed to be at each particular moment of your life. Everything I have done prior to teaching has led me to teaching at TSCS.
So what drew me to TSCS if it was not the big salary? I told the Dean of the Lower School that I was drawn here because of the culture. The very family-orientated culture. I love that these kids are truly my extended family, and I think most of the faculty feels the same way. My co-workers are my brothers and sisters. We may not share the same blood; however, we care about the kids and each other in a way that I did not know was possible in a workplace environment. We love Christ and want to participate in raising Saints.
I did not know what it truly meant to be a teacher before coming here. I quickly realized that I am responsible for teaching an entire human, not just cycling through a curriculum. I may love English or history with a passion, but at the end of the day, I am investing in a person, not a subject. I love the kids and want them to excel in anything that they put their mind to, but I also want them to find joy in the things they do. A lot of people do not understand that a student can love their teacher and that teachers can love their students in an appropriate and professional manner. If I do not invest in them and make them feel loved, they will not learn anything, anyway. Humans who know that they are loved can accomplish great things, and the students at TSCS know that they are loved.
In sum, I do not think it matters how much money you are making, or how successful you are compared to others. You should pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some hard things about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone, because it may cripple your soul. For me, teaching has turned out to be the job that brings me joy.
I will leave you with one final thought, and it is what I hope my kids understand. Christ does not call us to be lawyers, bankers, or housewives. He calls lawyers, bankers, and housewives to be disciples. So whatever you do in life, do it as well as possible, and it will be a good icon.