I retired after years as a theatre teacher. Yes, I chose my profession, and I love my profession. I taught school all day and went directly into rehearsals that ended at 7:30, 8:30, or later. Weekends were eaten up with paperwork and things that needed to be done in preparation for a stage production. I often held rehearsals on Saturdays as well. Eight weeks a year, I was at school past 10:00 — even past 11:00 because we were in “show mode.” I also dealt with some parents “who were rude, entitled, and full of the most complaints and demands.” My 150 students were my “clients” with many needs and demands. The pressure and stress to get high standardized test scores from teenagers, some of whom came from poor homes where parents weren’t home, where food wasn’t easily accessible, where learning wasn’t important, kept me awake at night. (Teacher salary now depends, in part, on how students perform on state/national tests.) Lesson planning was an on-going, ever-changing effort that took many hours. Reading and evaluating student written work never ended. I spent the month of June organizing, cleaning and preparing my theatre, costumes, props, light/sound booths for fall. School started again in early August. The school district task makers threw useless, time-eating paperwork at me and my colleagues. There was never anything like a “bonus” at the year’s end. No trips to be won, no parties thrown in our honor. I’m sure I’m not the only teacher with this history. I just wish more people outside the teaching profession understood that we’re not whining. It’s a tough job.