The ‘Aladdin’ thing – that’s not work; that’s just fun. Three days in the recording studio going mad, then the animators do all the work. Not a bad way to cash a large cheque, my friend.
— Robin Williams
I loved Robin Williams, right from his Mork and Mindy days. I was devastated when I heard that he wasn’t with us anymore and, what’s more, why.
But he got me thinking about work, and whether or not work is work if it’s fun.
I have heard people say that they get up each morning and can’t wait to go to work. I’ve never really ‘got’ that.
There are aspects of my work as a teacher that I love: the rapport that you build with the children; the friendships you develop with colleagues; and the sense of belonging to a team of like-minded people. I will even go as far to say that I enjoy planning the lessons and writing reports. (Yes, there are teachers out there who now think I have rocks in my head, but I love writing and I actually enjoy the challenge of saying what I need and want to say about each child in a creative, honest and concise way – without getting in trouble.)
However, there are also many, many aspects of my job I do not find fun at all: the endless trivial admin, which is getting worse every year; staff meetings and professional learning sessions that are not relevant to my role or that teach me how to suck eggs; the media, who like to blow everything out of proportion or put the idea into the heads of the public that schools need to take on the parenting role as well (because, what else do we really do?); the parents who put pressure on their children, or who like to use teachers as a scapegoat for their own insecurities (thankfully, these parents are in the minority, but there is usually at least one in every class); the teachers who think they know everything, who believe their way is the only way or who make jokes about children with special needs (in front of another teacher – me – whose child has special needs … sorry, just a vent). This list is not complete, but you get the idea.
In all honesty, there are many days where I have to drag myself to school. Once I’m there with the children usually all is good again; but it would be a blatant lie if I said that I LOVE my job every day. Teaching, when you consider the non face-to-face aspects, is not 100% fun — not even close.
I know a few people who have jobs where they get to combine work with what may have started as a hobby. Musicians, writers, personal trainers. These people are in this job because of a personal interest, they are doing something they love and (in some cases) are making a living from it. (Ok, maybe not the writers.) But, listening to them talk about their ‘work’, the story is often quite different. Internally, I scoff and think, ‘How can you describe what you do as work?’ However,the line between a fun hobby and not-so-fun work is a fine one indeed.
I would love to know of anyone who can say, in all honesty, that every aspect of their job is FUN. If that is you — well done. Can you please bottle it and share it around? Or maybe you would consider loaning me your magic lamp?