“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” is one of the famous translations of the gate into Dante’s Hell. And I can’t help but think of teaching when it comes to this line. I see new teachers on the campus, I hear about people wanting to get a degree so they can teach, and I want to warn them away. I want them to know what I struggle with and see that the system as a whole is not improving. I want to tell them of my doubts about continuing on, about the types of students they will encounter, about an ever-shrinking job market with fewer and fewer opportunities to advance.
I feel like a doomsayer and even a traitor. Teachers are supposed to always laud their profession. They are to throw themselves tirelessly, even thanklessly, into the profession because it is noble and for the benefit of society as whole, and it is worth any cost so long as we reach just one student.
But there are practical considerations such as when teachers live below the poverty line, or when they put in their required hours but must also spend two to three times that—unpaid—in grading student work.
Am I wrong to want to give warnings about the realities besetting this profession?