Thinking some more about the whole idea of getting a teaching degree.
1. I'm not a great people person.
Someone always disagrees with me on this. I don't think of myself as particularly socially-graceful, but it's true I've learned a bit since becoming an adult, and when my energy reserves are alright, I'm friendly and seem to leave a good impression with others. With the right people, this works in a more general way too.
The problem is, not all people are going to be "the right people", and my energy reserves tend to get depleted rapidly. At the start of any given volunteering session (three-hour classes), I'm usually in a good mood and happy to be there. By the end, I am desperately wishing I could teleport home, without having to endure the bus ride. What's more, if I am very stressed already, or the people I'm meeting aren't the sort with whom I get along naturally and easily (and most people are not), then there is an especially high chance of faux pas or just encountering my own failure modes.
This is an issue because being a teacher basically means working with people from the early morning until late in the day, with only a few breaks throughout. At my current level of functioning, I cannot do that for more than a few hours at a time, ideally once a day (or twice at most) and only a couple times a week.
2. I'm visibly trans.
This varies from day to day and seems to depend heavily on the viewer (but I note that the only people who are predisposed to read me as anything else are those who were positively-disposed towards trans people in the first place). I get harassed in the street on a fairly regular basis, and if nothing else my height makes it hard to just blend in no matter how I present myself. I'm going to get noticed for my height, one way or another, and that brings with it heightened scrutiny because most people aren't used to a woman this tall.
To some extent, I don't worry about the students. It could certainly come up, but I figure the station as a teacher gives me some broad latitude to deal with any trouble there. No, what worries me is parents, particularly here in the Midwest but really just in general wherever I might find myself in four years. An awful lot of people who are willing to put up with us existing get very touchy about us having any contact whatsoever with children (I remember receiving a lot of looks from shocked parents when I worked with 3-5 year olds in a daycare center, but it was a very pluralistic college campus in the Northwest and my natural manner with the children seemed to help). I am far from optimistic about a school board, PTA or other deciding body defending me in such a situation, regardless of what the law may ostensibly be. If nothing else, such a controversy might make it ridiculously hard to search for work elsewhere.
There's also just the fact that I might not get hired in the first place, because of school administrators playing out the above scenario mentally or just having similar concerns. Magically, I'd just find there weren't too many second interviews forthcoming. And then I have to face having gone into debt with Tess to get a college degree I can't even use.
3. I'm not sure if this field is a good match for me.
To some extent you can't know that until you get in, but I do have some additional concerns: my health leaves me needing some extra latitude around time off. I invariably use any sick time I have available, and in previous jobs have occasionally had to find someone to cover me on short notice. I can't imagine being a schoolteacher will be anything less than demanding of perfect or near-perfect attendance; on some level I'm afraid that I need more leeway than the job can really afford to grant.
That said, a regular schedule is beneficial in other ways. It tends to give me structure and rythm to my time, which helps tremendously. When I'm given room to make my own hours, I find it's harder to use them effectively. A consistent schedule would certainly give me some structure.
I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to have an alternative pathway in mind. It's just kind of hard to figure out what...