“If you hate your job, don’t work it your whole life,” Mike Schmidt, English teacher, said. Statistically, the average person changes jobs an average of 12 times during his or her career, according to balancecareers.com. It took Schmidt 3 tries before finding the job he now loves and he is now an English teacher at Highlands Ranch High School, but that wasn’t initially what he wanted to do.
“Originally, I swore it off, because my mom was a teacher and my dad was a school psychologist; I was like ‘no,’” said Schmidt. His family connections in school made him want to do something else in life. He went on to college to try and figure out what to do.
Schmidt went to college not knowing what he wanted to do. “When I was in college, I was majoring in English, because I enjoyed it, but there was a point where I was like, ‘What am I going to do with this?’” Schmidt said. “So I decided to take a second major, so I double majored in English and Economics; I was thinking ‘Surely that will get me some sort of financial [or] banking job.’”
He then went on to do a banking job through a friend. “Having the stress [of being an account manager], I was like ‘alright, I can’t do this anymore.’” At this point in time, Schmidt knew he needed to get another job, so he quit his job as account manager.
Schmidt then found another job a couple months later. “I did get another job, where I eventually became a trainer there,” said Schmidt. “That was really my first taste of teaching anybody anything.”
At this new job, Schmidt would train a mixture of new and old employees. “That was my first taste of having a job where I was teaching people. In a weird way it did sort of establish things that I still do; one of my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher is that I treat my kids like adults, even when I shouldn’t,” said Schmidt.
As a trainer, Schmidt discovered that he wanted to become a teacher, but he didn’t know how he would get his teaching license. Schmidt then got into a program that was specifically made to teach someone how to teach in the inner city. He took night classes at this program while he worked his job as a trainer during the day.
Once he was done in the program, he ended up quitting his job to be a student teacher for a semester; he then was a substitute teacher for a semester. “I was actually kind of upset, like the school had like 3 open English [teacher] positions and they did not hire me. I was like, ‘God, I must suck at this.’”
After a semester of being a substitute teacher, Schmidt got a job teaching in the inner city. “I had no confidence as a teacher at first; it wasn’t until I had my first formal evaluation with my first principal. He [the principal] told me that I was the best new teacher that he had hired that year,” said Schmidt.
That principal saying that to Schmidt gave him the confidence he needed to continue teaching. Now he works at HR as an English teacher and plans on staying in education.
Schmidt said, “If I had stayed at that first job I had, I am sure I’d be making over a hundred grand by now, but I would also be miserable.”
Alexandria Tornato Sotelo, Guest Reporter