Whine, whine, whine.
A blog of this nature skews naturally toward the negative. I write about the crises and challenges. I write about long hours, crazy requirements, and administrative wackiness. Lately, I write about staggering amounts of government interference in administrative offices, classrooms and even lunchrooms.
I’d like to pause a bit and describe the end of my last day. Two girls who were former students ran up and just spontaneously gave me big hugs and told me how much they missed me. Three colleagues and I talked to a student and his mom about how he needed to step up his game, focus and do his work. I’m honestly not having much trouble with that student, though. In fact, he’s often a delight. I embrace my critical thinkers and this boy can think. He knows I believe in him and I think he responds accordingly. I’ve had to write him up. I’ve even contributed to the list of referrals that got him Saturday school. But he knows I am in his corner and if he marches to a different drummer, well, I’ve heard that drummer all my life. At the end of the day, I handed out a fair number of Jolly Ranchers, some to the boy in trouble, his brother and cousin (both former students whose presence makes my day brighter) and some to the five girls I forced to stay after school to make up work. New government regulations say I am not supposed to give out candy during the school day, so I give out Jolly Rancher coupons for after school. You don’t necessarily need a coupon, but a coupon is redeemable for a Jolly Rancher after hours.
I talked to colleagues for awhile. I like my colleagues. I could name a few, past and present, whom I love. Teaching attracts interesting people. Teaching is one of the few paying refuges for would-be historians, archeologists, musicians and poets. The field draws in people who understand why the First World War mattered, people who draw maps for recreation, and people who create zombie apocalypse blogs for fun. The staff lunch room is filled with people who have hobbies even if they are often too busy to work on those hobbies during the school year. I don’t get quilting — I don’t have the patience — but I find quilters agreeable lunch companions.
Eduhonesty: This job can be enormously frustrating due to all the demands from higher-up, some of which are irrational and unproductive. But I can sit if I need to, I can walk around my room all day if I choose to (and I don’t much like sitting) and I have a sense that what I am doing matters. Some kids may end up with two babies by the age of 18 and no plans for further education, but others will achieve their goal to go into nursing or computer programming. I am one of the voices trying to make dreams into reality. I am working in a school where the dreams are sparse and expectations few, so the challenge proves daunting on some days.
But I like my job. On good days, I love my job.