For all my friends who have wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth, this will hopefully prove that I haven’t. I apologize to all for my prolonged absence; over Spring Break, I was asked to fill a new position for the District. I was not happy about the assignment nor the location, and was loath to leave the best gig I have ever had as a teacher, but the Superintendent was in a personnel bind, I was the most logical choice to fill this immediate need, and I felt that I owed the Sup’t a favor, so I agreed to go.
I can’t go into any detail, but the job was everything I feared it would be. It is physically, emotionally, and psychologically draining. I am all but incommunicado on the job and, as much as I miss being in touch with the world, I would not now want a phone or a computer in my classroom for all the Blue Bell in Brenham. When I get home, I can barely function enough to check my e-mail and keep the kids from descending completely into anarchy.
The past nine weeks have made me completely re-think teaching as a career. I have decided at this point that unless I am offered my dream teaching job (HS History or Government), I will not teach next year. I am beginning to explore other career fields, but don’t really know where to start. Perhaps you can help. I have a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism (ABJ) from The University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication–consistently ranked in the top 5 J-schools in the country and home to the George Foster Peabody awards for outstanding achievements in broadcasting. Alton Brown, Deborah Norville, Lewis Grizzard, Judy Woodruff and Charlayne Hunter-Gault are notable fellow alumni.
My passions are research and history. I am fascinated with politics, and belong to a political family both by birth and by marriage, but will never run for office myself as I am not willing to subject my family, friends, and garbage man to the levels of scrutiny that are inherent in the effort to join in today’s political process. I had to do some “nose in the dusty books” research last week highlighting and tabbing text in preparation for a showdown with a parent (including reading a Supreme Court decision–12 pages of gobbledygook just to say that by the time the case reached the Supremes, the point was moot) and loved every minute of it.
You already know what my dream teaching job is, but I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t teach. I wish I had listened to my dad when he wanted me to go pre-law in college, but that is water under the bridge now. To my friend, Judge Cindy, who wants me to go back and enter law school, I apologize but I have to concentrate on getting my kids into college now, not me. I love sports, and applied for an ass’t SID (Sports Information Director) job I would have loved to have, but realized that I am not really qualified for it. I am great at editing and enjoy it immensely, but again, my bane is lack of experience other than grading Jr. High writing projects and editing the Master’s Theses of others (they all looked good when I finished!)
This much I know. I am sick unto death of No Child Left Behind (which I ardently supported until I became a teacher and spent more time filling squares than teaching), and the attitude of certain parents that their delinquents belong in the same classroom with children who actually have an interest in learning. The right to a safe learning environment should be weighted toward those who want to learn rather than those who want to live a Lord of the Flies anarchy.
I am also sick of the powers that be in the Ivory Towers of America’s Colleges of Education and State Boards of Education who have the misguided notion that all children are college material. Believe me, there are many kids who would rather be shot than set foot on a college campus. There are also others that no amount of training will ever prepare for college, even if the poor shmuck has Mr. Chips, Mr. Holland, AND Our Miss Brooks as personal tutors! I will even publicly state the HERESY (gasp!) that I believe the most lucrative and stable careers in the US’s near future are NOT professional positions requiring a college degree, but rather skilled labor requiring tech school. Remember Moonstruck? The college professor walked to his efficiency apartment, while the plumber drove a Cadillac Fleetwood to his three-story brownstone that took up 1/4 a city block in NYC. That, my friends, is our future–like it or not.
Germany has it right–everyone gets the same education until after 8th grade. The kids are then tested, the results of which determine the rest of the kids life. Those test results determine the jugen ‘s secondary education, and there are three possibilities: the college prep track, the trade school track, and the “thank you for graduating” track. Our education system will never be reformed or redeemed until the powers that be realize that not everyone is cut out for (or even interested in) college. Our current community college system can be a transition for those who realize too late that they did want to go to college after all.
Anyway, what should I do once I get back to the big city this summer? My possibilities are endless, but I also need a dose of realism. What can I do; what should I pursue; how do I pursue it? I’m open to any legal, moral, and non-fattening ideas that may be out there.
PS–thanks, o Benevolent and Protective Wingleader for your gentle yet non-nagging reminders (yes, plural) to return to blogging. It felt good to get back in the saddle again.