Friday, May 30, 2008

Why Am I Complaining Again?

“The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.”
--Proverbs 14:10

So last week I got the call that I wouldn’t be teaching any summer classes. Not enough students signed up, making this the second summer in a row that this happened. Now, I’m not mad; I just now know that I have to get a real job. I’ve resigned myself to the fact. Ya know, summer work isn’t something they sell you on when they talk about being a teacher. In fact, no one really talks about it, but I don’t know too many of us who aren’t engaged in some form of it. Either you’re teaching summer classes, doing administrative work, or employed by someone else (I’m choosing to omit those lucky bastards who receive grants to travel, sleep in ‘til noon, and then produce scholarship that they could’ve written while working part-time at a local fast-food restaurant). Are there any teachers who spend their summers golfing? The word of the day is “bitterness.”

With that in mind, I’m looking forward to hiking up to a temp agency, and getting a job that involves putting together and packaging cell phones for $12.13/hour as well as taking orders from someone who skipped college and went to work right after high school. Amertume.

Honestly, I don’t mind doing something unrelated to teaching. I spent the past 2 semesters teaching a total of 12 classes as well as tutoring in a writing lab. The two semesters before that I spent my days teaching and my nights researching and writing my masters thesis. A break should do me good. Getting away from classes, students, and grading should make me happy for a while, but I don’t wanna be happy. I wanna be teaching. I especially would’ve liked to try out some new ideas for writing assignments without the frenetic pace created by 5 other classes.

Now, the good part about not being in teaching is that my range of experience will be broadened, which I’ll be able to bring to the classroom in the form of stories and examples. Also, a job in any field outside of education lends credibility in the students’ eyes. When I recount a story from when I used to work at a Dell factory or a DK Publishing warehouse, I’m no longer some pampered intellectual, but I’m one of them, a hardworking everyman who actually lived a life before getting sucked into the soul-numbing vortex of a career that involves never—ever—getting promoted out of school. Hmmm…Come to think of it, why I am complaining again?

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