'Cause I got issues
But you got 'em too
So give 'em all to me
And I'll give mine to you
Bask in the glory
Of all our problems
'Cause we got the kind of love
It takes to solve 'em
-Julia Michaels Issues
I read. I read a lot. I read news articles about the world and what's happening; about education and politics; about religion; I am no expert on any subject. I won't pretend to be. What I do consider myself is well read and able to discuss these issues- minus politics and religion. Politics and religion are always off limits. I won't tell you who I voted for, why I voted for that person, or press my religious ideology off on you or anyone. Those issues, those ideas, those beliefs are mine. I don't hold those freedoms of ideas against anyone, unless they are directly threatening, racist, homophobic, sexist, etc.
Lately, in the news, there has been a lot of stories about education and what needs to be done. The steps that need to be taken, etc. I do consider myself a little bit more than well read in this area as I have been on the front lines of this for the past 11 years. And baby, I've got issues. I have issues with the radio personalities that I was listening to today who were bashing education because they have read a few articles and decided that teaching and tenure, firing and hiring, and TEACHERS were an issue. I took offense to their comments because I am on the battle field of this issue, trying to do my job, and they are taking articles of information and bashing the entire education field. I take issue with people who think they have the "end all, be all" answers to the education problems in the world and they have never stepped foot into a classroom.
I don't pretend to know what my husband's day to day job entails, what stresses him out, if he's doing something right or wrong; in fact, I am there to listen to him vent or sing praises when they are needed. He doesn't pretend he understands my profession and issues--"but you don't judge me, cause if you did, baby, I would judge you too." We aren't those people. We haven't always been, in fact, it took a lot of work to get where we were.
Everyday in my profession there are successes and there are failures. There are trials and there are errors. There is constant flexibility, adaptions, growth and goals. I think, I want to hope, it's like this for everyone. More successes than failures, more growth and goals attained.
See, weeks ago, at least three of them, I read an article by a teacher who, like most of us (yes, I lumped us together, but I am on the front lines), where she expounded on some of the issues. I never went into teaching to make a mint, in fact, I knew I'd be lucky to look at my bank account and be lucky to take a vacation to the backyard with an inflatable kiddie pool and a beer. I am a-okay with that choice and that type of vacation.
What I am not okay with is the constant bashing. The constant let downs. The CONSTANT changes from people who are not or have not ever been into a classroom. Every August, back to school supplies come out, I spend over $300 to equip my students with the materials they will need: pencils, pens, paper, folders, notebooks, binders, erasers, index cards, so they do not fail, or have an excuse to fail because of material. I then spend the same amount on EACH of my children because that is my job as their parent. Back yard, inflatable, pool and beer. Districts are taking hits, losing funding, and not able to provide their teachers with adequate budgets to supply our classrooms. Staples, tape, that comes out of my pocket. Does it come out of yours for your job? Should it? Would you be okay with it if that was the case?
Summer vacation...lord, help me. Jesus take the wheel! You get summer off. You only work 9 months out of the year. My husband, who is the son of two retired teachers, has said the same thing to this effect, wherein I ask him why he did not enter the same profession. His reply...crappy pay, long hours, no overtime, and no raises for performance. He's not wrong, but it is what I chose. It's what I love. It's what I do. I spend hours grading papers at home, planning lessons, making copies, worrying about my students and if they have enough to eat, if they are safe, if they have a cold, are their needs being met...all day, everyday, even during the summer.
Safety, protocol, etc. I am on the front lines. Every angry outburst by a student in my room or during the passing period, is something that I have to deal with. When I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, a fight between 2 high school boys broke out in the hall and I had to wade in to stop it because that is part of my job description. Lucky for me, once I pushed through and yelled and they saw who was responding and a few seconds after my belly arrived, the rest of me did, they stopped, apologized and walked with me to the office. Other teachers in my building and around buildings in the country are not as lucky. They have been hit with that fist, or an elbow...I won't go into the other sacrifices teachers have made when it comes to school violence because those articles and stories are out there, we have all seen them.
Snow days, inclement weather delays. Maybe it's just me, maybe I have issues, but I would much rather that my own personal children are safe at home if the weather is bad. If that two hour delay for ice, snow, or whatever protects their lives, then so be it. If 16 year olds, with brand new shiny licenses don't have to test their capabilities and other drivers, then I am happy. It is a boon.
Okay, so what's the point? I am not really sure I am making one. It's just that with any job, any profession, there are issues. People have an opinion. The more you read about something, the more knowledge you have, the better prepared you are to argue your point.
I guess the whole point is, as people, we have to do our best to see something from more than one point of view before we become so vocal on that subject. We need to be more compassionate, more understanding, more educated to make better decisions.
When that fails...inflatable pools in the backyard and a beer.