7/5/11

Don't hate, appreciate!



I have been noticing lately, particularly on my Facebook wall, a lot of ... what is the best word? Resentment perhaps ... directed towards those of the teaching persuasion. I notice it now especially during the early humid languid days of July. Sunday nights are interesting. I or one of my kind (teachers, professors, instructors) are out for dinner or drinks with friends when someone inevitably checks their watch:
"Oh crap, it's after midnight. Must go home. Working tomorrow."

Then the look of death:
"You're not, are you? Oh, how I wish I was a teacher and had the summers off!!"

This is always said with resentment.

Yes, I admit, we do get a nice holiday in the summer. Whereas many of my friends, highly educated or trained professionals in their field, be it, plumbers, electricians, doctors, IT people, only manage an inhumane one or two weeks, we are blessed with more time. I will remind us all that one month is standard in Europe. Most civilised.

It is important to acknowledge, however, that we do not get EIGHT weeks off even though it may appear thus. We are working, even if we are working at home. We are planning, creating, photocopying, ordering books, scheduling etc etc. This may not seem particularly grueling to people who still have to get on that metro, subway, tube, streetcar or bus at 7.30 am, but let me remind you that during the school year, we do not work a mere 8 hours a day.

My (estranged very wealthy) brother and his wife used to love taking the piss. They would constantly say things to me like: "Oh, if I had the chance I would go back to school and be a teacher."

Yes, because they just give away Master of Arts degrees.

Or:
Must be nice to start off at $60,000 and not work for the summer.

Where is this magical kingdom and are they hiring?

What I would like to remind these people however, is that they are not there when their children are crying in my office, over many things. Abuse -- mental, psychological, familial, sexual. We are the frontline to protect young people.

They are not there when we get home after a 12-hour day and have to: make dinner, help with homework, do laundry, clean the house, do the dishes, walk the dogs, and oh yeah, MARK 40 ESSAYS.

Or 40 EXAMS.

With detailed comments.

Or make notes for our meetings, attend conferences, hold office hours, plan lectures, plan notes, plan entire courses.

We have no social life for 10 months of the year. You must realise we need our piddly 8 weeks of vacay, which isn't even 8 weeks.

Why do you think teachers have such a high burn out rate? Why so many are alcoholics. YOUR CHILDREN ARE DRIVING US MAD.

But I still love my job and feel blessed to have it. I would never ever however deign to put down someone else's chosen profession.

Food for thought?

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