At least when you’re getting busy. So, I’m at the crossroads of yet another huge decision. But first, I should rant/blog about the first huge decision.
My Huge, Freaking, Decision
Okay, so I’m still in college, and its going to be 5 years this May. When I started out, I wanted to be a teacher. I had all these ideas in my head about treating students like people, not like animals, that teachers actually try to help one another out (versus backstabbing) and that I wouldn’t have to compromise my personal (often religious) or even political beliefs- because I was going to be hired to teach:
Or at least Spanish or something like that. And I knew I was going to make one hell of an awesome teacher. I also had the idea that teachers, being educated, are intelligent. Why I had that idea after running into stupid teacher after stupid teacher in both public and Catholic schools is a testament to the excellent indoctrination I recieved.
At some point, I had an epiphany that *gasp* the level of education one has, has nothing to do with the amount of intelligence one has. They can be interrelated, but an expensive, shiny little degree does not a genius make.
Don’t believe me? Look at who’s running the country. All those idiots you can’t stand? They all have degrees.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here- I started out thinking that going through the education program was going to be awesome. I’d be out in 4 years if I did everything right (at that time the college still lied about how long it took…even so they still avoid telling you its actually 5 years minimum) and I’d have done it without too much effort.
By effort, I mean political backstabbing, administration that just doesn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, and a minimum of jumping through hoop after senseless hoop.
I should have realized something was wrong my freshman year, when I was told that Education isn’t a major here at Yet Another Barely Catholic College. But I was young, idealistic, and very very gullible. I also found out that I would have to have two advisers, and was told that I couldn’t change either of them. The Ms. Awesome, my adviser over at the School of Disappointment was amazing. And awesome. She was the only one who could counteract the often whimsical, possibly drug induced, absolutely senseless decisions of my Language adviser- referred to here as Ms. Whodafuknose.
But then, I later found out that I actually could change my advisers, but that it was too late. But then, I was told that I could change my advisers any time I wanted! But then, Ms. Whodafuknose screwed up my schedule so bad I got an entirely new adviser for language!
After years of not knowing where I was in my career (for that is what this college has felt like…only less rewarding and resulting in me becoming steadily deeper in debt) I finally had an adviser who knew what the hell was going on and how to fix it.
Unfortunately, I’m probably going to make her want to kill me, if I haven’t done so already.
I shall refer to her as: Ms. Kick-Ass, because she is, indeed, kick-ass. She has the powers of actually knowing what the hell is going on- and knowing what to do about it- AND she’s honest. No lie!
Anyway, pp until last semester, I was still ready to join in the teaching vocation…er profession. HURRAH!
Except, I was more than a little cynical, perhaps even bitter. Let’s just say that there’s a reason that all the good teachers seem to be rare in schools. If you’ll look above, you’ll see that I made a distinction between profession and vocation. That’s because for 99% of the teachers coming in, teaching is a profession. A way to make money and get prestige. From the future teachers I have met, a good 80-90% have been from middle to upper-middle class backgrounds.
The problem with this is that of those 80-90%, virtually none of them know how the other half lives (to use a cliche) and of those virtually none only a teeny tiny percentage actually give half of a flying hamburger about the other half.
So, you get a huge influx of teachers who come in from a background where they already think they are better than the other half. This is a very American, and Protestant (but not all Protestants…) kind of culture:
You’re poor, therefore you must have done something to deserve it. But I’m going to bend down from my perch to help you out, because I’m a good person who isn’t like you, and I’ll teach you to be just like me, without really taking any sort of personal interest in you.
Can you imagine, now, just why education in the US is going down the tubes?
You see, for me, teaching is a vocation. It is something you do that might often be thankless, oftentimes underpaid, and is often frustrating- but its all worth it. You get down and you suffer with those you teach so that everyone benefits, and you throw off those old ideas concerning prestige and money. It shouldn’t matter if you’re from a poor background, or rich background- you’ll learn about whoever it is that you’re teaching, become enmeshed in their community, and abandon yourself so that you can serve others.
That has always been my personal, albeit often hidden, agenda with teaching. But here’s the thing- almost nobody has that point of view about teaching. For most people, its the default “Look at me, I’m a saint to help you out” rather than just shutting up and working in obscurity.
I would have been willing to work for shit pay and little respect, if it weren’t for the other teachers, administrators, and the entire damned (yes, I do mean damned) system that is in place now.
I’m sick of walking into school after school after school and seeing teachers browbeating little 7 year-olds over their missed homework. Whatever happened to “Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no”? Seeing a grown woman screaming at a kid until he cries, publicly, instead of just calmly acting like an adult informing him that the penalty for missed work is missed play time, makes me want to scream myself.
I’m sick of walking into school after school and seeing good teachers being stabbed in the back by jealous, less creative teachers, simply because of the fact that the shitty teachers are jealous- instead of everyone helping out and trying to get better.
I’m sick of teachers bitching and moaning about how horribly poor they are when their students often don’t have enough to eat and have to rely on the government lunch program for both lunch and supper.
I’m sick of this horrible system we have, where a certification supposedly means that one can teach. You know what a certification is? Its a confirmation that you can jump through any political hoops like a well-trained lion. My best teachers were not certified to teach their subject.
I’m sick of this horrible system that convinced me for so many years that if I don’t get the highest grades, in all the classes, that I’m not worth as much as other people.
I’m sick of this horrible system that whips standardized tests across the backs of kids as young as 5 years, and consistently sends the message that if your kid isn’t a genius in everything, they should resign themselves to being a janitor.
I’m sick of this system that implies that working as a janitor or something similar reflects badly on your character. The implication is ALWAYS that that person must have screwed up their life.
I’m sick of this system that believes the government has the right to parent your child because you’re not doing good enough- so they can teach your child that homosexuality is okay, that abortion is a right, and that prayer in schools is wrong…then ten years later teach the exact opposite.
I could have been one of the great teachers, and I’m not trying to feed my ego here. I would have been one of those selfless teachers trying desperately to change the system and to help the students who are more often victimized than anything else. But the problem is that the system will not change. Its a system run by people who don’t care, who will select other people just like them to carry the system on.
You cannot change the system from within the system. You have to get out.
And so now, I’m on to my second decision. Now that I won’t be getting a certification, should I bother finishing my English Second Language minor? I already have a Spanish major, Japanese minor, and an ESL minor, and certification.
Hmmm…I think I should do it….