FINE, I guess I’ll have my fourth root beer float in two days. If I must.
And while I drink it, I’ll think about how crazy it is that I’m actually, seriously considering teaching next year. How weird it is to realize that might be what I want to do. So weird, in fact, that I’m not even sure if these are rational thoughts or whether some alien has planted them in my brain.
Teaching sucked me dry, ripped me apart, left me desiccated but still gushing. I walked away with such finality, and was so happy to be free! I was never good enough at it to actually get results–I have literally zero evidence of improved student achievement. Which was the worst thing ever because that’s what I was There To Do. There was just no TIME, and the kids were so far behind, it was like climbing an impossible mountain from the very moment I started. I continuously ached for the end of the day/week/grading period/school year. And my kids were mean! And my school was drama! And Everything Was Bad!
Elementary kids aren’t as mean. In fact, most of them really like their teachers. And they’re cuter and by definition, they just can’t be as far behind. And the whole way I think has changed, especially about what teaching and teachers Should Be. There are two completely different things: teaching because you’re going to try it for two years on the one hand, and teaching because you think you might want to do it for a really long time on the other hand. Permanence is important, and I’m moving toward permanence. Living for a long time in a place, teaching for a long time in the place that you live, means slow-but-steady can start to be satisfying. Putting down roots means “building relationships” isn’t just something you do because Results, but something you do because you’re a person, living, in a place. The tension, the struggle of putting humanness into the weird beast of American Education is something that can take place over a long time. Urgency can be about not hesitating to put the next foot forward, not about getting anxious because you’re Not There Yet.
Thing is, though… when I was teaching, it was teaching that was the villain. Not the school, or the kids, or anything else. It was the JOB. the ‘profession.’ I know there will always be drama and frustration. Yipes, can I be a teacher and have all that drama and frustration and still have a happy life? Can I start teaching and want to keep at it for another five years after that? I feel like my alien brain has already decided.