Teacher Tangent Tuesday #1

Who doesn’t love alliteration? Three T’s in a row? Hot damn! As you may have picked up from other posts, when I’m not writing this amazing blog, I’m a full time teacher. I started teaching three years ago when I became a corps member for Teach for America in the West side of Chicago, and have continued on until today.

Teaching is hard ya’ll. You have to figure out a way to get content to a room full of kids who don’t really want it. You need to take on the emotional baggage of children who are going through things that no child should ever go through. Some days I want to throw the towel in, but I don’t. There are fun parts about teaching and one of my favorites is the things kids say. I happen to teach in an Autism classroom, so filters are even rarer. So here’s a new series I’m starting, where every Tuesday I’ll be telling you about stuff that goes down in my classroom.

#1. Cat Calling

Okay, so, last week, I got a new student in my class. Yesterday, we were walking in the hallways when I see a girl we don’t know walking past us. The new student screams “hey shorty, you got a boyfriend?”

Keep in mind, he doesn’t know her. He is literally cold cat calling. He then does this with every woman who passes us by. Don’t worry friends – I made sure we had a chat later about how to appropriately talk to women. It is Women’s History Month, so it fit in well with our discussion.

#2. Where Do Babies Come From?

I just realized that most of my stories this week are going to involve my new student. He’s pretty funny, I must admit.

One of the girls in my class asked me if I had children. I said no. She then tells me I should adopt. New kids pipes in “Mrs. M, aren’t you married?” I tell him yes. “Well, I think you guys should just get to it then… I think you guys can figure it out.”

#3. Sweet Notes

One of my kids wrote me this poem. Safe to say, I cried a bit. That is all. (Don’t you worry – we are actively working on both grammar and spelling).

So there ya have it – a little peek into what has kept me amused at work this week. What about your job do you enjoy?

Job Snob and Presidency

I think I might be a job snob. I’ve been called a snob before, but never a job snob. I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

For the entirety of my adult life, I’ve held two jobs – both as a special education teacher. The first school I worked at was the epitome of a living hell. I would cry on my way to work, during my lunch, on the ride back and then a little more at home. I dreaded going to work everyday. The second school, where I currently am, causes far less tears. I have a fun group of kids, a great case manager and the autonomy to teach how I see fit.

I also taught in Israel for a few weeks. Definitely not my calling.

“Is this enough? Am I fulfilled?” I still find myself wondering. Yesterday, I had a pseudo midlife crisis meltdown and cried for two hours about how my professional life is in shambles. “My job doesn’t tick all the boxes,” I cried. I had written a list down at the end of the last school year with attributes my dream job would have. It would have flexible hours, great pay, autonomy and an unlimited supply of LaCroix. On top of that, it would also be aiding in the greater good of the world, challenging me daily and thrill me on the regular. Isn’t that what everyone strives to have in their career?

This got me thinking. When did a job stop being “just a job”? When did good pay, and health insurance become not enough? When did it become something that was expected to fulfill you as well? I think it might be a millennial thing. I worked a summer in a bougie office between my first two years of teaching, and everyone who came through the elevator had the same jokes about retirement. “How many more days for you Sally?” one would ask another. “Ah, you know, 452 and 2 hours,” Sally would reply. My stomach would turn, as I vowed to never be like Sally and gang.

I want a job that I am excited to go to every morning. I enjoy what I do now, sometimes, but it gets monotonous and boring to teach single digit addition on the daily. Am I supposed to get thrill from a career? Is that pretentious of me to desire? My husband made a great point – I want everything that would be found in a fulfilling life in my career. Why can’t I get the checkmarks that go unchecked outside of my job? Why am I insistent that my dream job exists?

I’m in the midst of reading the Michelle Obama book (book number 8 of the year for my self imposed challenge). She apparently had similar feelings when she was a lawyer, and segued into working with the government. She took a pay cut and lost some sweet perks of the job in order to follow her heart. Oh, and then she became the First Lady of our country. So if Michelle Obama can figure it all out, maybe I can too. Maybe if I just finish reading the book (I’m about 44% through), my answer will be there, glowing, highlighted and in bold text, on the last page. Maybe I’ll just run for president. I’m sure they have that unlimited supply of LaCroix that I was asking for. Wishful thinking, amirite?