The Detox of a Teacher-Type

Posted: October 7, 2013 in From Student to Teacher
Tags: , , , ,

It has been a while since shared my thoughts about teaching in general, education in particular.  I haven’t been too busy, there have been no luxurious vacations with my family.

You simply reach a zenith, or fork perhaps, where you have to decide whether you will continue operating from a “victim” mindset, which is the easier of the paths, yes? It is here that I could blame my empty bank account on the moronic Republican majority in North Carolina which has crippled the lives of thousands who relied on unemployment pennies to keep the internet on or phone service for job hunting…or maybe for eating. Hmmm. it would be quite simple to blame the power-driven school board members with their 80s hairdo perfected, who decided to end my career and took a notch out of my self-worth.

But I chose a different avenue.  I chose to stop complaining about a system I have no power to change and instead turn my field of vision inward, and heal and empower myself.

I will call it the Detox of the Weary Soul Wanderer.  That sounds profound.

So I stretched my body and moved. And healed, slowly.  I stopped following blogs that were counterproductive to my health. I stopped talking about insignificant people who I gave far too much significance to in my life.  I stopped worrying what I would do if I was fortunate enough to see the superintendent at the local grocery store.

And I moved. Away from this dysfunctional, Stepford-like town called Chapel Hill.  I feel certain that I heard trumpets blaring a fast merengue dance as I escaped the stifling, boring, suffocating arena.  Everyone I met who asked where we moved from lowered their eyes in condolence when they heard that I actually CHOSE to live in such a “different” place.  They promised not to hold it against me.  Strangers in Starbucks congratulated me on a fine decision to get out of Chapel Hill.  When my partner in crime told colleagues at Duke that we had moved, they finally released months of pressure from their lungs and blurted out their joy that we had finally left the sanitarium.

But I digress.

I awoke one morning with two words floating behind my eye fuzz.  Teacher type. A type of teacher? I wasn’t sure. But it has not left me since then, which is over two months now.

When the time came to decide to return to teaching or abandon it altogether, I focused on the two words and thought:

I would no longer sell myself for a lousy $40k paycheck.

I was no longer going to teach for a test instead of guiding thought and self-discovery.

I was no longer interested in dog and pony shows for central office staff, EQs posted on my wall (the only marker of my teaching ability), kissing up to administrators who thrive on their power trips, seven-day a week working, and missing my own children’s special events for strangers kids who don’t care anyway.

The spirit had fled which would enable me to maintain my silence in the face of falsifying grades for students, taking verbal abuse from parents who are really deflecting the consequences of their over-indulgences on their kids, or students who cheat and lie regularly, and not be able to call them on it.

I realized that I didn’t want to teach in the classroom anymore because I’m just not that type of teacher.  So, I may be stocking cans of soup or mixing cans of paint for a bit while I find my new niche, but rest assured, it won’t be in Chapel Hill.  🙂

I may be broke, but I’m not broken!

  1. TheTRUTH says:

    I was going to post my story as an ex-teacher, then realized, as I read through your own post, you’re a self-hating White liberal. So instead, I will just ask you why it is you don’t mention anything such as Obama’s Race to the Top? I could go on for pages and pages, but I will just stop there. Liberals are not worth putting in much time for. The large majority are so extreme and one-sided, all with blindness, it would be useless. So, keep blaming your own kind. Blacks do the same thing and look where its’ gotten them. What a society we live in now, huh? Blame, whine, blame, whine. Pure insanity, driven by liberals like yourself. Yikes. lol

    • Wow. A powerful comment. Thanks for your honest feedback. A self-hating White liberal? I had to chew on that for a few minutes. I have to agree…I have had periods of time when I hated myself…for giving in to administrators year after year and passing students along because their parents complained that I was too hard, or some other convenient excuses. Until I decided to stop hating myself and look into the mirror and be okay with what I saw there. And when I stood up to the superintendent and school board and other elitist White “liberals'” in Chapel Hill, my services were no longer required. I’m not sure what that makes me though. I’m not much into labels, at least not political ones.

      You are so correct, in my opinion, that this whole nation has fallen prey to the “blame game.” Also you are right…I did do a whole lot of whining. Which is why I stopped blogging for a period of time. Not that I was really writing for anyone. I guess I just had to get it out of my system or I would explode. I suppose we all need validation at some point in our lives.

      Race to the Top is a disaster…but so was No Child Left Behind…and every other attempt at accountability created by government agencies.

      At the end of the day, I believed I could improve lives by teaching, and I worked hard at it. But when I realized that I had become a paper pusher, who distributed letter grades like a can of Campbell’s alphabet soup, I knew that I didn’t belong in a classroom. Because despite all the wonderful programs the government may institute now or in a future administration, what our children — be they White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. — need is to be taught how to THINK for themselves, and ponder, and question, and investigate and struggle for knowledge…and the policies have crippled the teachers, the parents have crippled their children, and the technology has crippled us all. We are all spoiled, self-centered, children in America, and when we can’t get our way, we blame everyone else.

      Thanks again for your words. It’s refreshing to read.

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