To teachers on strike. I’m a teacher as well, and I opted out of teaching in the public sphere.
There was too much babysitting, and I didn’t get a teaching certificate to babysit or listen to people who told me that what I was teaching their kids was ‘wrong’. I didn’t go to school to diffuse knife fights or testify in the Pricipal’s office that so-and-so threatened so-and-so. Or have my testimony disregarded by admin in favour of giving Little Gino another chance. Little Gino doesn’t need another chance, Little Gino needs a term in juvie, or maybe some responsible parenting in the first fucking place. And I can’t give that.
There was too little respect, even though I honestly believe that teaching students to be literate, discerning, critically thinking people will make the world a better place. Instead, I was asked to ‘go over the basics again’. For the ones who weren’t listening the first three times I reviewed. For the ESL kids, I gave them as much attention as possible, and some helpful hints for their tutors, when it came time for help from that front. I wish I could have done more.
There was no free time. I was marking. And I know it gets easier as you get older, but even my mentor was putting in a good 10 hours per week, because she wanted kids to be good writers. Kids only get to be good by writing. For high school teachers, that means, if you’re assigning one assignment per kid per week, you’re grading 200 papers a week. With comments. And suggestions. It adds up.
These days, I teach one-on-one, or, at most, 3-on-1. Results abound. Pronoun disagreement melts away when a student has a private teacher who is totally focussed on his work. Adjective choice gets better. All of a sudden, I’m a teacher saying, “Harriet, you can’t use ‘concupiscent’ here, it looks strange because of the context. Let’s see what else we could use,” as opposed to, “I’m not marking this. You lifted it directly from Pinkmunky.com, and I read it on the site last night.”
So, teachers: I’m earning a reasonable wage in the private sector. If you need me to pay your phone bill, call me, because, trust me, I know you’ll want to do some venting.