Halfway through the sixty days’ resignation to retirement, I’m thinking about the posts I’ve written as a map of where my mind has been.
Surprised that I’m still reflecting so much on teaching–still infuriated over new teacher evaluation systems and high-stakes testing—maybe because the inanity of it was the frustration that drove me out.
Some cynics (realists?) believe that was the whole point: to create a totally frustrating condition that would get older, higher paid teachers to quit. In my case, the first variable fits, but not the second. Given all my teaching experience for which I was not compensated, I was a veritable bargain!
I remember when I started teaching in a well-to-do suburb where my husband and I could not afford to live—or even to rent an apartment—overhearing from my junior high students what kinds of allowances they were getting, and thinking that I’d be better off being adopted by one of their families. (I think, a live-in housekeeper made more than I!)
Once I stopped working full time for a number of years to raise a family (unfortunately, virtually unheard of/ financially tough nowadays), in the city and neighborhood in which we lived, our daughter was eligible for reduced lunch (for which my husband refused for us to apply), based on my husband’s teaching salary, even though he had a Master’s Degree, as well as a Doctorate.
Oh, yeah, and the wonderful summer’s off that teachers get, he scrambled each summer to find temporary work—like cutting weeds, which almost killed him the summer he was attacked by a hive-full of wasps.
Now, decades later, despite the fact that we both contributed to our state pensions with money taken out of every paycheck, our illustrious governors who ill-invested and/or redirected pension money to reduce state debt, now paint us as money-grubbing loafers who want to live fat in retirement. (Don’t get me started!)
Sorry. Teaching is not for the fainthearted. The hours are long, given that the work is not left in the classroom at the sound of the dismissal bell (for teachers, not students), nor behind over weekends, holidays, and summers.
And if you are a parent finding dealing with one or a small handful of children challenging, imagine simultaneously dealing with a couple of dozen of someone else’s children for hours each day. Challenging! Draining! Exhausting!
Among the various things I’m tired of in being retired is teachers getting a bad rap.
In addition to teaching, I spent almost twenty years in educational textbook publishing. I said then and I will say now—on the most tense, exhausting, drop-dead deadline day I spent in corporate America, nothing compares with the demands made by being responsible for students—and that is without high-stakes testing, which makes teaching unnecessarily nearly intolerable today.
What unjustified bad rap did workers in your line of work receive?