Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Things were better when I only had to deal with the pseudo-sincerity of Teacher Appreciation Day.

We teachers always take insult to those outside of the world of education who "envy" teachers for getting off work before 5:00pm and having summers off. Unfortunately, some of the pity that we get can be just as insulting. Take yesterday for example. I was sitting on a park bench (taking a breather between dumpster dives) when I overheard a conversation between two men on the next bench.

Man 1: Ya' know, I hear the teachers are pushing for a pay raise. They say they may strike if they don't get it. Something to do with the cost of living or something.

Man 2: People in hell want ice water! Teachers are always wanting something, aren't they? I don't get it. They work six months outta' the year, practically get off at noon, and all they have to do is babysit some kids. And now they want more money for that?

Man 1: Yeah. It's crazy!

Man 2: You know, in all my years of school, I never had one teacher do anything for me. Don't get me wrong. Some of them were nice enough--like they would believe me when I lied about why I didn't have my homework, but they never taught me nothin'. Nothin'!

Man 1: Yeah. I hated school! Why would anyone choose to spend the rest of their lives in a place like that? My kid is always getting in trouble there.

Man 2: (shaking his head, reaching for some reason in this topsy-turvy world) Makes no sense. (turning his attention to the present) Hey, I guess we better get back to work. It's been over an hour, huh?

Man 1: (as the two are walking off) Hey, are you going to use the corporate seats for the game?

Man 2: Nah, I'm going to work some overtime this weekend. I'm wanting to put a 2nd plasma in the bedroom.

Is that really how the world sees teachers? Spoiled, overpaid babysitters who never did nothing for nobody? Have we done that bad a job at getting the word out that it's not all Dead Poets? Don't they know that we don't get time and a half for staying up until 1:00am, trying to figure out how to make graphing equations relevant to a bunch of 13 year olds or grading the last of the 175 foreign language essays from a bunch a kids who have no interest except to meet the requirements for graduating?

On the flip side, you don't need to act like someone who wants to take care of your child has a lust for self-destructive behavior either. When I tell people what I do for a living, they react like I just confessed to being a cutter.

As the two gentlemen walked away, I wanted to run after those guys and punch them in the throat for bad-mouthing my profession. Shoot, I should have ran after those guys and asked them for an application. I want a job where I could enjoy hour and a half lunches in the park with no real urgency to get back, no bells, nothing.

Wonder if they're hiring.

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