Thursday, September 27, 2012

Teaching: Not My Bag

Teaching was not my bag, after all.

I never understood why I felt so out of sorts, especially after I had achieve the first markers of "adulthood."

I moved out of the house. I moved into my own apartment. I had a job. I had the car.

Yet that was all that I had.

I felt so lost, so forlorn, so empty.

Then there was September 12, 2006. There I was sitting, at the Burger King so many streets away from home. And that was it.

I had gotten everything that I was looking for, and I felt that I was floating in nothing going nowhere.

I had it all -- and "all" was not enough. Quite a setback, so it seemed.

For a long time, I was not sure what it was that was so lacking.

I went to school every day for the next semester. At the time, was still going through all the BTSA paperwork. The trips to Cal State Long Beach were fun, since I got to get lots of free stuff, including a bunch of books about how to manage your classroom, or how to help students to let off steam after a bad day.

When I look back on all the seminars that I was attending, I could not believe how much the district was paying these people to teach us what we were supposed to learn when we were earning our credentials. Imagine all this waste. I think that teachers, so exasperated with how little they actually accomplish in their classrooms, keep attending these seminars just to give themselves a sense that they are "in control."

It certainly did not help me, that's for sure.

I had set up the rules and regulations in the classroom. I told the students what my expectations were, I outlined for them the work that they needed to do in order to get a good grade in the class. I called parents, I cajoled students, I gave them detention when they did not do their work.

At one point, I had every member of the football who was also taking French in my class after school, getting their work done. Much good it did them -- only one of them passed the class, but he was a hard working student in the first place. The other students did not care.

The teacher does much of the work in many classes, so it seems. There I was, making do with all that I had. I wanted them to succeed, so that I could have a sense of success along with them. But I have to admit, like them I just wanted to go home.

I did not like my job, I did not like all the pressure that I had to deal with, and I was teaching an elective! I was not teaching a core course that would be tested in May with those awful standardized tests. More and more, that's what education is all about.

I was testing my resolve coming to class every day. I was not happy doing what I was doing. I even enrolled in a Masters Degree program, something to undo the monotony of the 7-3 shuffle of get up,m get the class ready, get to class, get through the day, then go home.

Wow, it is amazing when I look back on all the stuff that I survived. I made it, but barely, and even then I ended up walking off the job altogether.

Teaching was not my bag, but I nearly ended up in a bag. Still, I was so lost on the inside in those days, not sure what I wanted, and not sure how to figure out what I wanted. Those days are long gone, though, when I realize that today I have and do all that I want to. I may not be making the money that I want to right now, but no longer do I have to suffer through the tortures of a damning career with demands that no one can meet.

I do not have to sit back and wonder what is going wrong in my life today! I do not look at my life and ask: "Is this all there is?"

So much is still out there, waiting to be found and received by me, but I have no worries about it. Grace and truth really do make all the difference in this life, and I am glad to know the Truth that sets me free and have the grace to live out the life that lives in me.

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