School Daze

Last week, my former coworkers returned to work, welcoming a new group of children into their classrooms with open minds and arms. Last week, I thanked the Lord that I was sitting at home instead of in a school building. For some reason, I was under the impression that I would feel some kind of way about not teaching this fall…actually, I do feel some kind of way. It’s called “Ecstatic than a mugg that I don’t have to ever teach again in my life.” Educating children wasn’t all bad; I will surely miss my summers off and the observation of Random Dead White Dude days. There are some things that I will never, ever, EVER miss. Did I say never? I mean NEVER!!

Bathroom Breaks You know how when you have to pee, you get up and go without asking permission? Unless you’re a student or a CTA driver, you go when you gotta go. In order for a teacher to relieve themselves of the 32oz of coffee required for successfully teaching a bunch of BAK, one must send a kid with a note to the office seeking permission (I learned the note part the hard way. “Ms. Fletcher gotta pee” is not something you want yelled across the main office). Once the note is deciphered, you sit and wait for someone to come and watch your class. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to never. When I was pregnant, I got so tired of waiting for my relief, I’d leave those suckers right in the classroom whenever I had to go and left the kid who was repeating kindergarten in charge. I figured since he’d been there before, he knew all the rules and stuff. *TMI Alert* Even worse is being on your period and having to wait for someone. I just said fuck it, and stopped coming to work on my heavy flow days. I’ve ruined one too many pairs of good panties and worn one too many sweaters tied around my waist. I’m so happy to be able to go to the bathroom when I want to, sometimes, I just sit on the toilet and do nothing, simply because I can.

Pressing charges Have you ever gone to work and had your life threatened by someone, been physically assaulted, or had someone attempt to murder you? Probably not, but if one of your coworkers brought silica gel from her shoe box to put into your coffee, chances are that bitch would be behind bars and you wouldn’t have to see her ass again after she returns from a five day unpaid leave. In Bizzarro World, otherwise known as School, students have more rights than teachers. Apparently compulsory attendance means that since they have to be there and we don’t, our right to not be physically harmed by children doesn’t exist, especially when the child biting a plug out of your arm has an IEP and his mother refuses to send him to a special school. Instead, since he needs approval to be suspended more than 20 days in a school year and he’s on day 19, he returns to school two days after sending a teacher to the hospital for tetanus and rabies shots. The reason he bit her: She caught him in her closet going through her breast pump bag. Since he’s only 9, she couldn’t press charges. Seriously, I’m not going to miss having a kindergartener threaten to go home, get her mother’s gun, load it, and return to school to shoot me in the head. I won’t miss it at all.

Being responsible for shit completely out of my control It was my job to teach children how to read. Explain to me how I could possibly teach a kid anything when he showed up for school two days per week. Truant officers no longer exist, and parents who don’t bring their children to school are sent idle threats from the attendance office. Children come to school ill-prepared to learn, yet the whole No Child Left Behind nonsense mandated that children end up on a level playing field when level is far from where they begin. A public school classroom can house the same individuals one would see in a psych ward or a prison and yet, because we’re not parents, doctors, or police officers, our job is only to teach them, when they require FAR more than learning how to add. I spent two weeks trying to reach the parent of an unruly child when I finally rolled up on her standing on the corner smoking a Newport. Being the good teacher that I am was, I held a conference on the corner of Central Park and Grand. I told her my concerns, she informed me that she had been working a lot lately and her five boys by four different fathers were all acting up because they missed spending time with her. I stared at her for a long ass time, and without me saying a word, she says, “I should probably go home and help them with their homework.” You think Ms. Smith?
I became a teacher because I wanted to change the world. I believed that educating children was the best way for me leave the world a better place than I found it. After nearly seven years of teaching, I’ve decided to plant some trees instead. There are things that I did love about being an educator, watching a child grow academically, socially, and emotionally over the course of ten months is a sight like no other. Watching a child dump your last cup of coffee on the floor because you made her throw away her juice after breakfast is sight you never want to see. Ending my career as a teacher is kind of like getting out of an abusive relationship. Sure there were good times, but I’m kicking Ike’s ass in the limo. My school days are over.

I felt this way EVERY DAY!!

I felt this way EVERY DAY!!

That is all.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Freddy C.
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 14:18:48

    My mom was a teacher for over 40 years. Its not an easy job. Teachers are underpaid and under appreciated for the role that they’re responsible for. And it doesn’t help that parents expect you to educate AND raise their children, especially when you consider how many parents these days are children themselves. I enjoy reading your tweets because you’re a nut and have me over here dying. After reading this post I also now respect you that much more … not that I didn’t respect you in the first place 😉


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