Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sorry, super soapbox

I know I should not be writing this mere moments after leaving the point of frustration, but I have to get it out! Where was I? The post office. I can already hear some of you with the “agghhhhh” as your head tosses back a little. You are right. That place is seriously so freaking frustrating! I have never gone in thinking I would just “run in” and grab some stamps. I am always prepared to wait in line and every time it annoys me that there are only two (at the most) people working. Why is that? There are at least 4 little stall things to have employees working, but no…only two! And God forbid one has to “go in the back” to get something. Not only is there one worker for every 7 people in line, they have ABSOLUTELY no sense of urgency in how they do their work. Seriously, I have never seen people move so slowly! Teenagers schlep through the mall quicker than postal workers apply a certified mail receipt.

Unfortunately, this was not the high point of my frustration. The sweet, “mature” woman behind me shook her head and tisked at one point and I turned, smiled, and said it was frustrating. The woman behind her piped in and said she had complained multiple times to the postmaster about this particular branch. I made my point about never really seeming to be in a hurry or care about their job. Here is where it happened. The (maybe) 23-year-old girl between my “mature” friend and me says, “Well, it is because of their compensation. People perform based on their pay.” WHAT?! I could barely hold it in. I said, “ha! That is crap. I was a teacher. I never gave up on my kids because of my paycheck.” (To the teachers out there, SIT DOWN) She then continues by saying, “because you got 3 months off a year.” I had to stand there with my mouth open to keep from chirping back “FUCK YOU!” NO! They do not!

Thankfully the older woman took care of it in a much more tactful way, but on behalf of the teachers out there, could all of you just back off! Why is teaching the one profession that always has that thrown at them? Not pro-athletes who PLAY A GAME for a PORTION of the year for MILLIONS! Nobody ever has a problem that three, yes three, of my doctors take over 2 months off every year to “be with their families” while collecting $25 for applying a freaking Band-Aid. I am not saying teachers should be paid more, in fact, I do not believe they do need pay raises, but people really need to stop saying they get “3 months off” because it is simply not true.

Why is it that one of the few professions that shape our future is constantly scrutinized because they get too much “vacation?” Sure, there are teachers that are not worth a crap and should be kicked out of the classroom, but instead they end up in a random administrative position. A desk job; they are pushing paperwork, attending meetings, and collecting nauseating salaries. Sounds a little like an accountant or manager or banker or director or do I need to continue or do you get the point?

Teachers do not have a job that holds stresses like telling a family their loved one has passed or nervously knocking on the door of a call only to be met by a crazy person with a gun or race into a burning building to save a child’s hamster or spend a year away from their family on a beach with no water chasing after an ever changing enemy. Those people have stress! Those people are heroes.

But anyone that has been, has lived with, or is a teacher knows that they bring work home with them everyday. Their 9-5 job is truly 7-10 most days. The actual 8-4 (that was the “classroom day” when I taught) is spent teaching. They lecture, model, aid, guide, discipline, motivate, support, love, tolerate, and accept the kid’s in their room all day. (Minus the 25 minute lunch that has a duty attached to it on some days.) When the final bell rings at 4 they tutor, listen, and (honestly) babysit kids while trying to clean up a room and prepare for the next day. That is when they print lessons, make copies, return parent emails and phone calls, attend meetings with anyone from a superintendent to a special educator to a colleague in the weeds. Then they go home with a bag full of papers to grade or projects or materials to review because they know that the first question they hear in the morning will be “do you have our papers?” That is followed closely with “what are we doing today?” and, from the one that had an orthodontist appointment just during your class, “did we do anything yesterday?” I always wanted to answer, “no, we just stared longingly at your empty desk all period. Too distraught by your absence to even function.”

Again, I am VERY aware that not all teachers are good, but neither are all cops or doctors or CEOs. Every job has its stressors and everyone works hard, if only in their own head. When it comes to people that work with the future, please, praise the good ones. When you knock the profession as a whole it drives quality away. We have to keep the good ones! It is for our future and for our country.

All that being said, I ran away. I was not one of the strong ones.

Sorry for that tirade. I just had to get it out.

P.S. -- I know all of this goes for parenting as well, but the girl in line just mentioned teaching. Big hug to those of you that are parents and those crazy few that are both teachers and parents. And if I could give the world to Julie I would…she was a single parent and high school teacher when I first met her. I do not know how you remained sane and raised such a great young man. Kudos girlie!


Just say Julie said...

Amen! I think I might have punched someone in the face, or maybe done the Dimitri Martin speech. I knew what I was getting into when I went into education, but I didn't spend 2 years in grad school so I could have summer's off. (I did it for AP conferences with Pat Boone music!)

Bobbi Janay said...

That is insane that she would day that. Doesn't she realize that teachers are the ones that are helping shape her into the women she will be in the future?