I just recently returned from a vacation overseas. I had a lovely time exploring the Pyramids and lolling down the Nile in Egypt and then drinking beer and hiking in the Bavarian Alps (not necessarily in that order.)
But besides some amazing photos and a significantly depleted bank account, I was left with something else much more profound: The reminder that America is completely insane.
At one point in my journey, I got into a heated debate with a well-informed Canadian about American policies and lifestyle. I was fuming by the end of it, not because that Canadian was wrong, but because he was 100% correct in everything that is amuck in America.
As I like to focus on education topics in this blog, I will rein myself in to cover that issue alone here although I could write pages and pages about all the other crazy, unnecessary problems this country faces.
As I told my neighbor to north about the huge student debt I incurred while pursuing my Master’s in Education and then the awful working conditions, the laughably small paycheck I receive, the unending attacks on my newly-chosen profession, the hero-status afforded to 22-years-olds who did not take the time or money to prepare as I did for my calling, and the second and third job I had to take on just to cover my bills and have a little left over for my travel passion, I watched his face twist into pity.
And all I could think was “Why DO I do this?” Yes, I love working with children, especially the children most marginalized by our society. But as I spoke with people from around the globe, I came to the realization…maybe it is not worth it.
Guys, I’m tired, too tired to fight anymore. I don’t want to spend my precious time battling media giants and hedge-fund managers for control of the discourse. I don’t want to have another person call me a “lazy and selfish” teacher when my actual experience of teaching is working harder than I ever have in my life. I’m tired of the union being labeled as the problem, when they were the only ones who tried to protect me when I stood up for my students. I’m sick of ridiculous policies by people who have no expertise in the profession being thrust upon us (See Rahm’s current push for longer school days in Chicago and check out my comments http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0828-20110828,0,3820561.column.)
I’m done. I’m going to look into teaching overseas, where I will get respect and a workable lifestyle. I don’t want to live in a country that treats me so badly anymore.