Teaching is one of those professions that will take as much time as you can give it. Unless you are perfect about managing your time, it is near impossible for teaching not to intrude into other parts of your life… and the rest of your life will demand attention too. Grading, making new lessons, answering emails, then scheduling time with family and friends. *
Sleep isn’t always the top priority, which makes coffee is an important part of my day. Certain types of problems require coffee to solve. The real thing that will wake you up though? Rage.
I made the mistake of typing “feminism” into the search bar of YouTube. Half of the links were criticizing, lambasting, or parodying feminism. They ranged from stupid rants laced with contempt and sexism, to slick productions with misleading statistics. A few of the others (from the feminist perspective) also included some good arguments, but there were catharsis seekers there as well. If you want rage, try it yourself. Type in your favorite topic: vaccines and autism, teaching evolution in schools, women’s rights… there will be someone there saying horrible things.
Outrage will wake you up. **
There are other things that will wake you up as well. Teachers, you know those students who should be classified as an allergen because everything they do is an irritant? What happens when one of these students makes a statement like “I could teach this class.”
Set aside the fact that the student may barely pass. Set aside the classroom disruptions they cause. What goes through my head: You think you could teach this class? Let me tell you about what teachers do: we are subject matter experts. That means that we know multiple ways to do most types of questions that you know one way to do. Can you, on the fly, come up with example questions that work, that are progressively more challenging, and lead 30+ people with different backgrounds and understanding to learn? Can you set aside personal crises, family and personal illnesses, and other worries, in order to teach effectively? Do you think that you can work a 10 hour day before trying to energize a group of people? Are you capable of disciplining someone your own age or older? How about remembering 75 student names, what their specific challenges are, and have a sense of what they collectively and individually need to succeed in class (and in the next class)? Who has child care and work issues that impact their attendance? Who needs individual attention? Can you maintain a balance of a fun and functional class while not being overly disciplinary? How are you cat herding skills? Do you want to be on call on your days off to answer student questions? Do you want to work a second part time job to survive while you do this? Do you have the fucking credentials to teach a discipline like math?
If you can, do, because there aren’t enough of us. If you can’t, then shut the fuck up about what you think you know.
Grumble grumble entitled ignorant grumble grumble… ***
* The people I love get the majority of my free time. I don’t mind this, but it does mean that I rarely get time alone.
** You may also despair for humanity. The thing that gets me is that people don’t WANT to hear the other side. If more folks worked on having a dialogue instead of creating a chasm between the two points of view I think we would have a much nicer world. Not a perfect world, but certainly a nicer one.
*** By the time I have posted this, Spring Break will be here, and I will be much more relaxed.