On Teaching, Being in Love, and Losing a Friend

It’s been a loooong time since I’ve just stopped to write down my thoughts. So here they are:

  • On Teaching: No, this was not my first choice career. No, I’m not so sure I want to do this for the rest of my life. Yes, I love the kids. I also hate them sometimes. It is really hard, and really draining. I’m going to go against the grain here and say, I don’t think the problem is that teachers don’t make enough money. The real problem, for me at least, is that we have to work too damn much! I can see why people equate this into a money thing, though. According to my contract, I’m making roughly $35 per hour. BUT that would only be accurate if I was working only my contracted hours, that would be 7:45am-3:25pm Monday-Friday. The reality is that I get to school around 7:20am every day and most days I don’t leave until at least 5pm. Then I usually do at least 2 more hours of work at home. AND I usually work at least 10 hours each weekend. If you’re going to break the salary down depending on actual hours worked, then no, teachers are not paid enough. But the real issue is that we have to work too much. 175 students it too much. An hour of prep roughly 4 days per week is not enough time for grading, lesson planning, and creating instructional materials. There is not enough time for interdisciplinary collaboration or departmental planning. And, beyond all else, there is not enough time to have a life outside of school. Besides the 1.5 hours I spend communing on weekdays, I have only about 2 hours each day to myself. And I need to spend some of that time doing things like showering, eating, and cleaning my apartment. And I’m just a single person living on my own. I cannot even imagine how difficult it would be to balance the time commitments with a family or a second job. Rant over, I don’t want more pay, I want more prep time, smaller classes, and more support.
  • On Being In Love: At the beginning it was the best thing in the world, all the time. Texting was even exhilarating. And nothing annoyed me. Now, being in love is still the best thing in the world. It just sucks sometimes. I’m only human, and I can be irrational and emotional. And I can also be very rationally upset, because I’m a human and I have feelings. The most amazing thing to me is that no matter how annoyed I am at my boyfriend over text messages or lack of communication, as soon as we are together I’m suddenly reminded that he’s not actually an asshole and I really freakin’ love him. And it’s pretty great.
  • On The Loss of an Old Friend: I learned last month that one of my best friends from elementary school had tragically died in a car accident, at the age of 23. A month later, it still hits me in waves and overwhelms me with emotions. I was remembering her and our friendship and wondering how it fell apart. I had remembered being close with her all through middle school and drifting apart in high school. But digging back through my middle school yearbooks and my memories, I realized that it had been much longer since we were friends. I remember getting mad at her in middle school because she was making new friends that I didn’t like, and I was jealous. I’m still not sure if our friendship ended because of me, or because of her, or just because that was the natural progression of things. But looking back through all of the kind posts memorializing her on Facebook, I realized that I didn’t know her at all anymore. Despite growing up in the same town and going to the same high school, there were so many of her friends who I had never even heard of, despite the fact that they too went to school with us. I remember being withdrawn in high school. But I thought that I at least knew almost everyone, even if I spoke to no one. It makes me sad to think back to myself as a high school student and all the mistakes I didn’t even know I was making. I guess I always thought I would at least get the chance to see everyone again at a reunion and we would be friendly, even if we would never be friends again. And there might be some closure. But I will never see her again and I will never get the chance to really get to know her. Despite our fall out, I know the world is now missing a beautiful soul. And I am reminded that sometimes we don’t get second chances. There are some old friends we will never see again, and they may never know how much their friendship meant.

Sometimes writing is nothing more than therapy. Now I need to get back to work.

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