Tuesday, September 03, 2019

This Is Me (and So Is That)

Lucy's not happy, and you might not be either. Every summer goes faster and faster, and face it, this one is gone completely. When people ask me how my vacation was, I'm gonna have to tell them I woke up today and it was over. I may or may not cry afterward, but it won't change anything. Also, at chapter leader training they asked us to cry as little as possible in front of members.

Nonetheless, summer's now nothing but a memory. Of course I enjoy a good sulk as much as the next person, but because I have to, you know, work, I haven't got the time I'd like to devote to it.

We all know how Lucy feels, and as we slump dejected into some meeting where the principal tells us how he can't wait to get back to work, how he feels energized, and how anyone who doesn't isn't a team player, you have to know that the principal looked exactly as Lucy does as he walked to his luxury car this morning. He derived very little satisfaction as he turned it off and the mirrors folded inward. Though he's got a parking space and you don't, he sat crying in his office for fifteen minutes before some secretary forced him to get up, wipe his face, and give the same pep talk every principal has given since time immemorial.

Thankfully, you don't have to get up in front of God an everybody and make that speech. However, in two short days you'll face a bunch of students who all bear the same face you see above. You're gonna have to dig deep and at least try to change your expression. Day one can't be, "Well, you're stuck here and I'm stuck here, and there's no end in sight." Even if you feel that way, it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is, of course, another way to look at things. You remember, at Thanksgiving dinner, your crazy
uncle with the MAGA hat telling you how your job is a walk in the park, how anyone could do it, and how you asked him why he couldn't, if the job were so goshdarn easy? Isn't it true, though, that you wouldn't want his job on a bet?

You never know what's going to happen in our job. Every day brings something new. You're not sitting on an assembly line attaching one thing to another, over and over until either your hand falls of or you're replaced by a robot (which is not to say Bill Gates doesn't want to do that). Nor are you sitting in front of a computer inputting tedious data day after day. 

Maybe today is traumatic. Maybe today is the toughest day of the year, or maybe the toughest day is Thursday, when you first fact the kids. But this shall pass. And unlike a whole lot of working people in America, if you actually need a break, you're always got one to look forward to. Once Christmas comes, you get a week off every other month.

That's one reason your uncle hates you so much. There's the old story of the Russian farmer who says, "My neighbor has a cow and I don't. I want his cow to die." That's your uncle right there. It's on us, though, to get him a frigging cow whether he wants one or not. That's why we're teachers. We know that making things better for this generation will make things better for the next.

It's our job to make things better for the next generation. That's why we teach. That's why it's on us to vote, and to do whatever we can to make sure our children and students lead the best lives possible. Don't let your uncle make you feel guilty. You deserve a job that allows you to think, to react in real time, and make a difference.

Make no mistake, we are one of the last strongholds of vibrant unionism in these United States. It's on us to preserve and expand that. It's on us to educate everyone. While your uncle may be too far gone to see the light, America's children are depending on us.

If we can teach 34 teenagers at a time, we can do anything.
blog comments powered by Disqus