by Ed Anger
If I only had a dollar for every dime an American educator rakes in. . .wait. . .ugh, let me start over.
Right, money. Teachers. Money and teachers. Seems almost criminal to put them together in a sentence. Who ever authorized those yupsters to dip into their own pockets for classroom supplies like post-its, highlighters, Sharpies, pencils and crayons, staples, paper clips, notebooks, props and costume bits, not to mention treats for Halloween and Christmas, anyway? Students ought to do without them–all those computers the school district provided aren’t there just to set your espresso on, you know.
And since time is money, likewise for any minutes whatsoever spent grading essays, exams, lesson preparation, professional development, parent meetings, tutoring, and all that, either after school or at night or on weekends. That’s ridiculous. Teachers should be out shopping the boutiques and mall stores for those luxuriant wardrobes they all seem to possess.
A young teacher, like a young artist, ought to live on the ragged edge of starvation. When he can’t be offered hospitality, he’d best consider himself as “fasting,” cleansing both body and spirit, like a freshly mopped lavatory.
But (I can hear someone beginning a lecture,) “Teaching is a calling, like becoming a Jedi Knight–it takes the highest commitment.” Bah. It’s a gig. They really ought to hold classes at night, so they can all work real day jobs and contribute to a responsible citizen’s tax bracket.
And what’s all this nonsense about irony, symbolism, lowest common denominator, long division, evolution, and debates about Pluto, anyway? Computers, I say! Fast ones. Get on the train, people, or get off the tracks! Not everybody gets summers–almost all of July and well into August, except for mandatory meetings, plus several Fall and Spring holidays like Veteran’s Day–off! Who the heck, today, has the leisure minutes for long division? And Pluto never fetched me my slippers!
Someone named Thoreau (Odin’s son in Norse mythology, as I recall. Take that, Mrs. Spencer!) whined: money corrupts everything it touches.
He was right. Benefit packages, retirement pensions, and that God-forsaken tenure should go, too. Any CEO will tell you those are not normal. Anyone who spends ten-twenty-five years in a job ought to grateful they still have it, not looking for more handouts.
Speaking of tenure, don’t even get me started on college professors. What’s that? Sure, most of them work part-time. Right, adjuncts. Those layabouts.
Grading countless dozens of essays, tutoring into the night, teaching semi-literate students in courses no one else wants, no office space, no benefits, little pay. Every aspiring teacher should look at them and see the writing on the wall. Change majors while you can, guys and dolls. Meanwhile, anyone with that level of masochism needs to jog down to the Psych Dept. and get herself a nice dose of free therapy.
[Contributor’s Note: Ed Anger freelances when and where he pleases, and can appear in any guise.]