Why Did I Even Bother?
When You Set Out on a Mission with a Purpose, Only to Realize It Was Mute to Begin With
I've spent the last three years preparing, grinding, crying, pulling my hair out, screaming, and wishing that everything was over in a scrupulous attempt at getting a teaching degree. When I started out, I had all the right motivation, all the right drive, and all of the best intentions for what I would do with my degree and the impact I wanted to make with it.
The same year I started my college grind, the country got real political in a huge way. It was the first presidential election that I would be old enough to take part in. Never in a million years did I think that in the first election I'd take part in as an adult would turn into the massive shit-show that it became. Then suddenly Trump was in office, and he appointed a fraudulent, unqualified person to the head of the Department of Education. I was livid. Now when I say livid, I don’t mean just the swearing, screaming, crying kind of angry. I mean the quiet, fuming, passionate rage that lingers and festers into something much more handicapping. And I thought, Why did I bother with this? The country doesn’t seem to want this. Why do I even bother?
But I took another step toward progressing my career in education, and I took my first underpaying job within the district in which I live. What I was met with was a blissful, naïve beginning that seemed so rewarding for the first few months. I got to talk to adorable little children everyday, and pick their brains for imaginative content and insight into what developments and knowledge the little tykes had. But after the first few months went by, and the honey moon stage was over, things got real (I know, cue the many eyerolls, but bear with me).
I am not one to shy away from hard work. I know what dedication and commitment can bring. I've been an ambitious person for my entire life, always looking ahead, always wanting to commit to a plan. But the fact of the matter is, this is work that I'm not getting squat from except what may look good on a resume. The bottom line is, everything that I have been working toward- studying, doesn't cross over to any other professions, and it is heartbreaking because I came into this thinking I was going to have tons of options after I graduate. And now I am more than Twenty grand deep in debt for a career I'm not even sure I want anymore.
Think about it. As a teacher, you are supposed to be a model of good everything, good behavior, intelligence, leadership etc. You HAVE to be, in order to have any stock in anything that you do.
You have to be perfect, and give yourself over to a life of "prudence" in order to be taken seriously in the establishment.
As a woman, you are looked down on if you don't wear a ring. As a person, you are looked down on if your clothes aren't professional. Now luckily, I live in a progressive state, with an even more evolving community in my city, so the limitations aren't as strict. However, I can't even post a picture of myself hanging out with my friends at a bar on social media without being afraid for my job. THIS IS NOT A PRODUCT OF MY ENVIRONMENT, THIS IS A REALITY OF MY SCHOOL TEACHINGS. <---- IT IS NOT A JOKE. (and if necessary, I can add citations from my textbook if anyone doesn’t believe me).
Now, as someone who works for a district that does seem to have its employees in mind, I don't want to rag too bad on the program in which I work for currently. However, it’s a total shit show. Due to fear of being reprimanded for even saying this much, I am going to keep the specifics to myself. Though I will say this: IF YOU HAVE NEVER WORKED IN A CLASSROOM WITH x AMOUNT OF STUDENTS, YOU HAVE NO FREAKING BUSINESS PASSING POLICIES YOU HAVEN'T FIRST TRIED BY YOURSELF.
The education system is flawed, and those flaws come because people "with power" don't bother to do their research before they start implementing new policies. Also, history is not even remotely valued anymore, and from what I have seen, the Common Core Curriculum practically skips over all of it. Though to be fair, I have had little experience in comparison to some.
With Common Core, it seems science has taken over (FOR THE RECORD, I don't believe this is necessarily a bad thing), but I fear that with this new curriculum standards the values of lessons from the past, and facts of the past are attempting to be erased through selective exclusion of topics; and once I start student teaching for the last half of my degree, I plan to get very familiar with these and expose the practices for what they truly entail.
I set out to make a difference with my degree, and I intend to do just that. Otherwise, why did I even bother?