While decompressing (wine works better than IPAs these days) and attempting to put the day behind me, I saw an awful “thank you” to teachers. “Thanks for all you do,” read the post, followed by a trendy hashtag: #worldteachersday.
Before I continue, a disclaimer: I consider most trending topics to be vile these days, but that particular hashtag flipped a kill switch in me. See, I’m a “teacher.” Why is that in quotation marks? I’m ashamed. That’s why.
I never bought into the nobility of the profession. I also never signed the oath of the pauper, but apparently my finances didn’t get that memo. I spent seven out of ten years working multiple extra jobs just to get by.
Another disclaimer: I’m not that great of a teacher. I loathe paperwork. I don’t have a high tolerance level for bullshit, and my God, if ever there were an entire twisted Industry fully committed to self-deception at a dangerous rate, it’s education. Here’s where I excel: I love learning. Sometimes I even do it well. Sometimes I can even be helpful in helping others learn. For me, there really isn’t anything better than when I can be a part (just a section) of a construct that affords new understanding or the doorway to a new opportunity where previously there may have not been one.
So, what’s the catch? Ten years in, it’s getting worse. I’m not going to pour all of my fury into an indictment of The System. That would be trite. Clichéd. If you don’t teach, you won’t care anyway. That’s fine. This is for me.
On any given day, any one of us can get up in the morning, decide to be honest and say, “I’m tired of living like this.” Then we can do something about it. Most of us don’t. A great many of us have cleverly trapped ourselves into a bullshit existence, punctuated by consumerism we willfully embrace, only to whine about its detrimental effects on our lives. “Can’t quit The Job–I’ve got The Car Payment. Got The Mortgage.” It never really ends. Those with kids have an even longer potential Suffer Cycle. Hopes and dreams are paused for the brood. Not always, but shit…show me a handful of twentysomething or thirtysomething parents doing what they want to do. Rare.
Career-jumping has risk, too. Make that “Risk” to emphasize the anxiety. Capitalize that shit. Google “How to Change Your Life.” Yahoo it. Mozilla. Use a Microsoft search engine to do the same thing–whatever the hell their latest search engine is. Be like me. Rinse, repeat. I’ve now reread all the books on positive psychology and Mind over Matter that I own. Guess what’s not doing the job? The same old stuff that didn’t help me in the first place. Next up? I’m going to make some excuses. Let Fear guide me. Trap myself beneath a large purchase or two. Piss away another year.
It’s weird, though. I think it could be different this time. Work long enough, and hard enough, and all of the forces at play to erode that former Self have mysterious side effects. I have gas in the tank. I know where my next meal is coming from. I may not need much more than that.
But yeah, happy World Teachers Day. Assholes.