Look, let’s be honest for a minute. If you have been reading me for any length of time at all you have probably noticed that the past wee bit has seen a more cynical, jaded bite — a sharpened, more cutting blog-edge tone, if you will.
I admit it. I’ve darkened.
But the thing is, well… there are a few things. For one, if we are going to be really honest, this freakin’ job is freakin’ hard. And between the budget cuts and the bastards and the buffoons, it would take a saint not to get rattled by the crap we all face at both my school and in public education on the whole.
And I ain’t no f*&%kin saint.
This stuff is meaningful to me, this stuff hits me hard and this stuff impacts my life and the lives of my kids – and peers – in deep, significant ways.
My students get one chance to be teenagers in school and SO, SO, SO many consequences that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives are being manipulated by puppeteers that seem to have no shame about doing what is in their own personal, best, self-interest before considering what is in the best interest of the students we have been hired to serve.
My cynicism is a by-product of naiveté some might say… cause I believe I can change things – or at least impact things for the better – and I get really frustrated when I lay it all on the line and still, things roll downhill.
If I could be more zen-like, I’d be much better off. All I can say to that is, I am a work in progress — so please don’t submit final grades just yet.
However, I also know that things are cyclical in a school year and right now, we are in the thick of the jungle in a whole host of ways. Stress runs high during times like these and when you work 90-100 hours a week and still feel as if you are spinning your wheels, it gets maddening.
But we’re gonna get out of it. And this too shall pass. There are more fart blogs in me. Yes, I will write 800 words on “The booger-pickers of 4rth period”. (Note to self: Hey, that’s a good book title.)
The joy, the laughs, the ridiculous smiles, it’s all still there. I guess I just take this all-too-seriously in some ways, sometimes. See, I bought into the propaganda hook, line and sinker. I believe in kids, I believe in teaching, I believe in education, and I believe in serving the greater good of society. (And all that other nonsense.)
When you care about things, you open yourself up to being hurt. That’s just a law of the universe or something.
If I just wanted a job for the sake of pulling a paycheck, I would have become a lawyer. Really. Then again, knowing me, I probably would have become a bleeding heart, public defendant, still working for the government rambling on about pillars of the Constitution because a leopard doesn’t ever really change their spots, now do they? (Truth is, I have immense regard for some lawyers. My dad and grandfather were both barristers; sounds more high fallutin’ when you say it that way.)
So know this. I may be down and gettin’ kicked around in the mud right now but that’s because nobody in our field (that I know of) escapes that aspect of this work.
And I don’t trust people who pretend that it’s never like this — or sell you perpetual rose-colored glasses. It’s just untrue.
So me, when I am down at the bottom of the barn rollin’ around in professional pigshit, I kinda relish it. Why? Because I guess I figure if you are gonna rise to great heights in this world, it seems as if you must also plumb some pretty low depths, too.
The encroachment of cynicism on my writing — it’s there, but it’s not permanent. Not as long as I still find joy in the farting booger-pickers of 4rth period it isn’t.
Cause when that joy is gone, so am I.