Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My Job is Not What You Think it Is

Last year, my youngest went to school. For the first time in twenty-three years, I beheld an empty house; no toddlers, no babies, no babies being expected. I lasted two days before taking a job at a high school, less time than Jesus spent in the tomb
Swearing, pompous pontificating, sloth, whatever they dish out, it's not personal, they'd do that to anyone sitting behind the desk even if the person offered daily meals, unlimited cell phone usage and free taxi service. It's cold comfort to know while my own teens who receive regular food, access to wi-fi and transporation as needed don't curse, I may have set the bar too low.
However it's easy to deal with these other teens, I haven't gained weight or gray hairs for these people. They don't require four o'clock AM vomit vigils, and unlike my own offspring, these folks don't cost me money. So it's much easier to be sympathetic, prepared, educated and understanding, authoritative but nurturing for them than for those who consider all of that gratis. It also helps that I'm only four hours a day, and rotate through several classes, and that I don't pick up after them. It leaves all the energy for the eye rolls.
Still, what I find works best at home, works best at school too. Not allowing any of that stuff to be shown to bother, and giving more attention, not less to whatever it is that matters. At home, when I say, "Clean your room." I get arguments like, "What difference will it make? The room will just get dirty again and no one will see it but me." to which saying, "Because I said so," will result in nothing happening.
At school I say, "Get on with the assignment." and hear, "What difference will it make? I'm already behind on all the work and my grade won't go up." I said, "It will make a difference to you, and it will make a difference in you." and remembered why I am a mom, and why I teach, because she cleaned the room and he did the assignment. I've been told, the job of teaching is to inform, not convince. My thought is the opposite. My role is to cajole, encourage, beg, and remind, whether Mom or teacher, about one thing: What you do affects who you are. Who you are is revealed to the world, by what you do. It's always a miracle when it happens, except I have to pretend in both circumstances, I'm not surprised.  I also do come away from those situations always thinking, "I can't believe that worked!"  
Next year, I hope to return to the classroom full time. I worry about the subdivision of my life even more. The idea of having to plan all my schedule fills me with dread and makes me wonder if I could lay claim to that third day at the very least.

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