Friday, August 24, 2007

Confessions...

I haven’t posted on my blog for a while, and my tiny (yet vocal) fan base has made it frighteningly clear that if I do not post soon, they will no longer send me birthday cards, give me free therapy sessions, or keep any of my really embarrassing secrets. That said, I’ve decided to let everyone with Internet access in on my neurotically spiraling, convoluted and conflicting thoughts on this crazy journey I’m on (being the apparent exhibitionist that I am) and I just gotta wonder if anybody ever gets tired of this.
It’s not like I’m one of those people who tries to put her best foot forward. I don’t. Lots of people, NORMAL people, keep their struggles to themselves until they are way past the situation. After they’ve processed the event, learned from it, grown from it, they feel better about sharing their experiences with those close to them. Of course, they can then leave out all the really crappy, humiliating parts. Sometimes I think I should be more like that. But doesn’t iron sharpen iron? What if those people isolate themselves to the point that they can’t solicit anyone else’s help or perspectives or opinions—to be received or rejected—and subsequently can’t find a resolution for all that haunts them? What if, in their own self-absorbed pride-filled aloneness, they get stuck in the hell of their own insecurity and become one of the “mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation?” Thoreau said those people go to the GRAVE with the song still in them. Well, not this girl. I’ll take my desperation loud and obvious and public, thank you very much. I don’t want my song stuck inside me.
So here’s what’s going on. Most of you know that I walked away from education. Most of you know that I took the last year off. Most of you know that I eventually had to return to work, but broke out in hives every time I thought about getting back into a labor camp. I mean, a school. With hostile parents. And bullshit policies. And really, really, really bad money. I’m way too spoiled to have to go through my career feeling like a second-class citizen. So when my first offer came to put my application in for an 8th grade English position, I turned it down flat.
“But, Daisy, you’re so good for kids.”
Yeah. Ain’t that the kicker?
And when my second offer came soon after to put my application in for a 4th grade position, I turned that one down flat too. Right after I stopped laughing.
“But, Daisy, we really need somebody with experience.”
Sucks, don’t it? Told ya. Na, na, na, na NAAAAA, na!
I know. That’s immature. One of those “crappy” and “humiliating” parts that I’m not privileged enough to leave out because I keep everyone duly informed in real time due to my exhibitionist tendencies and because I don’t want to have a freakin’ SONG stuck in me till I go to the grave!
And then one day very recently, as I was in the produce section of Wal-mart picking out bananas, my friend Cindy, who I’d been talking to on my cell phone, pops out with, “So, do you wanna teach music part time at the charter school?”
“No…” Two second of silence and then, “…how much?”
I shit you not, I put the phone down and looked over my shoulder. WHO IN THE HELL SAID THAT?
When I put the phone to my ear again she said, “Really?”
“No… OK… Ummm… No.”
And like a good friend, Cindy—one of the irons who sharpens me—promised to find out the details.
Long story short, she found out that they wanted to pay me a surprising amount of money to work three hours a day to teach music. This appealed to me because you know I have a song inside me. I was offered a part-time contract with benefits. It is only a one-year commitment because their “real” music teacher is standing in as the interim principal. After that, I’m free to go. Works for me!
SO! Of course, the school wanted proof that I could really teach, of all things, so I went to my files, pulled out my 3-year temporary Idaho license with the provisions that I’d left on it because I had my panties in a wad over the ridiculousness of THAT, blew the dust off of it, and realized that Idaho had NOT given me three years. They’d given me two. My license was going to expire this September 1st. I about had a stroke, because by this time, I was kind of really intrigued about this particular teaching position. I called the Ed Shed (my affectionate term for the State Department of Education) who informed me that if I had caught the error two years ago, then they’d have been able to rectify the situation. Now, I was just SOL. Typical. Predictable. Reminiscent of all that irritates me about the whole FUBAR mess in the first place. HOWEVER, Ed Shed Dude said, the provisions that were on my license were no longer required by the state of Idaho due to a decision by the state made just THREE WEEKS PREVIOUSLY! Three weeks, folks. I was advised to fill out an application for a free and clear license, send in my $75 and a letter explaining my situation, and they’d let me know.
And, oh yeah. School was starting in like, twelve days.
I told Jesus, “Jesus, if I don’t get this license, I swear to… well, YOU, that I’m gonna bag all this and just go to beauty school!” My 5-year, free and clear, Idaho teaching license was in my hot little hand by week’s end. (God apparently does not want me giving anybody a permanent.)
Nothing, I tell you NOTHING, is that easy EVER in education. Ever.
I’ve spent the last two weeks teaching music, fully licensed and legal, at Thomas Jefferson Charter School in Caldwell, Idaho with about 280 happy little kids, kindergarten through 8th grade. They love me, and I love them, and so far everybody’s having a lot of fun.
Hmmmmm. Now. What to do? What to do? More importantly, what am I SUPPOSED to do?
Did God just sit back, fold His arms, and watch me throw a year-long tantrum? And in the eleventh hour, did He plop this opportunity in my lap, knowing my propensity to jump? And did He miraculously make the requirements to renew my license just disappear into mid air? He knew two years ago that this September my teaching license would pretty much be good for nothing but toilet paper. Did He orchestrate that, too, so that I would be forced then to pursue a permanent license? And for what? So that I could… teach? Or am I just crazy?
Dear God, please let me be crazy. Please let me be crazy!
(Furthermore, the requirements that I had on my license were the same ones Sean-Martin had on his, so he’ll probably get a 5-year, free and clear teaching license as well. He’s an amazing teacher, by the way.)
The Bible verse that my Donna gave me was SUPPOSED to mean that teaching was behind me! You know, “Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. [Like teaching.] Behold I will do something new. [Like not teaching.] Now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it? I will make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” I was ready for a brand new career in whatever roadway, whatever river God had. I’m not that picky. Anything is fine. I just don’t want white people coming in screaming at me, if that’s OK. And some money would be nice. Maybe some respect. I was kind of excited about it, to tell you the truth. And the part of that verse that was most baffling to me, frankly, was the “Will you not be aware of it?” part. Surely I would be aware of it. The opportunity door that opened up would be the one I would walk through. What’s the big deal? Not rocket science, right?
Right?
So then, THIS opportunity door opened up, and…
OK, Dear GOD! I am begging You! PLEASE LET ME BE CRAZY! I can’t go back to a place where people are not arrested for coming in screaming and threatening my life. I can’t work in a place where the principal comes in and tells me to lock my door because there’s some raving lunatic crackhead downstairs who wants to hurt me! And I surely can’t work in a place where that same principal says a half-hour later, “It’s OK now. He’s fine.” He’s fine? HE’S FINE? DO I GIVE A SHIT IF HE’S FINE? I hope he breaks out with a hellacious rash on his dick that’s so excruciating he finally just chops the whole damn thing OFF! With a sledge-hammer and a chisel! That’s how fine I hope he is! AM I FINE? Did anybody ask me if I was fine? I guess I just wasn’t that important.
I’m so used to being cherished and adored that I really can’t tolerate anything less. It’s just not my nature. Teaching CAN’T be for me.
I’m not opposed to teaching, my friends. Aside from motherhood, teaching is the single-most important thing I’ve ever done with my life. Teachers are awesome. They’re smart. They’re cool. They’re funny—they have to be. They’re survivors. They’ve got stamina. They’ve got mojo. Almost everything that is good and strong about America is good and strong because of teachers in various forms. It’s the bullshit that comes WITH teaching that I can do without! Unfortunately, I don’t have a very optimistic perspective on the future of our country because education is dying. We, as a country, don’t cherish our children, let alone those who sacrifice so much to pour their lives out for them. I believe that education SHOULD die in its present form and be reconstructed by EDUCATORS—not politicians. In that regard, I fully support NCLB because it is killing education faster than anything I’ve ever witnessed. Simply stated, education is pretty fucked up. The nightmare stories I could tell you…
I’ve said before that being a teacher is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Remember in the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet? Jack put Rose on that lifeboat. She was being lowered into the water to safety. Her life was spared. She was home free. And what did she do? She jumped back onto that sinking ship because everything she loved was on that boat. I have this really vivid picture of her sitting on that boat with those big, frightened eyes looking up at Jack who remained on that doomed hunk of iron. And you knew she was going to do it. You just knew she was gonna jump back onto that boat. And God knows my propensity to jump…
What the hell am I doing? Everything I love is on that sinking, fucked-up ship.
Sharpen me, my friends. Post a response and tell me what you think I should do. I fixed my blog so that everyone should be able to post, whether they have a google account or not. Just click on anonymous and sign your name in the text. And don’t just tell me to return to teaching because I’m good at it. It doesn’t matter how good I ever was if I’m lying dead on the bottom of the frigid ocean floor, does it? So think about this. I’m sitting on a lifeboat looking up with those big, frightened eyes. What would you do if you were in my lifeboat?