Thursday, September 6, 2007

"We're 4 days smarter today!"

Even though I'm not one of those people who lives and breathes by my horoscope, I still read it everyday because it's on my opening page every time I turn on my computer. I actually crack myself up, because when it's convenient for me, I can find the truth in whatever it says, and believe what I want. Here's today's:

"Though you're working hard at whatever you do, you're also likely to be thinking about increasing your income. Perhaps you are seeking a new position, or an entirely new career altogether. If this is your desire, dear Taurus, start looking today. The signs are all perfect for it! You're also likely to appear stronger and more confident to colleagues and to those higher up in the hierarchy. Make the contacts you need and move ahead with your plans."

I couldn't help but laugh this morning when I read it because I've done nothing but complain this week about my job! When I started my masters program, I thought I might want to use the degree to move out of the classroom and do something else. Perhaps work for the Board of Ed, or a textbook publisher, or something. I don't think I'd want to get out of the classroom forever, but a break might be good for me. Sometimes I think just a change of environment would be just as effective. I've been working in Englewood for over 10 years now. It wears at your soul after a while. In the beginning, I came home and cried every night because of the way these kids had to live. The unstable homes, the lack of decent food and clothing, the lack of respect or appreciation for education, the violence in the neighborhood, and so much more. I shouldn't have my kindergarten students telling me what to do when you hear gunshots. It's just part of their everyday existence.

The first year I was at this school, there was a shootout on the playground right at dismissal time. One of my babies literally walked right in the middle of it, between the two animals shooting at each other across the playground. Most of the other kids were still in the classroom with me. The school was immediately put on lock down, and I immediately thought I was going to piss on myself. One of my favorite little girls just looked at me and very calmly said we needed to get down on the floor, away from the windows. That was almost more upsetting to me than the actual shooting. How in the hell could this just be a normal thing for 5 year olds to deal with in their lives?!

Since then, I've become a bit numbed to all the craziness. This past school year, we couldn't go outside for recess for the entire month of May because they were shooting outside almost every single day. The sad thing is, that hardly even phases me anymore. Yeah, I was annoyed that we couldn't go outside, but the actual horror of the situation was almost lost on me. I drive through the worst parts of Chicago on a daily basis, see things that most people only see in movies, and I don't even bat an eye.

Sometimes, the logical side of me is stunned at how blase I've become about it all. But, if I were to stop and think about what's really happening, I probably wouldn't be able to go to work. If I thought about how, at any moment, a stray bullet could find me, (or GOD FORBID, my son!), if I thought about how, at any given stop light, someone could try and carjack me, if I thought about how I could get caught up in a police chase, I could never drive through those neighborhoods. I have to drive through some pretty scary places every morning just to get my son to school. Then, I drive through some really crappy parts to pick up a friend and his son (Dad works at my school, son attends the school) before I finish my journey. None of that would be possible if I stopped to worry about every thing that could happen.

So, getting back to my horoscope, perhaps I should be mass-mailing my resume today. Maybe I should consider changing careers. I've always said that if I wasn't a teacher, I would be an accountant. Math was always my favorite subject in school, and it was my minor in college. On those days when being a teacher really sucks (like payday, for example!) I often wish I would have studied accounting and become a CPA. Lord knows, I'd surely be making more money. But what I wouldn't be making is a difference. That's what keeps me going back to Englewood everyday.

As far as the accounting thing goes, though, my brother is opening a bar (I'll give you details another day) and I'll be doing his books, so maybe that little taste will be enough to sustain me. If not, at least I'll have a job where I can have margaritas while I work, and no one will care! Hmm, I bet no one would care at school, either.... Haha! It certainly would make the day more interesting!

Well, tomorrow's Friday already, and I will have made it through the first week of school with my babies. Only 166 days to go before summer vacation!! I'm making that my positive for today!! :D

Today's quote:
The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.
--Anatole France


Christina Shaver said...

I once volunteered for a school on Chicago's west side. You may have heard of it. Providence St. Mel. Great school. Awful neighborhood. And I just couldn't help but think that the educators who help these innocent little kids get somewhere else in life are really the salt of the earth.

ChiTown Girl said...

I appreciate that more than you know!! Most people can't really understand what it's like unless they've been there. Anytime you want to volunteer at our school, give me a shout!