I’m trying to make sense of my life, trying to figure out why it seems that I’m perpetually stuck in catch up mode. Part of the problem has to do with the state of education in this country, especially after eight years of the mistake from Texas. I never expected to get rich from teaching, but I did expect to be able to maintain a modest, middle-class lifestyle. Instead, for my entire career, I’ve been among the ranks of the working poor, earning just enough to disqualify me for public assistance but not enough to participate fully in the system. Until I got hired at WSCC, healthcare was out of the question. I’ve had one real vacation in eleven years. The notion of home ownership is a distant, laughable dream. My retirement plan is basically work until I drop dead.
The truly maddening part is that all teachers I know, with a handful of lazy exceptions, work as hard as anyone else in society. A good week is fifty hours. Most are sixty, and some push seventy. It takes a real toll on the body. I fear for the future of society because the situation is only getting worse every year, and most of us are so frustrated by the system, the lack of pay, the increasing impudence of the students, and the futility of fighting against the rising tide of ignorance that many either burn out much too early or slip into apathetic mode for survival. If something doesn’t change in the next few years, the entire system will implode because no one qualified to do the job would be stupid enough to take it.