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Entry date: 9-4-2022 - That's why we call it an "old job" - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Happy Sunday. I’m going golfing today and then to lunch with an old and dear friend. Hopefully I will get to see the grandbean later, too. Could be a decent day.

Earlier this week, I got to visit my school from last year to meet with my fellow music teachers who work with the students there. It was cool to be able to talk a little shop and get some validation that I am doing the right thing without having to ask someone. I was very impressed with the work they have done to get new instruments for the kids, as well. Kudos to those guys.

While I was on campus, I did get to see two of my students from last year. I was not surprised to see one of them, a young lady of immeasurable energy, just sort of wandering around the campus. She saw me and came running up to give me a big hug, which was just as heartwarming as you might think. I have missed her even though she is responsible for a few of the gray hairs on my head and in my beard.

When I asked her what she was doing, she said “going to the bathroom.” Funny, there are bathrooms adjacent to the playground where she was wandering around, but she was nowhere near them. Last year I would often see kids just sort of idling around the common areas instead of going back to class. I was also not the only adult around, but no one was questioning what she was doing.

I sent her back to class and saw another of my favorite students from last year as I walked up to the music room. He was, if you recall, one of my smartest kids but did not like doing schoolwork at all. I asked him what he was learning and if he was enjoying the third grade. As you might imagine, he said, “I don’t know” and “No.”

Some things never change.

He had gotten taller, though, and was just as quick to smile and show me some heartfelt affection as his former classmate. For a few seconds there, I really missed being on campus and getting the energy from the kids. Zoom is great and my students this year are awesome, but it is just not the same.

After meeting with the other music teachers, I headed towards the office. I ran into one of my friend’s students from last year. This little dude and I had a great rapport, and I did my best to help him see that, like my student I just mentioned, when you are smart and capable, you really should apply yourself.

This fellow, though, did even less in 2nd grade than my student did. I asked him, as well, how third grade was going, and he just sort of shrugged. He was wandering a bit, too, after going to the bathroom and was in no hurry to get back to class. He asked me if I knew that my friend had quit and I said, “Yes, I know that.” He said he was sad about it but understood.

“Sometimes you just need to go somewhere else to find your happy again,” he said.

Ain’t that the truth, kid.

Although, no matter where you go, that’s where you are. When it comes to work, you do need a change of scenery from time to time, but if you don’t work on your own skills and/or issues, you’ll probably find yourself in the same shitty place at the new job. Luckily, I think the friend in question here has traded up.

This was very apparent after running into a few of my old colleagues. While all of them did not bitch about something that was wrong with the school or their classroom, of the five or six people I ran into, all but one of them complained about something. I especially appreciated that each of the ones who bitched about something also expressed that I should come back.

This makes me wonder: Do they really miss me or do they just want me to be suffering like they are?

If it is the latter, that is just mean. While I do understand that it is human nature to want people to understand what you are going through and it’s more fun to suffer in a group than alone, I don’t want to suffer. It was nice, though, to see some familiar faces and soak up a bit of the old school. If there was no other option, I would go back there, but it was funny to see how hard they were trying to sell me on coming back on one hand and then just trashing the school with the other.

It's no wonder that teachers get a bad rap from so many people. Many educators seem to really like complaining about their job. One teacher, who I really like, is apparently being groomed for an admin role. Sure, there is a bit more money, but probably not enough to entice him over the dark side.

As he was telling me about it, I asked him, do you really want to give up all the break time we have as a teacher? Administrators in our charter network work year-round. That means giving up the week in the fall, two weeks in the winter, the week in the spring, and the summer break which will expand from five weeks to 8 weeks next year for him. If you’re not doing the math, that’s almost three months off.

I wouldn’t give that up at this point. I like being able to go to Maine and do only what I want for five weeks or so. If I could, I would head up there in May as soon as we are done and get almost three months, but thanks to being a dad, I will not be so lucky.

Soon enough, though, and no. I guess I really don’t want to go back to teaching in person just yet.

See you tomorrow.

Some of my old co-workers need to read this, I think.

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