Sunday, March 1, 2009

Early morning meeting

I am a teacher. Before becoming a teacher I was not aware that people could be conscripted into professions outside the armed services, but I learned last fall that one of the rare exceptions is to ill-conceived teaching positions. I was hired without my permission and have been struggling to stay afloat ever since.

I like the students fine. And the curriculum I teach, it's ok. Nothing special. But I just can't seem to get my professional mojo working for me. When the kids ask a question, I tend to answer it rather than call my attorney. This has evidently been an error in judgment.

Coupla weeks ago I taught a lesson on nutrition. I stuck to the script for the most part, but I threw in an extra bit about eating lots of fruits and veggies, you know, for good measure. Lo and behold, a few days later my supervisor calls to tell me that two kids with eating disorders went home and promptly off the deep end. One threw away all the animal products in her house; the other announced she would henceforth be eating kidney beans. Only. Imagine my surprise. As you may suspect, even mojo-less I did not advocate either of these dietary strategies, and certainly not in class. I said eating plants was healthy, yes I did. But that was it. For once in my life I didn't say anything freaky (at least I thought I didn't; perhaps I need more regular consultation with non-freak to help me identify when I have headed off into freak-territory.)

Tomorrow morning I will meet with my supervisor, her supervisor, the vice-principal and principal, not to mention the health teacher with whom I am expected to co-teach. Each one of these individuals is at least twenty years my senior and has a graduate degree in education. I got nothin'. It doesn't look promising.

My strategy is to lay low and hope to get fired, which seems a much fairer alternative to continue teaching as a publicly-shamed pariah. If I can't manage to get canned right away, I may have to drop a few "well, those kids should have known better" or "Well, I'm not going to teach the curriculum--I'm a gonna teach the truth!" and see where they get me. I'm hoping for the unemployment office.

Turns out teaching isn't for me.

*Meeting over. Cried in front of everyone. Wasn't fired. Disappointed. Counting down until May.


betsey said...

Fingers crossed for that pink slip...

Zillah said...

good luck, whatever that entails.

i'd be terrified to teach teenagers.

ixoj said...

ooo, good luck!

Aby Runyan said...

That is nuts. Where do you teach? These kids had KNOWN eating disorders to all except you - that hardly seems fair. Shouldn't they warn a gal? I feel quite certain you said absolutely nothing wrong, and shame on those in charge for choosing to take it out on you. Looks like they're covering their own *sses.
Keep your chin up girlie, all will be well.
luvs, aby

Jacki said...

If you need a job for next year you can be my nanny. I pay in KitKats.

e said...

Amazing how things like, "be sure to include several servings of fruits and vegetables a day into your diet" gets translated into a kidney beans only diet.

It happens cyclically out here-- at some point in the semester the sophomores (or maybe juniors?) take some kind of a class in which they read "Supersize me" or "Fast-food Nation"-- something along those lines. Then up crops a bunch of parents dragging their teenagers into the clinic in hopes that someone can talk some sense into them that a carrots and Redbull only diet is not okay. I guess, though, at least they get the message about fast-food.

amy said...

e, it really is such a tough line to walk as a teacher. Do you go ahead and demonize harmful, disease-causing foods that 99% of the kids eat on a regular basis or do you play the "there are no bad foods" card, knowing that for some certain foods are both addictive and, ultimately, deadly? I decided that I would just teach the truth and lets the cards fall where they might.

Funny how the parents' blamef or their child's disordered eating behavior fell on a well-intentioned (and at least reasonably well-informed) teacher rather than the cultural context that promotes such behavior. If people want to get mad, why not focus on the immensely profitable meat/dairy/fast/processed food industries, or the misogynistic media culture that sends bizarre messages to girls about their sexuality and their means of obtaining power?

I wish I just had a curriculum I could teach and still sleep at night. You should see the drug unit. And don't even get me started on abstinence only.

missy. said...

pamy, your post made me laugh so hard--but in a "wow, this is kind of sad, so why am i laughing" kind of way. and yet, i kept laughing. i miss you.

and in regards to your last comment... yes! damn that misogynistic media culture! i've had it up to here with it!