I’m going to the dark side.
After twelve years in the classroom, approximately two-thousand students (give or take a couple hundred,) and three years of blogging, I’m throwing in the towel. I’m leaving teaching. I’m…becoming a stripper. The tips are way better.
Ha! Gotcha! Nope, no stripping for me. I’m way too old and entirely too shy for that kind of nonsense. Plus, how awkward would it be if you accidentally ran into one of your ex-students while on the pole? Ew. Oh, yuck. I think I even just grossed myself out.
But I am leaving the classroom, a fact I state with an equal combination of sadness and “Hall-e-freaking-lujuah!”
I’m becoming one of Those People. You know. Those People us teachers whine, bitch and moan about. Those People who are in education but make teachers crazy because “in education” means “out of the classroom too long.” Those People who walk around with a little pad of paper and sit in your classroom taking notes and offering feedback.
They’ve made me an instructional coach.
Me. Singing Pigs. An instructional coach.
I throw markers at my kids, use the word “piehole” with impunity, and think sarcasm in teaching is a completely legitimate instructional tool. Why Any Power That Be would think that my particular brand of consciously incompetent teaching ought to be spread around this delightful little educational community of ours sure beats the heck out of me.
But I’ll take it.
For one, I’ve been teaching Spanish for twelve years. Imagine, if you will, your daily communication limited to “Hello. How are you? I went to store. I bought milk. Milk is good.” For twelve years, the extent of my human interaction has been talking about food, clothes and colors in three-word sentences. Which is why, sometimes, by the time lunch rolls around I bolt to the faculty lounge spouting every multisylllabic word I can think of.
“Vindictive!” I shout, gleefully grabbing my brown paper bag. “Diaphanous! Ostracize, litigate, alacrity!”
In any other profession, folks would think I’m nuts, but my teacher buddies have always understood.
“Antidisestablishmentarianism!” They say as they pull out a chair for me to join them.
So yes, I will be happy to engage in daily conversations that delve deeper into life than the color of my socks.
There’s also the fact that I have the attention span of a flea. Not really sure how long that is, but since their entire life generally lasts only 30 – 90 days, I figure they probably feel the need to get a lot done in that short time period. Or maybe not. Maybe they just sit around merrily sucking the life out of whoever happens to be nearby (kind of like some of my students) and then happily croak when that big Flea Collar In the Sky comes for them. Who knows. The point is, however, that it is no small miracle that I have done the same thing day in, day out, for over a decade. That in itself speaks to the variety and the difficulty of mastery that teaching provides.
And yet, above and beyond everything else, I’m willing to leave the classroom because of my belief that I…how can I put this tactfully?
I don’t have a stick up my ass.
A toothpick, maybe. But definitely not a stick.
Despite all my obnoxious blustering, I do know good teaching. And I have no patience for lazy or incompetent teachers. (That’s the toothpick.) I also have no patience for bureaucratic paperwork, hoop jumping, and anal-retentive know-it-alls who are so interested in the word choice for objectives that they miss the fact that really, what’s going to make the most difference to a kid is if you get down on their level and speak their language.
Sometimes, that language is Justin Bieber lyrics.
Rarely, is it the exact format of a Madeline Hunter lesson plan.
So I believe I can do some good. Or at least do less harm than the boring-ass education professors I had who lectured the entire time for three hour classes about “good teaching.”
Buuuut…I’m going to need some help. Not being the the classroom means that I won’t have the same daily draw for entertaining interactions with students. I can’t take pictures of my kids’ most bizarre answers and sock them away for future use. I won’t be getting crazy-ass parent emails that insult me, make me want to quit, then go in my file labeled as “Jerks” to be brought out in passive aggressive revenge blogging four years later.
In other words, I need fodder.
I need all my lovely readers to train their brains to go “Oh! Singing Pigs would LOVE this!” Photos, emails, stories, quiz answers, gimme it all! Shoot me a quick email (email@example.com) anytime, all the time, and I will love you forever.
Or, at a minimum, just keep an eye on me. If I ever sound like I’m becoming one of Those People With A Stick Up Their Ass, let me know it in no uncertain terms. I will promptly renounce my coaching profession, get a Ph.d, and find a job teaching three-hour long ed classes by lecturing.
Or maybe I’ll actually try out the whole stripping thing.
In the meantime however, I’m assuming this little career change is going to work. I’m going to do my best to bring up the new teachers of the world the way God intended: with obnoxious bluntness, politically incorrect irreverence, and as much fun as I can beat into over-worked, under-paid, completely stressed-out rookies.
It’s time for round two of my teaching career: professional development Singing Pigs style.