I must admit, the PLP is feeling a bit down. A little blue. A little like the dregs at the bottom of my coffee cup. So small and brown and sad. It could be the astounding amount of cheese dip I consumed while watching the Super Bowl, or the weather in Seattle which, for the first time in six years, is finally plunging me headlong into utter despair. There’s a great line from a Patty Griffin song that goes like this: “I need a little place in the sun sometimes or I think I will die.” Yes.
I have to decide, like SOON, whether or not I am returning to teaching. So I am going to start today with a rather blunt statement: If taxpayers could find it within themselves to value education and therefore pay me a competitive wage, I would return to teaching with open arms. This does not make me a bad person (not for this reason anyway). In the NYT this Sunday, the infamous Michelle Rhee, whom I admire not for her ideas necessarily but for her drive to change things, said, “Teachers have integrity. And if money was the motivating factor, they wouldn’t be in education” (Click here for the whole thing).
Um, okay. I get this is meant to be a compliment, but truly, how dare anyone intimate that integrity will pay my bills? That teachers are morally above earning money for a job well done? Logic has never been my strong suit, which is how I can say I am seriously considering returning. What is it about teaching that draws so many thousands of quite talented people to an arguably dead end job? It can’t be simply the summer holidays (though that is significant, I admit.) The negatives are obvious, such as low wages, an inflexible schedule, high levels of stress, an overly emotional and changeable clientele, and a lack of respect on a nationwide level. But positives might outweigh all of these things: Spending the day with colleagues who argue about themes in Heart of Darkness over microwaved Amy’s meals; teenagers, whose energy and optimism are catching; reading and analyzing books all day; never, ever, ever being bored. What do you think, darling readers? Should I return?
This week, I met up with Progressive Majority WA director Noel Frame, who I previously mentioned was a candidate for the state legislature in my own 36th district. It still amazes me that knowledgeable people are willing to sit down with me and educate me on the political system for free. Just because they care. How awesome is that? People like Noel motivate me to carry on when my ignorance about politics threatens to shove me back to my past state of apathy.
She has also helped me to shape my goal for the week, which is to tune into www.tvw.org – basically a way to keep abreast of what is happening in Olympia from the coziness of your living room sofa. I plan on tuning into the 15 minute Legislative Review, shown Monday through Thursday online. I’m particularly interested today to hear the outcome of SB 1457, regarding family and medical leave and SJM 8002, about campaign financing. Check it out tonight with me!