Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It has been incredibly hot and sticky here this week. When I got to school at 7 this morning, the thermometer in my classroom read 82 degrees, despite the fact I left my window open all night with a fan pulling cooler air inside.
Trying to teach when it is this warm and muggy is virtually impossible. The kids are like limp stinky dishclothes, sitting there, emitting nothing more than a musty smell. They cannot be bothered to even pretend to be engaged in whatever we are doing.
I will admit I am not much better. Even the heat from the projector or my laptop seem unbearable. I just want to melt into a puddle and be done with it all.
I remember growing up in Mississippi in the 60's and 7o's. Temperatures like this were the norm in the fall and spring. Classrooms were never air conditioned, until I was in high school at least. We sat in our chairs, in puddle of sweat, and roasted. When air conditioning was finally welcomed at our school with the addition of the new wing my freshman year, it was almost worse to be in those rooms, knowing you would have to leave the cool crisp air to go back into the humidity and heat. I often wonder how teachers drew the lucky straw to have classrooms in that wing, with the comforts not only of new rooms, but the air conditioning.
Are kids today not as tough as we were? Did we just have lower expectations? Did we endure it just because it was the way it was? My students whine and complain and groan and moan, almost as if they don't think *I* realize how hot it is! Like I am not sweating along side them. I would have never dared whine about the heat to a teacher. I just sat there, in my puddle of sweat, filling out endless columns of multiplication problems, copying spelling words over and over, reading boring history texts, never daring to imply my discomfort was of their causing.
I think the attitudes of my students are indicative of a larger issue entirely: the degradation of respect for teachers and the sublimal message that students should be able to "run the show", expecting US to fix everything for them, make it all right, make them comfortable at all cost. We're creating a generation who expect everyone around them to bend over backwards to make their world perfect, without teaching them to create their own solutions. Teachers are often viewed, by parents and teachers, as just another part of the structure of the school itself, without consideration for our own-ness. We are expected to be available to parents and students at their beck and call. We are supposed to find ways, above and beyond the call of duty, to MAKE sure every child succeeds. Society demands we forget our own lives at the expense of our students, financially, academically and emotionally.
I wonder if all those legislators in Lansing and Washington right now are sweating. Oh, wait.. their offices are air conditioned!! As they sit in the comfort of their cushy chair, in their air conditioned office, slashing programs and funding, here I sit, in my classroom, as the temperature creeps closer and closer to the 90 degree mark, trying to figure out why I went into education, knowing my pay will be docked 3% next year, my supply allowance will dwindle to $100, and most likely, I will be paying 20% of my insurance premiums. I will have another class to prep for. I will have more students on my load. Somehow, running for office seems like the way to go.

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