Today I woke up before my alarm sounded to get ready to substitute teach. I am a teacher by trade, but I am not currently teaching. My husband is a teacher. He teaches everyday. We have three children in college. I have a Master’s degree. We are struggling just to keep our home.
Yet, I have taught in high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, colleges and universities, on-line and in the “real” classroom. I have taught in private schools and public schools, urban, suburban, and rural school districts. I have taught in all white school districts, all black school districts, and many multi-diverse school districts. I have enjoyed teaching in all these situations. My favorite place to teach is a diverse school district that wants me. I have even been Teacher of the Year.
Students are students in every district. I just want to be able to teach AGAIN. Which brings me to the question: Why aren’t I currently teaching? The answer is because:
Because I am too experienced. Because I have too many years teaching. Because I am a Social Studies teacher. Because I am Black. Because I am female. Because I am middle aged. Because I live in a predominantly white small city and not an African American city where there are more opportunities for black educated people. Because I will not do anything to jeopardize my beliefs, certification or standards. Because I am different.
None of this pays my house mortgage or my kids’ college tuition. My Doctor mother pounded in my head that if I went to college- I would be successful. Well, mom is long gone. Wish she were here to hug me. Tell me that things will get better. Time feels like it is running out and I am still asking myself, “What am I going to be when I grow up?
Are schools truly doing what is best for their students? No! Absolutely not when teachers like me cannot get a job anywhere. We are made to feel purposeless and useless. I am a great teacher. I do not want to work full-time, but I want to teach. So, I wake up in the morning and get ready to substitute for a teacher who most likely does not teach half as well as I do. If I substituted everyday, I could not make more than $12,000 dollars a year. Guess I should think honestly about letting the house go. Cannot live off of that.
Oh, I cannot get another job in the regular non-teaching world because I have too much education! This sucks!