Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I am up early to grade papers for the third day in a row. I am making (theoretically) ok money for the summer, but if you’ve ever worked an academic job then you know that the pay dates are off – if you start teaching in August you don’t get paid until September. So my first check for the summer session arrived two weeks ago and it promptly evaporated in a summer sizzle of rent and past due car insurance. My second check comes this week and hopefully more of my monetary minions will survive their fall from grace. Is it better to rule in Karl’s meager bank account or to serve in the vast, oceanic swells of corporate finance?

If I’m generous in my time calculations I can argue that I am making ten dollars an hour, a far cry from that hundred dollars an hour some of the lawyer boys are billing at. It easy to understand why most teachers leave the profession after three years, you have to love it as the other factors don’t add up – at the same time, the willingness of some people to make sacrifices and teach beneath their earning potential has to be a factor in how salaries are determined.

I’m in the disappointment phase of my teaching semester, can you tell? It starts when a significant percentage of the kid’s academic performance just falls apart. They got grade reports two weeks ago and most of them were getting good grades so they think they can slack off. A grades turn to Fs in a hurry when you factor in a few zeros for in-class activities. I think one of the reasons that my initial class sizes were so large is that the powers that be know that a great winnowing will occur.

I wonder what my students will be like in H. this fall. I know the college prep classes will be good, but I wonder about the social climate of the school. I’m used to the no-holds-bared topic freedom at the college level and that is simply not ok in most rural American high schools. I suppose that’s enough procrastination – I need to go spend the next eight hours reading half hearted prose.


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