Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just got hosed again by one of my day jobs...

...and I really am not sure what to do.

I wish Americans supported the worker instead of the corporation, and I wish I could make a living doing not just what I love to do (teach), but what also requires a strong investment of my own time and money to even be qualified to do (six years of education in a field like mathematics isn't something anybody can do, but you'd think so with how they pay us—hell, six years of education in any field isn't something anybody can do).

Are only rich people and famished people supposed to teach? If so, I'm sick of being the latter, although it's doing wonders for my figure.

Make that two of my day jobs. Curiosity doesn't kill cats, it just makes you confront reality faster. WTF.

I've read elsewhere online how being an adjunct faculty member is like being in an abusive relationship where you're made to feel worthless and that any scraps you are given you treasure because you know how little you deserve.

If I'm still a teacher by January it won't be for a lack of trying. I need to be able to make a living and I can't tolerate abuse of this magnitude just to do something that I love. I am sorry to my would-be future students of who I may have changed how you feel about math and education in general, I'll put all of my energy and knowledge into my math books so maybe you can get the experience of me there. But I can't keep teaching past this semester.

How does this happen?

I love teaching. I think of myself as a teacher and I have ever since my first year volunteering (2004) when I was given a teacher's gift basket by the students with the rest of the teachers at CHS. I love being there to watch the light bulb moment—that euphoria a student gets when they realize what's going on and that they actually understand it. I love making those moments happen. I love the performance of lecturing and adopting the role of a mad professor so students are involved and not falling asleep (OK, so maybe I am actually crazy, but there's some level of performance involved). I love watching a student go from hating and fearing math to realizing that it's really not that bad if they put their back into it and becoming an A student who has completely overcome their math anxiety. And I love showing people that mathematics is not an arbitrary set of rules handed down from on high, but rather is the language of the universe—the tool mankind uses to understand the universe—and is not just the language of the universe but the universal language, discovered more than it is designed: a universal truth. I love math and I love teaching and making a difference. And I'm not fooled into thinking that I make a difference in every student's life, but the fact that I make a difference in any student's life is worth something I would think.

How does this happen?

If you follow me elsewhere, you may have heard that I am now certified to teach middle school and high school in Ohio (in fact, my certification is K-12, although I can't imagine teaching less than 5th graders), but apparently (and maybe I'm speaking prematurely but most schools start here in the next 2-3 weeks) no school wants a college teacher with as much experience and education as me for a "beginning" teacher. No matter where I go I either have too much education or not enough. And getting the certification wasn't exactly easy or cheap either.

How does this happen?

In six years of teaching at YSU with hundreds of student recommendations, there were so many anonymous people saying that I changed the way they think about math, that I'm the best teacher they've ever had or maybe just the best math teacher they've ever had or that they were going to drop out or transfer at the beginning of the semester until they had me and had to stay just for my class and in all those hundreds of reviews, I've had about 5 bad reviews. Those 5 bad reviews (OK, so there were only 3, but I'm rounding up because I haven't read last year's yet) hurt in spite of having dozens of good reviews alongside them at the time. None of it matters though.

How does this happen?

Maybe I'm too poleaxed to be thinking clearly and this post is a gut reaction that I will regret and take down later. I don't know. It was only supposed to be the first three paragraphs, but that was back when I still thought I'd be able to make it as a teacher and was just upset over having more than twice as much work for the same amount of money. I can always work more after all, so it was more annoyance then than fear and despair. When school is in session I usually only work 80-120 hours a week (sometimes as little as 60 if it's a slow week or between sessions at one of the jobs), so adding an extra 20-40 hours to that isn't such a big stretch. But going from 80-120 hours to 35-80 hours isn't exactly something I can handle because of the pay cut associated with such a drastic decrease in hours.

What is going on? How does this happen? The fact of the matter is that I can't teach anymore and I shouldn't have clung to what I thought was an opportunity to continue doing what I love and I should have kept trying to find other work before today. But now it is today, so I need to find other work for starting mid-December.

And for the record: my writing gives a little boost every month, but it's nowhere near enough to live on or even to consider trying full-time at this point. So that's not an option either.