Saturday, June 25, 2005

One Day You're Here...
I had a job interview last Thursday. It’s for a teaching gig at one of these mini-schools, an international high school with less than 200 kids and maybe a dozen teachers. Every one I met seemed really cool and enthusiastic and like the kind of people I could actually get a beer with and maybe even to whom I could confess my love for Lil Weavah (shawty).

It’s all super progressive and interesting; English is taught through the different subjects, and the kids are from all over Latin America, Asia, and Africa. To qualify the kids just have to test at a beginning level of English and have been in the country less than four years, but obviously only kids with motivated, involved parents bother to try.

Discipline is not a problem. Resources, while not on a Prep school bounteous abundance level, are not scarce. They have computers, big classrooms, and tons of books. There are no overseers form the Region trying set anybody up to fall. Inter-departmental backstabbing is non-existent. Morale is high. This place is thriving, not dieing.

It’s pretty much the exact opposite of Shitty High, so why am I so conflicted about whether or not I want the job?

I promised my kids I’d be back. I couldn’t help it. It breaks my heart how every decent teacher these kids ever have breaks the fuck out as soon as the getting is good. And you’re crazy if you think the kids aren’t fully aware of that trend. I’d love to see (and help) some of these little bastards grow the fuck up and actually manage to graduate. There’s always more kids, I know, but I’d definitely miss my people.

Moreover, I’m getting more and more comfortable with Shitty. I know most of the kids, and even if I don’t exactly command their utmost respect, the vast majority like me and treat me a whole lot better than they do some other teachers. Now that I’m (sort of) done with grad.school I’ll have time in the afternoons to start that chess team, get in on some flag football action, maybe even get together a street-art club.

Plus I can get away with murder. Shitty is so big and disorganized and inefficient that as long a student doesn’t leave my room bleeding, no one’s really going to hold me accountable for anything. I may not officially be supposed to, but nobody bothers to notice if I teach lessons that have nothing to do with the curriculum. Hell, as long as I keep things relatively quiet, no one really cares if I teach anything at all.

Finally, there’s a part of me that feels like the kids at the “good school” have already made it. They’ve got parents who give a shit. If I don’t work there somebody just as (probably more) qualified and dedicated than I will. They’re going to learn no matter what. They’re fine. Not that I’m single-handedly turning things around up at Shitty, but with a lot of my kids, if I don’t teach them something, nobody else will either.

What to do?

I haven’t even been offered the job yet, and if I am there’s a strong possibility Shitty’s principal won’t release me (despite the fact that Shitty is “phasing out” and we’ll all have to go somewhere soon,) so this could all be irrelevant anyway.

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