Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why Do I Do This!?

First, let me complain.

I just read the comment on our last post.  "It took all of 10 mins for our meetings to suck the joy of being back right out of me."  I know what you mean.  My co-author told me about having his e-mail password expire this summer.  After talking to several different people at different locations, he finally resolved the problem.  We concluded that it would be nice if just once in our profession we could make a request and get the response, "o.k., I'll take care of that" instead of having to go through a chain of people to finally get connected to the right people.

In four days of being back to work, we've had meetings consume the morning of all of them.  Both of us have been asking for new (or just new to us) furniture for the last three years.  Especially Lindsay after finding mold growing on his old ones after last summer.  We found someone who knew someone that let us go to county storage to look, so hopefully we might get a set of matching "like-new" desks in our classroom.  Now we've got to figure out how to get chairs. 

I decided that as someone near forty years old with a master's degree, a bright blue desk chair with foam padding falling out of the back was a little less than professional, so I broke down and dropped $100 for a real desk chair since I didn't see one coming in the near future.  Apparently the thirty-year old "wardrobe" in my room is too large and heavy to move, so I guess it will stay another thirty years.  To liven things up a little, I went out and bought some decorations for the walls.  As I started to hang one of them, I thought of the "lipstick on a pig" quip from several years back.  So I spent the better part of the afternoon painting.  I'm afraid the nicely painted spot above my door just highlights the chipping and dulled paint on the rest of the door.

It doesn't seem like teachers are valued for doing solid work.  Unless you're doing something newsworthy, innovative, or unique, you're just kind of ignored.  So I was feeling a little down.

So, second, whatever the opposite of complain is...

C-Ville Weekly
I had a chance to write a piece for a local newsweekly called the C-Ville Weekly.  They ran it this week, and as I re-read it, I noticed that none of the stuff I complained about above.  I wrote it over the summer, and it reflects what I truly think of teaching, not the day-to-day frustrations that I'm facing in the right now. 

A former student read it and sent me a message with these words: "I learned today that there is much more emotion to a teacher than what the students see- and that's very nice to know." 

Unrelated to the article, another former student contacted me tonight and offered these words: "I just wanted to take a second and say thank you for introducing me to psychology. I love what I do and I wouldn't change it for the world. Keep up the great work, teachers like you make a difference."

Forget the first four paragraphs.  I'll teach in a moldy, humid, poorly furnished basement for the next twenty-years on the energy provided by an affirmation like that.  Come on 2012-2013, bring us the best you've got.


  1. Teaching just to the north of you, here.

    I don't think we've had a day yet this week where we haven't had some sort of meeting or convocation or training. NINETY minutes for an insurance meeting? Another training session for a gadget I haven't used and probably never will? Someone help me.

    But I agree with you here -- what's at the end of your post really makes up for all of the mind-numbing administrata we've had to endure.

    Best of luck!

  2. Tom,

    Good luck; I assume that if your students haven't started they will be soon. That always makes it so much better.