...nine straight hours of grading--and barely making a dent in the pile(s)
...petty arguments with small-minded administrators hopped up on their own self-importance who insult my professionalism and reading comprehension (which, if I do say so myself, are impeccable!)
...fretting about the fact that a certain young man has someone at home writing his essays for him and still can't read, but knowing I can't help him because he won't be honest with me about his problems
...reading news articles about members of my school district's BOE acting inappropriately
...disappointing my students because there are too many of them and not enough of me to give them the kind of assistance I would like to offer
...realizing (after grading papers) how many of them just gave up this year (it looks like five or six... three of whom are theoretically "honors" students)
...feeling guilty every second I'm not grading papers
...working twice as many hours as contracted, completely uncompensated
...getting crap about every single little mistake in the yearbook
...not having enough time to properly look after my health (working out, eating right, etc.)
I will miss my students, my colleagues, my department chair, and my successes (with yearbook and teaching English--the kids never even know how much better they are at writing now than they were 9 months ago). I love teaching high school English, but the public school system makes it all but impossible for you to do it effectively without sacrificing some piece of yourself. We make movies about selfless, giving teachers whose marriages suffer or who lead lives of lonely desperation entirely centered around a bunch of hard-assed teens who grow to love them, but the truth about teaching is that you cannot base your ego and your identity in the hands of teenagers. It is not a healthy way to live.
I love Roosevelt. I love the people who teach there and the students who attend. I love Old Greenbelt--the last holdout of hippie-esque communist thinking in an increasingly commercial world. I love AP Lang. I love working on the yearbook. But I hate how much of myself I keep giving away to do this job that I love so much.
I suppose I'm hoping that teaching in Korea will help me to finally filter out what thoughts/ambitions/activities come from within and which come from the community in which I am so thoroughly entrenched at the moment. I want to know if I really want to pursue graduate studies or a romantic relationship or writing. I want to get to know the me that is and is not defined by my culture and my work and my relationships... It is important to know what questions to ask.