The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

A Long, Strange Trip pt. 3

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I turn 40 in 8 days, and like many of my peers, I’ve begun to take life more seriously.

I have trouble taking a lot of things seriously to begin with, so this is a major step for me.  I don’t take a lot of things seriously to begin with because all too often it’s not worth it.  Taking too many thing too seriously creates too much stress.  It also creates too much emotional attachment or investment to things.  I’d rather invest that emotional energy into my friendships, family relationships, intimate relationships, my job, and writing, all of which have returned great dividends to my emotional attachment.

One thing I have done is to take my physical condition seriously.  I was forced into this a bit after an Achilles tendon injury a few years back.  But there was something else…  I didn’t like my size.  I felt fat, and at 222 lbs. on New Year’s Eve this year, I was fat.  I had put on 25 lbs. in eight years.  I felt sluggish many days, and didn’t like how I looked even in the dress clothes I wore to work.

I had told myself for some time that I was going to lose weight, at least get down to 210, which seemed reasonable to me.  But I was always putting it off until summer.  I would have more time then.  I would be exercising more.  I would focus on weight loss and be determined.

But it never worked that way.  Instead, I ate with impunity, drank my share of rum, and kept altering my workout schedule.  Then something clicked, pretty much when the clock struck midnight to start the new decade, the decade that would see me reach 40.

*

So I hated my high school; in fact, I resented a number of adults in the building.  I was the embodiment of disaffected youth, me and about 10 million other teenagers in 1988 who considered ourselves The Breakfast Club generation.  But perhaps my malaise is particularly virulent since I still feel it (sometimes strongly) 22 years later.  Perhaps.  But there is something else, a silver lining of sorts.  Because I was underprepared and underserved at my high school is one of the reasons I became a teacher.  I felt by my sophomore year in college that on the whole I could teach others better than I was taught.  I was strongly motivated to do so.  Still am.

I also know that one reason why I remain disaffected or resentful of my high school is because I’m in a high school every day and I have constant reminders of where my school went wrong and where my teachers were deficient.  I would say by and large that the teachers I had were apathetic.  Those Masters degrees I spoke of in the last episode were most likely in general education or administration, neither of which does much for a teacher’s content area.  I’ve seen the same problem throughout my career:  tons of budding administrators with M.Ed.s that came with a Type 75 (Illinois’ designation that a teacher has studied and fulfilled the requirements to be a dean or principal or superintendent), but their studies didn’t do too much for their abilities in the classroom.  Too many of the drive-through programs don’t even require a research class, and the teacher is no better off with their advanced degree, except for the boost in salary.

But I’m surrounded in my office by professionals who care not only about students, but about becoming better teachers.  There is pressure to do better, to do more, and to push each other.  Those who are unwilling don’t command very much respect (I purposely say “unwilling,” and not “unable,” because we’re all able to become outstanding teachers in the same way we say that all students are able to learn and succeed).  Respect from my professional peers is important, so I gladly embrace and engage in the environment.  I wonder if the teachers in my high school had something so meaningful at their disposal, or if they had the ability or motivation to create it.

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Written by seeker70

June 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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