I am one of those truly lucky people who actually loves her job. I rarely don’t feel like going to work, and if I ever don’t want to go it’s because I’m on the verge of vomiting or someone close to me has already vomited and I’m in the enviable position of being the person who has to clean it up. I have often come to work when we’re actually closed, just to do some extra work, including one time I just forgot what day it was and showed up.
And now for the big reveal: I’m a teacher. Right off the bat you’re thinking I’m either the most dedicated teacher in the country or the one taking the most prescription pills. Neither. I just have the good fortune to work in a school that has a really awesome impact-the-future to bullshit ratio.
All of my students are currently being held against their will—like any public school student ISN’T, for that matter—in our detention facility. Not a single one of them wants to be there. Most of them are angry about their situations, some of them are confused, and still others are just numb to the whole thing. And yet, they are a joy to work with because I don’t have to put up with any of the crap that teachers in public schools tolerate on a daily basis.
First of all, we’re armed. That little black holster on my hip goes a long way towards making a kid desperate to know how Romeo and Juliet turns out. It also helps him remember to raise his hand before calling out, to go to the bathroom before class started, and to bring his homework with him on the day it’s due. The physical combat training I have to certify off on twice a year doesn’t hurt either. Well, it hurts a little, but you know what I meant.
All teachers should have it this good. My classes are separated by gender, by age, by physical size, and by ability, all things that make our program work but that you can’t get by with in the real world because you are somehow discriminating against a child by not making him sit next to a student who’s got three years and a hundred pounds on him. And you’re a bad person if you make a student believe he can’t read. The fact that the computerized test he was taking to determine his reading ability shut down in frustration during his test would be an indicator that he can’t read, but to put him in a class with other kids who can’t read is hurtful. It’s far better to put him in a class with kids of all ability levels so that he never learns to read.
It’s sad that I had to go to the correctional system to find an opportunity to genuinely teach students, but the job does have a powerful upside: every morning when I wake up for work and I look in the mirror I have to decide whether or not I am just too freakin’ hot for my own good. I do have to make myself aware of any inappropriateness from my students, and a number of them are registered sex offenders, so it’s important that I’m not too gorgeous for my own good. There has been many a day where I’ve taken that one last look in the mirror and decided, “Nope, I’m gonna have to dog-it-down some,” and have been forced to leave off my makeup, throw my hair in a pony tail, and change into sweatpants. It does wonders for the self-esteem. The fact that a woman my age is doing great if she can pull off “kinda cute” on a daily basis means I’m either working with the wrong crowd or the luckiest woman alive. Sadly, the rest of the world isn’t looking at me through incarcerated-colored glasses so I’m probably just deluding myself about my innate beauty, but don’t take this from me.