Teaching was not my bag at all. I never understood why I felt so out of sorts, especially after I had achieved the first markers of "adulthood."
I moved out of the house. I moved into my own apartment. I had a job. I had the car. Yet that was all that I had. For a long time, I was not sure what it was that was so lacking. I was not happy.
I went to work every day for my first semester of full-time teaching. I was still going through teacher training (Beginning Teachers Support and Assessment, or "BTSA"). The seminars were held at California State University, Los Angeles, and I got lots of free stuff, including a bunch of books about how to manage your classroom, or how to help students let off steam after a bad day.
When I look back on all the seminars, I could not believe how much the district was paying these people to teach us what we were supposed to learn when we were earning our credentials.
Imagine all that waste. I think that teachers, so exasperated with how little they actually accomplish in their classrooms, keep attending these seminars just to give themselves a sense that they are "in control."
At work, I set up the rules in my classroom. I told the students what my expectations were, I outlined for them the work that they needed to do in order to get a good grade in the class.
I called parents, I cajoled students, I gave them detention when they did not do their work.
At one point, I had every member
The teacher does much of the work in many classes, so it seems. There I was, making do with all that I had. I wanted them to succeed, so that I could have a sense of success along with them. I have to admit: Like them, I just wanted to go home.
I was testing my resolve coming to class every day. I was not happy doing what I was doing.
I enrolled in a master's degree program after the semester to undo the monotony of the shuffle of "get up," "get to class," "get through the day," then "get home."
Even now, it's amazing when I look back on all the stuff that I survived. I made it, but barely, and even then I ended up walking off the job altogether.
Teaching was not my bag, and I nearly ended up in a bag. Still, I was so lost on the inside in those days, not sure what I wanted, and not sure how to figure out what I needed.
Those days are long gone, though. Today, I realize that I have and do all that I want to. I may not be making the money that I want to right now, but no longer do I have to suffer through the tortures of a damning career with demands that no one can meet.
So much remains out there, waiting to be found and received by me. I have no worries about it. Grace and truth really do make all the difference in this life, and I am glad to know the truth that sets me free and have the grace to live out the life that lives in me.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a writer and blogger. A lifelong resident of Southern California, he currently lives in Torrance.
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