One of the things that all adults learn as they age is that “life sucks and then you die.” Because this is of course perfectly true, by the time a person is as old as I am, they’ve come to accept life’s little insults with a certain fatalism, if not aplomb.
I am a perfect example of this. Years ago I was prone to rant and rave about the smallest of perceived insults and treat them as if they were crises worthy of violent social movements. Of course now I’m an extremely placid person and hardly anything at all bothers me very much.
Take for instance my latest discovery in the Faculty Lounge. (For those of you who’ve actually seen it please know that I’m not being ironic. That’s what it is actually called.) Ever since I started my lifetime sentence (no possibility of parole) here in the Cavern of Correctional Collaboration (is it weird that the same architects design schools and prisons?), there has been an ice machine in the Lounge. Sure, the water in our school tastes of interesting metalloid compounds and the ice in the machine is made with the same water, but somehow drinking our contaminated water cold makes it more bearable. Imagine my outrage (quickly followed by bemusement, resignation, and depression) to discover the ice machine had been taken.
Even though I have been given a mandate from my Assistant Fearless Leader In Charge Of Instruction to differentiate my instruction, I find that I still do quite a bit of talking during the school day and having ice water handy is a balm. (Not to mention receiving my daily recommended dose of Boron and Silicon)
Now, even this dubious perk to teaching in a public school has been taken from us. How bad have things gotten when teachers have long given up on pay increases, benefits packages that don’t appear to be punchlines, or even basic school supplies, and instead just hope that no one notices that there is still an ice machine in the “lounge” and takes it away? Perhaps I shouldn’t be so melodramatic; after all, there is still a soda machine in the “lounge” that will sell you cold tap water in a bottle for only a dollar! How lucky are we?!
One has to wonder what tomorrow’s new low will be. I can’t imagine that there is anything horrible left to happen. Will we be asked to tutor outside of normal school hours for free? (already happened) Perhaps we’ll be subjected to an hour-long harangue about how we’re not as skilled as we think we are based upon a comparison to other teachers in other schools by someone who’s never seen us teach? (also already happened) Maybe if we’re really lucky someone will remind us that the reason we got into teaching in the first place was in order to get laid off for 2 months a year so that we can invest our own money in required college classes and seminars.
Thank goodness I’ve matured and have outgrown ranting about such silly things! Can you even imagine?