by a BAT Veteran Teacher
I am a band director, and I am not a Superhero.
These are the expectations of me, delineated by the demographic that holds these expectations:
- The average citizen in our community:
- The education and/or arts savvy citizens of our community:
- The parents of my students:
- My students:
I appreciate every single one of these demands, whether it be for my professional musical expertise, my worldly experience and suggestions on “real life” or for advice from that person who won't hold back.
I do these things as a teacher. I don't do these things as a Superhero. I am "Veteran Teacher"; I am not Captain America.
But that's not all that's expected of me. I have other demands to meet:
- Various administrators over the years:
- Elected officials:
Those are some Herculean requests. I'm only "Veteran Teacher". I'm not Captain America. I can't do all those things. I just can't. I'm a human being, who desperately wants to start a family, but can't right now because I get paid for 1,440 hours of work a year, but put in 2,660. I'm a person who gets sick, but can't see the doctor (for bronchitis and pneumonia) until 19 days into it because there aren't enough subs to handle the two classes he's teaching at the same time combined. I'm no Superhero. I'm a human being who gets to school before the sun rises and leaves after the sun sets, who creates the music the band plays on the field, the drill they march, the arrangements the jazz band plays, the exercises they rehearse in class, the competitive shows they take to contests, and occasionally gets to show a kid how to survive and flourish in the real world.
I am not Captain America.
So, I am going to do the un-Superhero thing. I am not going to save the crashing plane, and I am not going to save the crashing bus, and I am not going to save the failed educational policy, and I am not going to save every teacher who is begging for support but is tossed aside because they don't earn a fat enough check for the schools once the great testing machine determines their kids aren't poor or aren't hungry, aren't under supported, aren't under-provided for with textbooks and instruments and pencils and hand sanitizer, aren't from differing neighborhoods for the first eleven years of their lives then thrust together with no teaching of cultural competency and a fear to discuss cultural competency because you can get non-renewed for nothing around here let alone trying to teach anything about the real damn world to the people who need to know about it the most: no our tests just say your kids are failing, but only after everyone takes the test and we determine what failing is AFTER the results are in and not when we create the test. Nope, I am not saving that stuff.
I am not Captain America.
I am going to take care of myself for the first time in a long time. I am leaving a toxic environment, without a plan for what happens after. I am going to start a family. I am going to get healthy for the first time in a decade, maybe, by having enough time to eat more than once every nine hours and to sleep more than four or five hours. I'm going to go to a doctor regularly instead of once a year when we get a school holiday.
I am going to stop being a teacher for you, the good ones and the bad ones. I'm sorry, but I have to step away.
But here's the BIG problem for the vultures and sycophants to the leeches that want to turn MY kids into cash-flow, their human development and well-being be damned: I am "Veteran Teacher".
I am "Veteran Teacher", and I am NOT Captain America. I am "Veteran Teacher", and I'm going to have more time to see you face to face and make you look me in the eye and explain yourself. I am "Veteran Teacher", and I'm going to drag every pestilent agenda and policy you concoct in the dark out into the light and bring the wrath of every momma bear down upon thee. I am "Veteran Teacher" and I am going to speak up for kids and parents with my marching band voice and I will drown you out.
I am "Veteran F%#!$/@ Teacher" and I am pissed.