please don’t add me to the axis

With a brother in the Army, I think sometimes about those guys. I got curious about how much the government pays its dogs of war, and come to find out that’s all public information. You can find out what any military employee makes as long as you know their rank and years of service. Turns out that the low-man on the totem pole doesn’t make that much. This page says an E3 with less than two years time only grosses about $1500/mo, with a variable housing allowance depending on where you’re stationed. Of course, if you’re fighting overseas or away from family you get a little more for hazard and hardship – but I bet it’s still slim. I figure the majority of the “soldiers” actually stalking around the desert and shooting people would be Ex ranks. Only the brass make the bucks it seems. While it’s not my job of choice, I’m damn glad there are people willing to do it. Just like I’m glad there are people that want to fix cars for a living, or teach mentally handicapped kids or unplug toilets. All things I could not, or would rather not, do – but all necessary. Army – I’m not trying to compare you auto mechanics or the mentally handicapped, just using a bit o’ parallelism to make a point. Please don’t add me to the Axis of Evil.

Sharaun’s been so stressed lately with her class. It’s apparently school-wide knowledge that she’s got the absolute worst bunch of kids. She said she’ll take her kids to another room for Spanish or computers, and when she comes to pick them up the resource teacher just hugs her and whispers, “You’ve only got three more months.” A couple of her bad apples are constantly getting suspended, and not just for cutesy elementary school things. They’ve got fistfights, sexual harassment, public urination, grand theft, and a laundry list of other offenses.

She’s got good kids, but I can see how it would only take a few kids to make the whole situation a complete nightmare. What’s worse is the parents who actually complain when their kids are sent to the principal. It’s never the child’s fault. It’s either racism, singling out or harassing a child for no reason, or not giving them enough focused instruction. Anyone’s fault but the kids, or God forbid – the parents. In the same day, parents will come to the school to bitch at the administrators for “depriving” their child of classroom time by sending them to the principal for peeing on the playground, and won’t show up for meeting scheduled months in advance to discuss that child’s possible learning disability and behavioral problems.

Being a teacher must be extremely hard. I would imagine that in some ways it might be like being a nurse or doctor, where you have to learn to not take things personally. In those kind of jobs, you’re the catalyst that defines another person’s outcome. Nurses and doctors are in the driver’s seat with peoples’ health and lives, and teachers are responsible for the academic development of young minds. I realize that neither the nurse, doctor, nor teacher is really 100% accountable for the outcomes of others – but that must be a hard thing to keep in mind when you’re actually working those jobs. At least, I know Sharaun has a hard time with it. No matter how much you try, it must be hard to not question yourself when your class performs poorly on something.

These last few weeks for her have been hard, with open house, report cards, and her formal evaluation – all in the same week. A formal evaluation is when the principal comes in and watches you do a lesson plan with the kids. They take notes on all sorts of criteria and schedule a review meeting a few days later to discuss the results. I’m writing this, these past three paragraphs, and I’m realizing I really only wanted to say one thing: Sharaun’s review meeting for her evaluation went great. For the third quarter in a row, the administration had nothing in the way of negative feedback for her. Her review lasted a mere 10min compared to others which lasted over an hour. She gets nothing but positive feedback, which is like a shot in the arm to her. I love to see it when she’s been reinforced like that, her whole perspective changes a little and you can tell that some of that “burden of accountability” for her dumbass kids is lifted.

I’m glad I’m not a teacher. I’d have a hard time not simply discounting (or throttling) the flotsam and jetsam kids of the educational ocean. Props to teachers. And car mechanics and soldiers and plumbers. Thanks.

I dunno guys, I think that’s enough for today. Dave out.

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