Yesterday I posted about Twilight and it felt good. It felt good to write again. To analyze something and think of things and spew them out. It felt good to do some research– Stephenie Meyers' website and Google. And that's where the stupid gears started winding again.
You see, what I wanted to know was what educators were saying about Meyers' books. I mean, these things are insanely popular with young women which is probably the single most troubled group in America right now. My goddaughter is in this age group and I swear I am so concerned for her. Young girls today have it really bad so I thought it'd be intersting to get adult perspectives on these books. Now, I think of myself as a pretty good Googler, but maybe I was just off. I couldn't find anything critical. I couldn't find anything professional. There are college courses dedicated to Harry Potter and I couldn't find one "thinking" piece on Meyers' books. That worries me. How are the most popular books in American culture right now under the radar? I really hope I'm wrong on this and that it really is due to some horrid Googling, but usually I can find SOMETHING.
Anyways, on to the meat of the matter. I got insanely frustrated. Irritated thoughts were flying around my head. "This is what is wrong with America today!" "Where are the parents?" "People just don't care about the youth anymore!" "There are not enough people who actually care around the kids anymore" and on and on and on. I mean I got really UGH about the whole thing. And funny enough, this is the second time I have one of these tantrums about the youth today in about two weeks. My other tantrum had to do with civic education. I believe students do not really grasp the government's complex processes. Nor do I think they care. How many young adults know who their mayor is? Governor? Senators? Representatives? How many of them know who the Vice President is? House Majority and Minority? Secretary of Defense? Supreme Court Justices? How many of them know what those things even mean and what their responsibilities are? How they get chosen? How many of us adults know for that matter? I remember the one and only time we learned how to contact someone in government. It was in the third grade. Us nine year olds had to find out who Florida's Senators were, choose one, and write him a letter. There must have been a topic too but I don't remember what it is. I remember the assignment. And I remember receiving a response too. But that was it. It didn't come up again in Middle School and definitely not in High School. We had to memorize the Declaration of Independence but did we really understand it? Did we know how it was being interpreted in cases the Supreme Court was reviewing at the time? No. Why is it that in other developed and developing countries, it's the universities that are the source of challenge to the powers that be ut in this country we create lists about party schools?
So all of these thoughts whirl around education. Maybe once upon a time, schools had to worry about basics alone. Mom was at home all day to help you with the extras. Dad was home before 5:30. People read newspapers and newspapers weren't influenced by money. Once. Upon. A. Time. One of the biggest reasons that our founding fathers went with the idea of the Electoral College as the decision maker for President of the United States was because they felt the public was grossly uneducated and uninformed. We cry out now that today is different and the Electoral College needs to be reformed or eliminated, but are we really a more educated people? I don't think so, and what's worse is I think we're making a disaster of educating the future.
I have always considered going into teaching. Always. I even studied Education in college and it was while taking the required Public Speaking course that I met my husband. But it was while studying Education that I gave up. What I wanted to teach was English and those jobs were very hard to come by. In addition to that, Miami Dade Public Schools are a complete nightmare. Florida is one of the worst, if not the worst, states in education. And they just slashed the education budget some more. They brought Rudy Crew, a reknowned educator, in as superintendent in Miami Dade and if you ask me, his job is probably going to be up for grabs again pretty soon because he's acting crazy. That seems to be routine for anyone with the right heart and mind that touches Dade County Public Schools– they go nuts.
So what, if anything, has changed? Well apparently things are so bad that English teachers in middle and high schools are now considered Critical Shortages. I really enjoy my current job. I basically run a large office on the administrative end and I support two very intelligent managers. My probelm is not my current job, it is my future job. I can't see it. I have been in this job for about a year and a half and it seems that as far as the local office is concerned, I'm in the top position for a woman not in sales. The top positions– Sales, Service, Branch, and District Managers are all occupied by men. The field I am in is highly technical and industrial. It is a man's world simply put. And the only paths to any of those positions is either through the Sales side which I believe I'd be awful at, or through the Service side which I simply can't do as a mother of three. I am not going to be galavanting around construction sites with heavy tools and putting my life in danger fixing complex machinery thank you very much. So how do I fit in? Where do I grow? Both of my managers have a lot of faith in me and my abilities which I appreciate more than anything you can imagine and they want me to do well in the company and go far but I don't think any of us can really see how to get me there. Corporate offices are in Atlanta and Tampa. And here is the thing, I don't want to be someone's assistant when I retire. The highest level of assistants just don't get the respect that they deserve. Did you SEE Iron Man and how that stupid reporter talked to Pepper? I wanted to punch her face in but Pepper handled it nicely enough. So what else is there for me? Human Resources has been brought up and while I simply love the nice ideal side to HR, there is a really ugly half to it that I have caught glimpses of and, well, no thank you. It has to do with the whole reason I refuse to study law even though I know I'd be damn good at it– I have a conscience that I can't ignore. And a lawyer's job is to always be right even when you might not be. It's kind of the same in HR and that bugs the shit out of me.
So teaching is there again for me. I have my degree in English so teaching High School wouldn't be a problem and I could get my master's and go into teaching college-level. The money is a problem. Even though starting I'd be making the same as I am now, with a LOT more time off to be with my kids, the raises are pathetic. They are half a percent a year. You read that right. And they are not based on performance so I could bust my ass off and get paid the same as the schmuck next door who doesn't give a hoot. But there's growth in the Public School system. I could eventually get out of the classrooms into the administrative side if I wanted to.
What it comes down to is this: I love my job and my bosses. I am entertained and busy at work and I get paid well and am taken care of. I'm not going anywhere. But. I refuse to stagnate. There are three women in that office who worry me. One has been there almost 30 years, the other just had her 20th anniversary, and the third is close to the 20th. Not one is any major position with power. One of them doesn't care, the other is too jaded to want it, and the third would love it I'm sure but she is completely powerless with her boss and it's not going to change. Ever. And the thing is, she has to be ok with it because there is nowhere to go. Unfortunately where I am there is no glass ceiling, it's your regular ceiling. That worries me. So I'm happy to know that I'm ok with an alternative. And that alternative, I've decided, will be education. I am not going to drag myself around town to meet with one boss and another to interview to be their assistant when I am done with this job. I'm going to haul my ass down to apply at Dade County Public Schools. Right now, I don't know when I'll be finished. It might be next year or the year after that. Maybe it'll be when I return to the office from Maternity Leave. There are changes going on while I'm out and there are changes brewing for the future and I am not sure how I will fit into these pictures. They put the temp who I'd hired to cover me into a position that emptied immediately after I went on leave. They hired a permanent employee to cover my position. I don't know what it means, if it means anything at all. My bosses seem eager to have me back, but what if that all changes? What if, when I return, things aren't meshing right?
Argh my head aches. Anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow? A magic eye?