Monday, December 17, 2012

I discouraged a teaching career and took heat on Facebook.

It's supposed to be a place where you can say what you feel. After all, it's your Facebook page, your opinion.
 In this case, it was the exact words of a conversation I had with my 14 year old the night before the tragic Connecticut shootings.

We were on the way home from a concert, and discussing different schools and studies. Some of her friends are home schooled and one does online classes instead of going to school every day. (this is high school and middle school) We discussed the idea of not having a social outlet if you  are not enrolled in a physical school, and she said she'd prefer year round school with more breaks, like they do in some states. But, that some kids aren't socially adept and the alternative teaching works well for them.
 This led to discussion about jobs for those sort of people, what is fitting, and what does she want to do in life?

 (Some of this discussion was based on the fact that we are house shopping, which means a school change. Her current school is not in the top of the rankings, but, like anything else, if you search long enough you can find a statistic/ranking/placement/opinion that will ease your mind about sending your kid there.)

After a few jokes about all of the occupations she once thought were ideal, she said, "I might want to be an elementary school teacher."
This was the first I'd heard of it. This, coming from a girl who slams her brand new teacher at school for being such a bad teacher-- which, hey, is probably why she is thinking that could be HER career, because she is seeing daily, how NOT to do it, and thinking about how to do it better... which makes me think, if she was sick, misdiagnosed and stuck in the hospital- like last year- would she be thinking about becoming a doctor?
 ( You KNOW that's how it happens. Joe watches his mother die of cancer. Joe grows up to become a cancer researcher. Sally's neighbor friend dies in a house fire. Sally grows up to be a firefighter. And so on.)

We continue discussing all the things she is good at, enjoys doing, and I wonder if there is a test she can take to show her potential jobs, not the crappy one they took at school that told most kids to be police officers or custodians.

I remind her how good she is at problem solving, at counseling others, at mediating. ( This is one of the reasons she joined a law group. this girl can negotiate ANYTHING.)
 When she mentions teaching again, I tell her she should speak to some teachers. That my friends that are teachers complain every day about the lack of decent, permanent jobs, about the long hours of their personal days and weekends that they give back to the school, how the respect level has dropped- from students, to co-workers, to administration, how expensive it is to earn degrees, how most of them need to hold two jobs to pay mortgages and provide for their families. I said schools are dangerous places- with gangs, drugs, bullies, weapons and and before I could continue to explain my thought, she stopped me saying, "Mom, not in elementary school!"

16 hours later, that was no longer true.

THE HISTORY: The Newtown massacre is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history and one of the deadliest mass shootings around the world. A gunman at Virginia Tech University killed 33, including himself, in 2007. Only Virginia Tech and the mass killings of 77 in Norway last year had greater death tolls across the world over the past 20 years.
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