Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Real Educators of New York

Another semester at CUNY coming to a close. Tomorrow I collect 40 essays that will each be at least 20 pages. The entire semester revolved around mastering MLA style for in text citations, formatting, works cited and of course the writing and research. My students never believe they can write a 20 page paper. They tell me as much, in the beginning of the semester. They say, "Miss, no way." And yet they do. A few drop out along the way, but for the most part, I take them through the entire process, step by step--- they are always surprised and pleased. And usually I feel a great sense of accomplishment as well.

But not so much this year. I may be burnt out. This is hard work and while my hourly is very high, almost $100.00, CUNY places all kinds of restrictions on the amount of hours I am allowed each semester. If another section of composition is needed, and thus another instructor, instead of being able to hire someone like myself, they hire someone new. Because I can't have more than nine hours a week. Because God forbid I should be able to make a living. I've kept at it, quite frankly, b/c my rent used to be so low, but also for the more intangible yet significant reward of changing a student's life. This is what they tell me, all the time, "Miss, I did it. Thank you. You totally changed my life."

I set the bar high for them. And they reach it. This is what good teachers do, they teach the content of the class, but if they care, they empower the students as well. But if I can't make a living wage, and thus far, this is true, and in the midst of this downturn--- my creditors don't care that I am engaged in a philanthropic as well as altruistic career. My VISA card doesn't care. The IRS doesn't care. My student loans don't care. So what does this leave me with? Quite frankly, a very strong desire, to get the hell out of there. Which is a shame. Because I am good at what I do. I change people's lives. So when I collect these essays tomorrow, after a year of struggling financially, and still doing my job, I just want to go home and watch The Real Housewives of New York. Then, I will continue my pursuit of a job--- not in education.

And if they're any philanthropically inclined people out there, reading this---

I need a vacation. Desperately.

Any contributions to this teacher's vacation fund would be greatly appreciated.

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