I like to complain. I see it as my essential right to sally forth on all manner of things that displease me. I hoover up the mood like a shiny new Dyson and burp out further diatribes when I’m full. In fact, come to think about it, this blog is basically me having a rant to more people who would ever be able to stomach my miserableness in person. So thanks for that.
Strangely enough, one of my favourite topics to spew bile over is my job. Now, I’m acutely aware that it bores the pants off those listening but I just can’t help myself; It’s like a reflex. If you ever meet me you can try it. Ask me how the job’s going. Go on. Dare you. But if you take up the challenge be prepared to sprint to a safe distance immediately afterwards to avoid the blast radius.
It’s one of the reasons I don’t tend to hang out with other teachers in my spare time. It’s a safety precaution to be honest; I know how things go. I’m bad enough on my own but there’s always the danger when a bunch of teachers get together that it’ll eventually devolve into a Rantpocalypse so severe that the resulting bad feeling would permeate the air like a radioactive cloud raining down acid misery on the population. At least I hope it would.
I’ve often been asked mid-epic moan that ‘If you hate it so much, why don’t you just do something else?’ in a desperate gambit on the part of the person I’m conversing with to stun me into silence in order to move the subject onto something slightly sunnier such as cholera epidemics or dirty bombs.
I’ve often wondered it myself. This job, in its time, has brought me to the brink of a nervous breakdown, given me a number of scars (and I’m not talking namby-pamby emotional scars either. I’m talking scars scars. One of them’s a bite mark) and basically irritated the hell out of me for time immemorial. So why stay on and then go and bitch about it?
Well, to be fair, the money’s not bad. It could be more. A lot more. Multiply more by a really big number with a few zeros on the end and I’d say you would be getting close to fair. But even as it is we have enough to eat, a warm place to sleep and and The Boy is kept in various plastic tat. So when I’ve had one of those dark days, when the students have taken their behaviour cues from The Midwich Cuckoos and management have taken theirs from a Thomas Kyd tragedy I console myself at the end of the day by having a nice meal in a warm house with the people that I love and then go about accidentally stepping on race cars, robots and lego until I feel a bit better about things.
But it’s not just the money. I could make money doing something else and get by. I mean, my feature dancing is legendary for a start (the routine with the hula-hoop is a rare sight to behold) but when it comes down to it I don’t really want to do anything else.
I moan because its cathartic – I see many, many, many things wrong in teaching and I like to ruminate on these grievances with any poor sod that gets inadvertently trapped in a room with me after taking a wrong turn somewhere. It makes me feel better about things.
But that doesn’t mean I hate the job. Far from it. It’s just a way of relieving some of the very real pressure that comes with it.
I mean, I love the job (even though it’s a relentless trudge against apathetic kids and invisible management where you’re attacked in the press for being ineffectual and by your colleagues for being authoritarian and can you believe I spent twelve hours, twelve bloody hours last Sunday marking and do you know what Dylan said to me when I handed him back his work? I’ll tell you he said he said that he…)
See? Much better.