The Out of Body Teaching Experience

Today, as I leaned over a student to help them reformat a document in MLA format, I felt myself leave my body. It was only first block and I could feel myself floating out of my body and watching myself help this child with something I have explained about one hundred times. As the period progressed and my lazy-ass students didn’t turn in their weekly current event, I literally felt myself begin the “help me, help you” speech regarding graduation. 

The self that was watching the teacher-me was thinking one word: really?

As I went on about accountability, effort, and the importance of showing teachers you give a flying f*&!, I couldn’t help but envision my future-self around the age of 45, twenty pounds heavier, depressed as hell because my hypothetical teenage children are just as horrible as the faces I’m staring at. I just cannot and will not do this to myself.

Currently, I’m working on some major writing projects that I hope will end in publication. I refuse to do this for more than one more year. This is not the life for me. There is no way to grow and advance teaching at the high school level. Sure it’s supposed to rewarding, but eff that. I want a stimulating discussion about literature, not an argument about why Yeats “sucks” and that I’m a bitch for not letting a student leave to use the bathroom/send a text message. 

For those of you who have children in high school, I suggest you stop reading because I don’t think you want to see an actual high school teacher say this but, I HATE my students.

That’s right. I. Hate. Them. 

There are few sprinkled through my rosters who make waking up at 5 am tolerable, but they are few and far between and even they have the ability and probability to disappoint.

This year is my fifth year as a teacher. Yes, a majority of my career has been as an instructor at the college level, however, in the grand scheme of things teaching is teaching. At any level, teachers/professors/TAs/adjuncts cope with the same problems. Still, intermittently there are moments in the classroom where there is smiling, laughing, and teaching moments that could easily bring a teacher to tears. This year I have not had these moments. Instead, the tears I have had have come during my planning period as I am underneath my desk in child’s pose, surrounded by a ream of paper scattered on the floor (yes, that really happened). 

Briefly, my students expressed some interest and possible enjoyment of Macbeth, but it was short-lived by all the effing bitching, abhorrent disciplinary issues, release of 3rd quarter report cards, and lack of effort in the assignments that went along with it. 

Thankfully, the administration somewhat understands my frustration and has assigned me a creative writing class for the next school year. God-willing the full-time college instruction jobs pan out–it’s not looking good. 

So, in the meantime, I’m going to try to stay inside my body and not be so damn observant and self aware. Today’s experience, if occurring regularly, could easily send me into a deep depression involving Oreos and wine. 

Isn’t it depressing that it’s the literature and not the students that help motivate me to get out of bed so early in the morning? 

Yeah, I think so too. 

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