Teaching is a treacherous world. We learned that from Dangerous Minds and that Coolio song. But, everybody says it's a noble and fulfilling profession (unless you like to make a lot of money).
You say that now, kid… but what about in 10 years?I'm a professor, and on top of teaching in a university and an after-school program I also teach kindergarten. In kindy, I've been stabbed with pencils, bitten, punched in the balls too many times to count, and even "dongchimmed"—a seriously fucked up game where little kids stick their fingers in your butt. Seriously, fucked up.
Even with all the physical abuse, little kid taunts (lots of calling me "fat"), and ridicule from friends back home ("Dude, are you some kind of perv who likes hanging out with little kids?"), I do like teaching little 5- and 6-year-olds.
I have many reasons, but mostly because, well, the kids love me. Again, not in a pedophile way, that's way too weird and I'm way too vanilla for that shit. But the kids love how tall I am. They love arm hair, since Koreans don't really have it. They love that I can draw an Angry Bird in a few seconds, pick them up with one hand, and make really excellent fart noises. They even love chanting my name. It's like being a celebrity. Again, just a lot less money (and drugs).
If you give your students too much homework will they lose out on other life lessons like riding a bike, kissing, breaking beer bottles, or huffing gas? So with all this love, what do I worry about?
Well, you have to worry about fucking kids up. Sure kids flare up my temper and I want to murder them from time to time, but who doesn't get pissed? They get called names and yelled at, a lesson called "Deal With It." They're afraid of spiders, green markers, or sad-faced stickers. So what?
What terrifies me is mentally screwing these kids up.
As a teacher you have to worry about being too strict. Will the kids always fear you? Will they eventually resent your authority and hate cops, judges, and "The Man?"
And what if you're too lenient? Will they run rampant and burn down the schoolhouse? Yes, they will.
If you give them too much homework will they lose out on other life lessons like riding a bike, kissing, breaking beer bottles, or huffing gas? If you don't give them enough homework will they be stupid like most American kids? If you teach them with YouTube to increase their participation, will they also end up developing ADHD?
That's a lot to worry about. Those are a lot of fine lines to toe.
Here's how my biggest fear pans out:
It's late in math class (yes, I teach math to Asians; I rule) and some little girl doesn't understand the difference between a square and a triangle. All the other kids get it. Do I spend time with the little girl while boring the hell out of the rest of the class or just say "eff it" and move on? Well, sometimes, you just have to tell her, "Who cares? Turn the page. It's just a stupid triangle."
But then she doesn't learn what a triangle is, which puts her behind. Eventually she doesn't know how to count triangles. Then she can't add, and then she can't subtract. Then she learns to hate math, and later on she hates all teachers. Eventually she hates school and decides there are more important things than getting an education. So she starts working in a bar, then a strip club, and then worse. More time goes by and she's knocked up by some douchebag who's nice to her, then not-so-nice to her. This happens a few more times, all because you didn't take your time teaching triangles to her, so she still doesn't really understand patterns.
Her kids resent her for being stupid so she resents her kids. She spends all her money and doesn't eat right so her bone density turns her into an ugly old crone way before her time. All because you didn't have the patience to explain that a fucking triangle has three sides and a square has four.
Now, this might not be a big deal to you. But this is a 6-year-old girl who not only organizes my whiteboard markers for me, but also drew me a picture of a rainbow dolphin eating a birthday cake.
So yeah, I'm a little worried about her. And I worry about all my students. And this is probably the hardest thing about being a teacher.