Dear Bleakdale Secondary School staff, I saw those memes you shared before the holidays. Buddy The Elf’s erratic mood swings to represent how teachers feel the week before Christmas. Cheerful glee on Monday, panicked dread through the middle of the week, and elation by Friday. Cute. You made your point. You also had two weeks’ vacation to recharge. Now, you’re back and I hope you feel better. But also shut up and do your job until summer break. Stick those problems in its permanent file because we know it doesn’t mean anything.
There’s no off-season for white-collar corporate stiffs like myself. We ‘Year-Rounders’ go into our job Monday to Friday, January to December, minus five weeks vacation, three personal days, and a volunteer day. You’ll never understand the burden of planning a post-Labour Day trip to Mackinac Island only for a last-minute Caribbean Cruise to be thrown in your face at an insanely reduced price.
Run out the clock until June, then kick up your feet and enjoy that Malibu Rum one of the cool students gave you as a gift. But remember not to turn off your phone because I’ve been trying to get a hold of you. Apparently, my son Ethan failed most of his classes, and we need to fix that. You have the power to keep him out of summer school and on the football team. Ease up on the athletically gifted kids; We need our NFL players more than ever these days. And we know what grocery shop you frequent.
Allow me and all the students’ parents to remind you: our kids’ futures are riding on you. It’s not your fault they live in a vast pit of existential dread caused by rampant political corruption or climate change threatening their existence. That stuff will just work itself out. Teenagers were moody in my day, too. That History teacher who suggested Mein Kampf as part of the grade 9 curriculum doesn’t see this as a big deal, so why should you. The kids will be alright. They have their phones and social media to keep them happy. Just pass them through to college where they can accrue imaginable debt, that they will spend the rest of their working lives repaying. Just a tip: working year-round gives you less time to worry about these things.
We’re all feeling burned out. Entering the third year of what seems like an endless pandemic will do that. But it must be nice to get a change of scenery every time schools pivot to online learning. You’re free from that classroom, to work at home for a couple of weeks. Students sitting in front of their screens all day will help with those vanishing attention spans. Think about the savings for school supplies!
Speaking of supplies, those teachers wrestling for money in the middle of the ice at an amateur hockey game in South Dakota looked like fun. I realize making slightly more than minimum wage can stretch your wallet, but what a clever way to raise funds for classrooms! I get lost in our corporate supply closets because there’s so much good stuff in there. Spend the summer training, and get back on the ice to earn that stapler money!
And those two extra months not working are two extra months where you don’t have to worry about active shooters attempting to break into the school. We ‘Year-Rounders’ are sitting ducks in July and August. We must rely on the heavy security presence in the lobbies of our building to ward off these threats. But I’m not too worried; I trust that the Ethans of the world will have got their rage and hopelessness out of their system when they begin their working lives. If not, there are plenty of cushy teaching jobs that should whisk them into retirement. Plus, those hot summer months should cool them off.