Strange…it took nearly thirty years as a television news cameraman to reach a point where I said goodbye.
And now it’s taken only eight years to reach that same stage as a teacher.
This time it’s different. As I approached fifty, I found myself teetering on the edge many days…confused and wondering if my life had any significance. I examined each story for meaning and wondered why the hell I even bothered some days. Was it really worth the effort to do yet another sidebar on a far distant story or try to conceal the hidden agenda of producers sucking up to programming.
Now at sixty I find myself overwhelmed by massive changes in education and wonder if I can honestly call myself a teacher if all I am doing is running crowd control in a classroom of fifty students. This becomes especially difficult with thirteen editing stations (not to mention the computers are more than five years old and faltering themselves) and 18 school cameras (adding on the five or six I personally bought so students can borrow cameras for homework). Oh – and the fire marshall has rated my room’s capacity at 57. Sweet, but I also need room for the tables, computers AND room to shoot a daily program.
I LOVE my students. I love even the sneaky little scofflaws who sneak out and try not to work…but especially those who pick up a camera and tremble with excitement. I love when students sneak out and seemingly disappear and return to surprise me with their enthusiasm, proud of their efforts.
But the push for standardized robotic performance – all students will be clones learning the same thing at the same time despite their individuality – frightens me. The unbelievable budget cuts looming everywhere. My job is safe but my sanity teeters.
And I can’t (as usual) choose who the bad guys are. My union and school board are at a standoff. One side stuck with preserving the educational system without the support needed to do it all and the other side trying to preserve both a quality system and jobs.
Another issue that keeps nudging me…I miss shooting. I miss producing meaningful stories on a regular basis. My job keeps getting in the way of my love of storytelling.
Just another column which may or may not have a conclusion and may or may not be picked up and continued later…