Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Like Sinatra, "Regrets... I've had a few."

Sometimes (like today) I regret being a teacher.

In happier days, doing what I loved, with a stack of papers as tall as me.
I love education. By extension, I love teaching. It's what I love. It's what I value. It's in my blood. As my wife says, "做老师很适合你." (It suits you.)

The problem is that such a love or "suited-ness" seems all but useless to me now.

My soon-to-be (I think) brother-in-law came to Texas less than a month ago. He wanted to get into sales. It's in his background, though he hadn't been doing it over the past few years. His personality is definitely suited to a position in sales. Within two weeks he had three good local job offers. He's working now.

Me? Friday will be the four-month mark of my arrival in the US. Still no job. Prospects I've had. One job I had to turn down, as it wouldn't have met family needs. I was a finalist for a program coordinator position that went to another candidate. Interviews await. But as of yet, nothing.

More and more it looks like I'm fitting the stereotype of foreign teachers in China: people who couldn't cut it in their own countries, so they go to China.

Teaching skills simply aren't transferable. At least, they don't seem to be. What can someone who has trained exclusively as a teacher do? Teach. Nothing else really. It's a dead end road in many ways, unless one has the personality to break into other arenas. When your personality is "suited" to teaching, however, alas, there's no where to turn. At least not if you want to be a professional as opposed to an unskilled laborer.

Of course, I could look in the public schools. My teaching license is being renewed. But do I dare? Do I dare try to face an academic culture in the US that is essentially anti-academic? Do I want to deal with stakeholders who find athletics more important than academics? Do I want to be blamed for not motivating students well enough when the real problem lies in a culture (a) that de-emphasizes studies for more important things like social life, entertainment, and the aforementioned sports and (b) whose parents expect too little from their children and are not invested enough in their scholastic achievement.

Sounds appealing.

Perhaps I'll just apply at Panda Express and be done with it. Maybe I could use Chinese there.

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