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At this year’s state of the union address, President Obama asked young people like myself to educate this nation’s children. Come next September, I will be stepping into a classroom for the first time as a teacher because not only do I happen to agree with the fundamental principle the president spoke to, but above all, I am acutely aware that I would not be where I am without the hard work of my past teachers, and the confidence they instilled in me by telling me I was worth more and could work harder.
And then I watch the news, and I wonder what the hell I’m getting myself into. I’ve been poor before (not exactly rolling in it now but man, being able to afford lunch is the high life!!!), I’ve been disenfranchised, disrespected, and I swore to myself that I would never be in that position ever. again.
So I become a teacher? I signed up to take home a paycheck that will support my love of rice and beans, but not much more. I’ll work twice as many hours as I’ll get paid for, and hear my country tell me that I’m selfish and need to sacrifice even more than everyone else did to support our corporate overlords. My education level and the school I graduated from qualify me to be nothing more than a gays-loving, elitist, pinko-commie atheist. When people start asking why America’s schoolchildren aren’t standard-test-taking, rote-memorization geniuses, I’ll hear that it’s my fault that this country can’t get its shit together.
I’m going through with what I’ve decided to do, but I can’t deny that I have doubts every waking moment of my life. And I can’t get over the fact that I should really feel more like I’m doing something good. So why do I feel like I’ve just signed myself up for the low quality of life and lack of respect I thought I’d escaped? I hope so badly that it’s worth it, but I’m so afraid it won’t be.