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2002-08-19 - 7:17 p.m.

The first day is done! This bunch of kids seems like they'll be OK. It's weird to look around the room and see all these strangers and know that soon they will all be familiar. Also to watch them evaluating you - wondering what you'll be like, what your class will be like. I know that the little ones are people (of course), but I love 8th grade because, basically, they are right on the cusp of being young adults - of being more like me than not. It's weird being a teacher. You get to know a group of 130 or so people really well, and then most of them disappear, never to be heard from again. It's really kind of hard on your heart, if you want to know the truth. You can't help but get close to them - I already found myself picking up on some of their habits, wondering about them, etc. So far, I have two kids who don't speak English and two more who can barely write a sentence. My lesbian student (the one I know about) didn't show up today. We'll see if she's there tomorrow.

Ms. Olga (olgaping) asked if I'd been reading the letters to the editor about teachers in the local paper. Yeah. Some columnist brought up the old "why are teachers leaving the profession?" question and he made what I thought was a pretty good point, saying that younger teachers (ie. less experienced) cite low salaries as the main reason, whereas older (more experienced) teachers cite working conditions. I'll go along with that, though the money is always an issue, too. There was a letter in response that really pissed me off the other day. This nurse wrote saying that teachers don't have it as bad as nurses, etc. etc. - basically setting up the issue as teachers vs. nurses, who deserves higher pay? Duh! Both of us!

I would never presume to make blanket statements about the difficulties, pressures, etc. of a job I know nothing about. But just because nurses are stressed out doesn't mean teachers aren't also. I honestly think that until you've been a teacher you can't truly know what it's like - and I'm sure it's the same for many other professions. It just angered me that, in order to complain about the wages for her career, she felt it necessary to insult teachers.

Anyway - I'm going to go read all of your diaries (get ready) so I'll stop now. Verona is out of town on business so I'm all alone with the cat tonight.



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