I’m ready to sacrifice a lot for this profession; but do I have to sacrifice my private life?
November 5, 2011 7:12 PM Subscribe
I'm about to enter the public school profession and am struggling with societal mindsets about who teachers have to be. Can public school teachers still be complex adults when they're off the job?
posted by billypilgrim to education (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I’m half-way through my graduate degree at a very liberal Massachusetts University, working toward becoming a public High School teacher. I’ve known for a very long time that teaching is what I want to do, and have no pretensions about entering a very demanding profession for pauper’s pay. I do, however, struggle with the societal mindset that teachers must be some sort of gleaming example of society; that for some reason, while all of my friends can be professional at work and then absolute delinquents on the weekend, teacher’s are held to a different standard. (And I’m no delinquent.)
Almost daily I’m reading stories from more conservative states where teachers are being fired for even the smallest things; i.e. having a picture on FB holding a beer. (yes, that actually happened this last year.) Or partaking in political demonstrations, etc.
While I appreciate that people use social media stupidly and don’t watch their privacy or their backs, I’m starting to feel that in order to take up my dream profession I am being asked to sacrifice my identity. I’m liberal, I’m outspoken, very pro GLBTQ, and I’m passionate about a variety of political issues; but I know how to be diplomatic and not push my ideals on the kids I teach. At the risk of receiving some eye-rolls, I’ll also admit that I smoke grass privately to ease my symptoms of Crohn’s disease. So obviously that’s a concern as well.
While my teaching program is preparing me for many eventualities with my some-day students, surprisingly no one is schooling me on teacher’s rights, or resources I may count upon to know where the lines are drawn. As many laws are state and/ or district specific, there is a lot of very ominous grey area as to what a teacher can be fired for. One Massachusetts standard I found:
MASSACHUSETTS: Teacher's certificate may be revoked for cause. Teachers may be dismissed for inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming of a teacher, insubordination, failure to satisfy teacher performance standards, or other just cause.
When I read things so disturbingly vague as “conduct unbecoming of a teacher” I feel trapped, and the usual Google searches are not returning anything very enlightening.
I’m looking for advice from teachers, especially those who have “unbecoming” interests by night. Any anecdotes, or resources that may point to more information would be greatly appreciated.
I would love to find better resources that I might look to/learn more about how I can protect my private life (if at all) while being a super hero of a public school teacher by day.
I’m ready to sacrifice a lot for this profession; but do I have to sacrifice myself?