You know, after subscribing to the teaching community on livejournal for awhile, as well as talking personally with a number of teachers, I have discovered something interesting.
The difference in attitudes and educational philosophies between public and private school teachers is incredible. It’s all starting to make sense to me why I feel I would enjoy teaching there more, and why I enjoyed attending private school more in the first place.
Most of the public school teachers seem at least moderately disenchanted, disengaged, and dissatisfied with their jobs, something I don’t see as often with the private school teachers. There really seems to be something about being forced to work within the public school system with all its beaurocracy that makes people seem almost disinterested in their jobs. On the other side of the road, the private school teachers seem pretty enthusiastic about their students and their curriculums. They seem do enjoy their schools’ administration, and are more actively involved in the school itself.
I mean, I know it’s not all kittens and roses, but many of these people seem genuinely apathetic about their jobs, and resigned to teaching crappy curriculums. I really don’t think it has to be that way. It is significantly harder in a public school to express yourself in the classroom, and I think that that is one of the major failings of public education today, and a huge cause of teacher disengagement.
There are other things as well that contribute to public school teacher disenchantment, but I think that what I’m really trying to say here is that I really think that the public school system has some major problems, and that the teachers are suffering because of it, and are becoming worse teachers because of it, and thus are spending more time hating their jobs. And I don’t want to be a part of that, if I don’t have to.
Visiting friends this summer has been interesting for me. First Peter and I went to Maine, where we visited people that I only really know through Peter. I’m friends with them, but they’re people I probably wouldn’t have ever talked to without Peter. Those friends are different in that I don’t have a background with them, so there’s not really much to talk about other than current stuff. And you run out of current stuff pretty fast.
When I came down here to Providence to see Kate and Sam, it has been a very different experience. Kate and Sam have both known me since my first year of Hampshire, and even more importantly, have known me since before Peter. Since dating Peter I have changed a decent bit, as always happens with me when I get seriously involved with someone, and so it’s important to me to have friends who have known me in a ‘previous incarnation’. We talk about completely different stuff than I talk to people currently at Hampshire about, and it’s really refreshing. It’s also different because they’re friends on my terms, not anybody else’s. It’s a very different feeling to be a friend of someone through somebody else, and I feel like I have very few people at Hampshire who I’m friends with through myself anymore.
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You all should buy Threadless shirts. No, really. You should.
You know, it’s really interesting to have a ‘disease’ that is so varied in its manifestations that it can appear an almost entirely different affliction.
Take two different examples: A friend’s mom is bipolar. I am bipolar. If you looked at the two of us, you’d think we had two different disorders. She goes through longer periods of more intense moods – she’s manic for a week at a time, and depressed for even longer. I have the same moodswings, but they last only a few hours at a time. Depending on what’s going on at a given time, either one of us can seem more functional than the other. I feel like sometimes people shortchange either one of us at any given time. For me, people say that having intense moodswings aren’t so bad, because they don’t last so long. They neglect to realize that moodswing after moodswing, when they’re so intense, can be really exhausting. Not to mention that the moodswings themselves are distressing in the speed of their onset. Going from okay to extremely depressed within 20 minutes makes the depression all that more powerful, and the same thing goes with mania – if I go ‘up’ too fast, it’s like I can’t stop it, and I go from being just happy and productive to overfocusing on everything and unable to sleep. For her, people assume that it must be easier to deal with the moodswings because they last longer, and you can cope with them better somehow if you get used to them. They also seem to think that the moodswings aren’t ‘that’ intense, just because the person can go on functioning (even though typically at a much lower level), when in reality one can function, but not very well, and it takes a lot more effort to do so. What this leads to is a misinterpretation of the disorder itself. People, in general, are unaware of the numerous and diverse varieties within the disorder as a whole, and so this leads to misinformation.
Basically, it really sucks to have a disorder that has so much variation because you get a lot of people who think you don’t have it, or that your variation is inherently less important than other variations because you don’t fit their concept of the disorder. At times, people will even go so far as to say that you don’t have the disorder, just because you don’t fit the ideal in their head.
I really wish it were possible for me to stay in the valley over the summer this summer. I would love to live with some friends in the area, but unfortunately none are staying, and my parents don’t pay for apartments over the summer anyway, so it’s a moot point. The valley is just so quintessentially ‘summer’ to me – lots of hiking and biking trails, beautiful scenery and plants, lots of places to go swimming in lakes, and it really has that ‘small town’ feeling that associate with the version of summer you see in old movies from the 1940s. A Norman Rockwell sort of feeling.
Boston, while I love it, is not the most ideal location for a summer. It’s mostly asphalt, so the heat radiates up as if from a giant frying pan. Plus, Boston looks pretty much the same year round, as except with the addition of snow in the winter, the streets are essentially unchanging. The parks, while green, aren’t particularly ‘wilderness’-y (in fact, they’re typically over-groomed). There’s nothing particularly special about Boston in the summer, and the heat makes the fact that I’m stuck to public transportation and walking obnoxious as I can’t arrive anywhere without being all sweaty. Don’t even get me started on the lack of air conditioning up here.
This summer should be nice – I’ll have lots of friends in the area. But, it’s going to have a different feel without Peter around. I really hope I can get a job I enjoy, because otherwise I worry about what I’m going to do with my time. I suppose I could work on a hobby, or something, but other than that, I think I’d be bored to tears.
It’s interesting to me that, with my last ‘summer’ staring me in the face, I feel like I haven’t had a real ‘summer’ since I graduated highschool. I haven’t had that flexibility, that utter freedom to do whatever I want. It’s kind of sad. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up. Then again, I think it’s pretty much universally agreed that growing up sucks.
You know, I think that what has made this semester different is that I have finally learned how to truely enjoy my “play time” and also still get in my “work time”.
Living on F4 reminds me of the good semester I spent on G2 – I genuinely enjoy my hallmates and we all hang out together in the hall and in eachother’s rooms. Because of this, I don’t mind spending time up in my room away from Peter, and even enjoy it. That’s a huge change from last year when going back to my room meant going back to a dead quiet, typically empty hall in the basement where noone ever came to visit me.
As for my work, I’ve discovered that the trick is to just get the work I don’t want to do overwith, and just do it, and as for the work I like to do, to use that to make me actually want to do the work. Unfortunately, I haven’t really enjoyed much of the work I’ve had to do this semester, but I’ve at least been enjoying my writing independent study.
In general, I’d say I’ve been happier this semester than I’ve ever been at Hampshire. My first year I hated the school so much I wanted to transfer. My second year I spent being awkward and anxious and doing horribly academically and thus never felt like I was out from under that weight. My third year I had that flesh eating bacteria during my first semester which got me incredibly behind, but then the semester ended on a good note when I finally got the courage to end my relationship with Evan, and later found Peter. The semester after that was pretty good, but I was very moody and emotional throughout the semester, and I was pretty stressed over the fact that I was going to have to take time off from college. Last semester, while I was on leave, was amazingly miserable, but I feel that this semester has really made up for that. In some ways, I think that I needed to hit bottom and have most things I loved taken away from me before I could actually learn to enjoy said things.