The Satisfaction of a Job Well Done

Jobs. Some jobs are amazing, some are tedious. Some are amazingly tedious. Jobs are something we have all of our lives, from the task of clearing our own place from the table through the career or careers we use to fill our time as adults.We can always hope that the job we have is one we enjoy, one we aspired to, one that is fulfilling. In order to achieve that goal, there is the need to do well in school so that there are options for success. A time spent exploring interests might be a good idea as well, but not everyone has that luxury. I did get that chance–I lived in a few different parts of the country, I explored different colleges, universities, and majors, and had a chance to work in a variety of fields while I gained my more traditional education. I can now claim experience in baking, running restaurants and resorts, administrative assistantship, selling golf putters over the phone, background checks, tutoring, substitute teaching, conducting student orchestras, and (of course) teaching. There are aspects of each of these jobs that I found fulfilling and aspects that were less enjoyable. Some I have dreams of revisiting one day. We’ll see what happens.

A smattering of jobs, I suppose. Now everybody sing…

In any case, waxing eloquent about jobs is prompted by an inadvertently profound studentism: “Thousands of people get jobs they hate and end up quieting.” This student claims that people, rather than quitting hated jobs, merely become quiet. I find this observation to be all too true. Think about it. I don’t know very many people who will voluntarily give up a job and a steady paycheck if they have one. Even if they are miserable, they stay quietly where they are, in order to support their lives and families. What a miserable concept.

On a related note, and one which often causes teachers to quiet, another student once wrote, “Almost half the students don’t do anything from the hours 8 AM to 3 PM.” Speak of profound observations. It is this problem that perhaps causes unsatisfactory jobs and people quieting later in life. If the students would learn and apply themselves between 8 and 3, maybe we’d all be more successful. Work ethic, anyone? Maybe we should reform everything. Just don’t ask me how; I haven’t figured it out yet.

Introducing Studentisms

Higher Learning?

Learning. It’s something we all do, and I hope I never choose to stop. For teachers, learning is our livelihood, our calling. In one sense, we learn anew each day that we can inspire hope and dreams. In another, we learn continuously how much work there is to be done. Some students arrive in our classrooms woefully unprepared not only for what we are teaching, but for many other aspects of life. Do we teach our subject matter, or responsibility? At the end of the day, which is more important?

Our leaders have realised that the educational system is broken, but their attempts to fix it appear to have gone awry. This often leaves the teachers feeling bitter, overwhelmed, and helpless as they watch students raised to the almighty test try (or not try) year after year to reach “proficiency” and wonder how this will really prepare our kids for life after high school. Life isn’t about multiple choice “bubble tests.” We should certainly aspire for more than mere proficiency! Yet that is the accepted measure of our success as educators.

It means we steal moments of time from the proscribed course of study to teach life, which many of our students have experienced only via a screen. They stare blankly, wishing the “commercial” would end so they can get on with what they’re forced to do. Some are forced to wait for the rest of the students to catch up while others are forced to attend school at all. It’s an interesting mix.

However! This blog is not about that. This blog is about the comic relief frequently found from those same students. I call them studentisms: typos, wrong usage, dangling modifiers, malapropisms, and anything that gives amusement while grading papers. After having collected them for a time, I pulled a phrase from a persuasive essay. I no longer recall what the essay was trying to argue, but the phrase reads, “all of their innocent killings.” The clouds parted; the angels sang. I had a title for my collection! It has morphed into “Our Innocent Killings” because no one is perfect, and we all kill the language at some point. I do hope you enjoy the journey with me.