Sunday, May 13, 2012

Teaching: A Health Hazard

Just what is it about teaching that makes me so fat anyway? Before I became a teacher, I was a very manageable 250lbs (had gained quite a bit of weight after my grandfather's death). I wasn't ready yet to change my life because it hadn't really sunk in how fat I was. But, after I became a teacher, I ballooned to 271lbs and it took losing my voice for three months to heartburn erosion (was carrying and taking Tums daily) to make me finally get serious about losing weight and I dropped down to 251lbs. I hovered around that mark until I changed schools and went back up to 264lbs. Last year, I dropped to 228lbs during my leave of absence, went back to work for the remaining six weeks and was back up to 250lbs before school was out. Now, my weight goes up during the week and comes back down during the weekend. I don't get it.

My job, especially my recent school placement, has been a health hazard. Since I started working where I am, I've had migraines, nightmares, hives, a strained achilles tendon, high blood pressure, adult acne, feminine plumbing issues, strep throat three times in less than a year, and hair loss, as well as cycles of depression from being unsatisfied with work, pay, and the way of life it's creating-- all in the four years since I walked through those double doors.

So, finally, I'm fed up and have been applying for job after job. The only problem with that is that teaching for the last seven years has made it hard to compete in today's job market. Employers are asking for acronymed things that have me scratching my head in bewilderment. And, here in South Florida, this bilingual requirement is a pretty big deterrent (see my post from before). With my kids, I can't afford to start on the bottom rung of a company unless it matches or exceeds my current salary of $40k. And, again, in South Florida, bottom-rung jobs are about $30k with the bilingual requirement. I'm of the mindset, "Screw the requirement, someone in the office will speak the language so that I don't need to" and I apply to jobs anyway. Besides, I can make out a smattering of Spanish and whatever I don't know I can put through Google Translate or the app on my phone. How, again, is declaring English as the official language of the United States unconstitutional but the bilingual requirement is not? Sigh, sigh, triple sigh.

I miss working in the corporate world and the ability to climb up the ladder. The only thing I will miss about teaching is the flexibility for family emergencies-- oh, and the summers off. I'll, also, miss the kids who I genuinely care about. But I won't miss the stagnation, the disrespect, the helicopter parents staring eagle-eyed at the grade book, or the grade-grubbing students. I could continue with that list but it's Sunday and Mother's Day and I don't want the tension to build within my body.

So I'll just wrap it up by saying I'm ready to move on. I'm ready to take my health and happiness in my own hands.


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