The thing about proctoring state tests is you have a lot of time to think. That's really all you can do for those 75 to 90 minutes, and it's so happened that I have had several epiphanies in the past week.

1. I am prejudiced. Yes, that's right. I have a real problem with rich people. I don't like them and I'm mad at them, irrationally, which I believe is the definition is prejudice. What brought this on? Why, Paris Hilton, of course. When she stood outside the courtroom and told the world that she was being treated unfairly, I almost came up out of my body; I mean my soul nearly flew to Los Angeles just to punch her in the face. And I said to myself, since no one else was nearby, "If that had been me, I'd have been in jail three months ago." I hope she DOES have to be imprisoned in a cell THE SIZE OF MY BEDROOM and be forced to eat generic bologna and wear clothing that has never been in style. Because: welcome to MY life, Paris Hilton.

2. Feminism is dying. As I watch the girls that I teach, each day it becomes clearer to me that they do not know or appreciate just how many sacrifices their fore-mothers have made so they can dress like tarts and have sex with fifteen different boys during their sophomore year. Every day I see girls compete with each other for the attention of some guy who is just not worth it. Who are the role models for our young women? I can think of two: Oprah and Condoleeza Rice. But girls today don't want to be like Oprah and Condi; they want to be Pussycat Dolls and Playmates. Susan B. Anthony must be so proud.

3. I have this one student, X, who absolutely cannot stand another student, R. When R walks into the room, X is immediately angry with him; he doesn't have to do anything except exist, and she gets mad. She tries her best not to act on it, which I appreciate, but her facial expressions easily translate into four-letter words. "I don't know what it is, Ms. Flower," she told me one day. "There are just some people that I'll never get along with, and R is one of them."
That hit close to home with me, because I have some students whose very existence angers me. It doesn't matter what they do, I am never going to like them. And I have been feeling very guilty about that, because I kind of feel like I should have genuine affection for all of my students.
But when X said that, I realized that, if I worked in any other environment, I would not be expected to like every single one of my colleagues. Even in social situations, chances are I am not going to be friends with 100% percent of the people in the room.
So, from that day, I have forgiven myself for not loving some of my students. This does not mean that I am rude to them, or that I ignore them, or that I tell them to shut up or that I hate them; it just means that I've accepted the fact that they are going to get on my nerves, and that it's okay to feel that way. It's been quite a weight off my shoulders.

4. I don't get paid enough. This is not new information. But the other day, someone on Teachers.net asked how single teachers manage to live on one salary. She'd recently gone through a divorce and discovered that, after paying her house note and bills, she had about $20 left.
I've been dealing with this issue myself, for many years now. I was recently looking for a summer job, and several of the classified ads I read were for entry level clerical positions, all of them paying as much or more than I make as a teacher with seven years experience. So what that means is, someone with no college education and no experience can start a job at age 18 and make my salary or higher.
Do you know who else gets paid more than I do? Reality television stars. These people--and I use that term loosely--sign up for a show and then spend four months in a drunken stupor making grand jackasses of themselves, while I am toiling away in a job that nets no respect, no attention, and most of all NO MONEY.
I am over here working my tail off to make a difference in JUST ONE PERSON'S life, and don't get me wrong: I love my job. But it would be nice if I could love my job and continue to work at it without having to go into debt just to meet my basic survival needs. I mean, obviously the government could never afford to pay teachers what they're actually worth, but then again, when sub-par "actors" are pulling down $20 million a picture, or "professional" athletes are signing four year contracts worth more than $100 million dollars, I'm thinking that there's enough money in circulation to help me at LEAST be able to buy name brand cereal on a regular basis.

So, anyway, those are the thoughts I've been thinking this week. Somehow, whenever I get to thinking for a long period of time, I always get mad. This is why I try to keep the thinking to a minimum around here.

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