Monday, November 20, 2006

The Speech

Sometimes you just need The Speech. Today is one of those days for me. What in the hell is the Speech? What am I talking about? I'm actually referencing a scene from a T.V. show that has been off the air for a few years. The program, "The Practice" was on the air for a few years ( In the last scene of a specific episode, one of the characters, a male Assistant D.A., looks at a coworker after a particularly bad day and says, "Helen I need the speech." Helen looks at this man and explains, with a passion and power derived from Hollywood writers, exactly why they are doing their work, why their given profession is so important to the fabric of society. Today is one of those days for me.

I'm a Special Education Teacher, and some days are more difficult than others. This year as a whole has been wonderful, but the last few days have been rough. I'm certain that I can speak for many people when I ask, “Why am I doing this?"

I went in search of the answer from a coworker and almost had to laugh. As I approached, she was nice enough to wave me into her room. She greeted me, and then I noticed what she was doing. In her hands was one of the most thoroughly filled out student discipline reports I'd ever seen. Student Discipline reports are filled out when the student in question is so unruly that security must be requested. Unfortunately, I am well acquainted with the student in question. Realizing that she had her hands full, I wished her a good weekend and went on my way.

I've now decided that I will abide by the old maxim "Physician Heal Thyself". I am going to devote the rest of this post to giving the Speech to myself, as well as anyone else who happens upon it. The question before me is, why do I do this job? In a more universal way, why do we do the jobs we do each and everyday to the best of our God-given ability?

I do this job, and today it feels a heckuva lot more like a job than a profession, because it is a good job. I'm making the world around me better. I can honestly say that the students I work with are better off for having me as a teacher. They are also much better served within this school setting than if they were on the street, not getting educated at all. (It has already been determined that they are not suited for a regular classroom.) When I was worked in programming, I got pleasure from solving the problems that arose in coding. When I worked in the service industry, I got satisfaction when a customer returned and asked for me. Knowing that my students are better off for having worked with me, that is why I do what I do

Teacher salaries are not very good, but then again, teachers know that going in. However, working with at risk youth gives me other rewards. Showing someone the importance of staying off the street is important. When the student accepts this, I’ve made a difference. Helping the generations behind me work their way out of hopelessness and build self-esteem that will help them make better choices, that is what I do what I do.

Showing a student how to take the steps necessary to go on to Community College, or even just get a G.E.D., rather than dropping out of school, helps them. If these students gain enough skills and self-esteem to stay off the streets and out of trouble, I am not only helping them, I am helping myself.

A bonus of my profession is that it gives me interesting stories to bring home to my family, because my days are rarely boring, and it gives me lots of vacation time to share with them.

For myself, I was raised with a need to make the world a better place than when I found it. --- This job definitely does that, even if it is on a very small scale. I am able to feed my family, and know that the job I do is important and honorable (even if you take an oath of poverty).

I feel a bit better now....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a lot of us can identify with this post.

12:15 AM  

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