As I’m back home this month, the inevitable question comes up time and time again.
So when will you come back to teach in America?
Listen, I’ve worked in America. Do you know what it’s like, working in schools here? I mean, yes, my body absorbs a daily onslaught on airborne contaminants and waterborne microbes, I’m surrounded in dust and poverty, and I have to shower with my eyes shut, but even still, this is way preferable to teaching in the US.
As one point of evidence, I present here a series of haikus I wrote while invigilating exams at my last public school. I have to sit on my ass for hours, so do the students. The test takes forever. The school spends months on test preparation (as opposed to you know, teaching and learning). Yet my state is still on bottom for testing, nationwide.
These haikus say it better than I can.
Barren walls cry out
To students and visitors
Learning stops this week
Once taught in wartime
Mortars, car bombs; but no test
Kept kids from learning
Rules say no food or drink
Because apparently no one
Here is a grown-up
The report that disappeared
Like all the others
Minutes tick on by
Make me wish for a razor
To slice out my eyes
In case you’re wondering why I left, here’s one final haiku:
“Keep up the good work.”
Said the evaluation.
On page two: “You’re fired.”
Nowadays, I enjoy a fulfilling classroom position with professional colleagues and managers. Things are better.