Mx. Pixie’s Diary: November 8, 2022

I’ve decided not to vote. It’s controversial but I just don’t want to. I’m voting out of guilt, not because I actually know about any of the issues or have an opinion about anything. I haven’t read the voter guide. I haven’t educated myself on the issues – because for some reason it’s 100% my responsibility? If I voted, I’d be just copying down what some voter guide says on the internet. It doesn’t really explain in detail the issue or share both sides of the story and then let me decide. It just says, “If you are a member of our community – then vote this!”

I bet UTLA has a voter guide, but I feel no connection to my Union. I have never met any of the staff at UTLA, and the ones who I have met are so public that they don’t feel like real people. We have meetings but they are on Zoom. Some are in person but we only get a 30 minute lunch and it’s such a long walk. Also, it’s my lunch. I need a break. Most times, I haven’t stopped to pee since 7am and now it’s 12:50pm.

I feel guilty and ashamed and also angry and resentful. I am a new teacher. I am working 7am to 6pm during the week and until 9:30pm on Thursdays, as well as on Sundays – and it’s still not enough to get all of my responsibilities accomplished. Today, I called in sick because mentally it all just felt impossible, and then worked from 7am to 6pm planning and doing my Masters homework, and still have two hours left.

Now it’s pouring rain with flash floods and I’m thinking about going to drop my vote off. I’d walk! But none are walking distance from my house. All at least one mile walking. Why isn’t there one at The Village? It’s so much closer. Some random park! And then I realized it’d be just like school is, just like this whole year is – like cramming for a test that I never studied for that I have to take because some person who doesn’t even care about me wants me to. It’s like standardized testing.

So, I just decided, nope. This isn’t freedom, to me. This isn’t democracy. Circling in bubbles without really knowing about the issues from some voter guide from some org that I don’t know anyone who works with about issues that I’ve never discussed with anyone I know. Nope. This is just some manipulative mind game.

Like filling in this document gives me power. I don’t even have power at work. I am at-will employed. I have expressed that I have been given an inequitable amount of responsibility, that I think our ELD program is unethical – no one is trained, it’s all new teachers, and the curriculum is crap with no research or stats to back up that what we are teaching them actually gets them to successful lives! No numbers. How many students actually graduated? How many dropped out? How many made it to Pierce and dropped out? No information. No numbers. Just making it up as I go.

And no power to tell anyone the truth or I will lose my job. My job security is threatened when really I was just put into a terrible situation, I was set up to fail. The worst part is that it’s the kids who are hurt the most. Their self-esteem, their mental health, their trust and dreams. Us adults don’t know shit, and yet we have all this power and responsibility. And yet, there is no one to listen to us!

Or when they do, “This is just how it is. This is a public school, you’re lucky you know. You just haven’t taught at a gened school.”

Honestly being a teacher is like living some sort of nightmare from high school where you didn’t finish your homework and you have no power over anything but yet they say it’s all your responsibility. Or the power you are using is oppressive. If you don’t listen to me, I will fail you! I will make you sit in a room at lunch. I will take your phone and make your parents come get it.

The reason I became a teacher is because, when I worked at SAGE, one of our authors came to give a talk at our quarterly meeting. He said, “If you hated high school, you need to become a teacher because most people hated high school and those who loved it, keep becoming teachers and making schools a place most people hate.”

Well, I hate working in a high school. It is so cliquey and there is petty drama. One of the English teachers dislikes another teacher and will roll their eyes obnoxiously whenever the other teacher speaks. Like really? It’s just not professional, and yet they sit in their group table and everyone just laughs. I don’t feel safe in that department meeting. I dread going to department meetings.

I have too much work and they keep forcing these dumb apps on us made by people who make wayyy more money than us and have much easier and relaxing lives. They don’t have to make choices like – should I have dinner with my Grandpa or plan lessons for tomorrow because I have no clue what I’m doing tomorrow but I’m gonna have to go and sit there with 70 children.

It never ends.

Yes, I am burnt out. You might have guessed. Last week I googled different careers while sitting in my desk at school. Cop? Librarian? Urban planner? All of my boundaries have been crossed over and over and over again.

I keep saying over again, “My pain and anger is my strength. I feel this way because I care. Caring is a good thing. I just need to channel this energy. I love what I do. Things will get better. One day I will have the power to make the changes I need, right now I must just cope.”

It doesn’t help when today is election day and I’m so burnt out from being a frontline worker as a teacher all day that I don’t have time to educate myself on what’s going on in the adult world. It doesn’t help that I think most things being taught at schools right now our outdated and irrelevant and that schools are in the stone age. It doesn’t help that I’m trying to change that in my classroom, and that when I tried to tell my principal, he didn’t know what to do and emailed the coordinator who never responded.

It’s exhausting caring so much. It’s exhausting trying to be the change you wish to see. It’s exhausting watching people I care about post their whole lives on Instagram or text but then never see them or call or actually have meaningful conversations so they become more and more like characters in a story than real people who love me and who I love, who I would go out of my way to help.

I’m trying to focus on community, on important relationships, meaningful conversations, being open. It is hard. Soon, soon I will have a week for Thanksgiving. I am grateful for all the people who have supported me. I am grateful for all the people who forgive me for my mistakes, who stay by me even though I am in a bad mood or respond negatively to something, and who listen. Who see this call for help and help.

The problem is, no one can help. I just must endure. And soon, I will have three weeks off. Soon the semester will be over, my Masters, the year. I will not have to be anywhere but with family and friends, grateful and reflecting and dreaming a new year, a new me.

I am focused on that. I just need to get to December 15th. I just need to get to November 18th. I am almost there.

Well, this was a rambling. I wrote this for me. I didn’t edit it. I just needed to put it in a place that maybe someone would read. I needed to talk to someone that wasn’t myself. Someone who would listen with an open heart and mind. It is you reader. Whoever you are.

Thank you for reading.