You hear the strangest things when you ride the train.
This morning, Jerkface (thus named because he decided it was
all cool to smoke in the passenger waiting area and then tried to cut in front
of everyone else when the train came) loudly approached another waiting
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m on vacation.”
“Did you volunteer to work?”
“No, I’m on vacation”
“Where are you going?”
“Home. But I should go see my husband”
“He got sick at work”
Now this is all said very calmly, like they’re talking about
Sixers scores. Except they’d be more excited about that.
“What kind of sick?”
“Is he ok?”
“Yeah, I think so. He’s in the hospital.”
“Did he break his arm or something?”
“No. He hit his head. Good thing I’m on vacation.”
“Hit his head… is he conscious?”
“Yeah, I guess. Kind of. I think he can talk a little.”
Again, not a bit of emotion to this. Wow. Husband fell at
work, was hurt / is ill enough to be in the hospital, semi-conscious, and all she can think
of is that she’s on vacation. Her job must suck.
My job is good. But there’s this thing. If you’re from these
parts, you’ve seen that we’re in contract negotiations.
They want any of us who make more than 35k a year to take a
13% pay cut, another 13% cut to pay for benefits. That’s a quarter of my
salary, taken away. Which, yes, I get that the district is broke and that they
have to cut. I get that I need to pay for bennies. But damn, that is poverty
level. I already took a bit short of a 50% pay cut to take this job, because
time is more important to me than money.
Except now they want us to work another hour a day, and
cover the lunch room during our lunches, and not have any periods where we can
grade or plan. I already spend 2 hours extra a day on this stuff, beyond
working through lunch and my “prep” period. So, now they want me to work an
extra 3.5 hours a day, with no break at all (isn’t that against labor laws??)
for 25% less pay?
And they call it an opening negotiation stance?
I am grateful I have a job. I love my job. I love my kids. But
jeez, this is nuts!
So here’s one of the reasons I’m in it. I have this class –
contemporary issues in science. It’s an elective. So, one of the things I do is
read a science news blurb, daily. One of the recent blurbs was about North
Korea testing nuclear weapons (it registered as an earthquake). We talked about how North Korea is
flexing its military might, and I said, they hate us, but they hate Japan more,
and they’re closer.
My kids asked why and I said that, though I had never
learned about it in school, I had read that there was some seriously bad blood
in Asia against the Japanese after what they did in World War II. But that I could be wrong because
history was not my area.
Now, they’re doing projects, so one of the kids started
doing research on this, because she was interested. I told her to look up the
Rape of Nanking. She came up with the Rap of Nana King… After correcting her
google, she looked at the stuff, and suddenly she has a new project she’s going
to do in her world history class.
Moments like that? The humor and the spark? No other job has