Monday, 20 October 2008

Jo says NO. No, No, No, NO.

I've lost count of the times my mother, a headteacher of a school for kids who enjoy throwing chairs instead of sitting on them, has tried to shoehorn me into a teaching career. It happens pretty much every time ye olde job discussion comes up, and the conversation always follows the same pattern. She'll ask if I'm enjoying my current work, I say "It'll do for now, but I'm not going to stay any longer than I need to, it's not what I want to do", and then she tells me what a great company it is, how well they look after their staff, the amazing reputation it has, that I'm at a high level and look at how much I'm earning. All this, of course, I already know because I work there. So I respond that yes, it is really good and I do think the people here are some of the nicest I've ever worked with, the social events are great, my director is really high up but above all, mum, I'm still a secretary and I still want to write for magazines instead (don't hold me to that).
 
[At this point she tells me about the time she worked in a biscuit factory, "Not every job has to be a career choice", but am I alone in thinking a career in biscuits is actually quite appealing? If it was making Party Rings at any rate. Missed opportunity there for her I reckon]
 
Anyway, so for a while she humours me with discussions about about what I could do and how I could get there, but I always know what it's leading up to. Then, as I'm clearing my plate away into the dishwasher, minutes from escaping out the door and into the night...it comes.
 
"Have you thought about teaching?"
 
She knows the answer. It's pretty hard not to have thought about the prospect of teaching when your mother, a teacher, suggests it at every available opportunity. It doesn't matter that she thinks I'd be able to inspire kids and make Pygmalion bearable, the fact is, teaching is no more appealing than being a secretary for the rest of my working life. In fact, last time I checked, secretaries didn't have to deal with screaming children, homework or the dreaded 'lesson plans' and there are infinitely more opportunities for nattering over a long, free, liquid lunch.
 
Oh sure, "look at all the holiday! 6 weeks off in the summer!" she argues, forgetting that I have lived with her for 24 years and know that teacher's holidays are about as relaxing as a hospital with a SARS outbreak and as expensive as one too, not to mention that when you're off, they're off...so when exactly do you get a break from those excitable little youngsters?
 
So on Saturday, I hit back. It was just weeks after our last 'why don't you teach' conversation which had exactly the same hypothesis, results and conclusion. Me and dad had already exchanged the "not again" glances across the table and he braced himself for the inevitable.
 
"Mum, it's a little bit like I talk...and you go LAH LAH LAH LAH LAH with your fingers in your ears. How many times? I have no interest in teaching. I don't want to go through years of teacher training. I don't want to relearn algebra. I don't want to spend my evenings putting ticks, crosses and smiley faces on pieces of paper and planning the next day's misery. You forget that before uni, I applied to do a primary school teaching course but then changed to English lit upon realising that I don't actually have the patience with children which seems to be a pretty integral part of the whole teaching children shebang. So NO, mum, NO. I have thought about it and NO, I don't want to teach the little ratbags. Not today, not tomorrow, never. Dad, can I have a lift into town now please."
 
And do you know what she said? After all that? After a full scale rant and no nonsense, unambiguous, negative, no, no no no, ?
 
"What about teaching in a college?"
 
This truly is a woman on a mission.

10 comments:

Hannah said...

Oh my. Teaching is definitely only for the angelic. I just don't have the patience. I'd end up throwing the chairs at the kids.

(Have you tried freelancing - might be a way to get a foot in the door?)

Clarissa said...

Arrrrrrrrrrrghhhhh!!!! Moms. Bless 'em.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

It’s actually kind of sweet. She wants you to follow a path that she feels will make you sing with happiness. That’s not a negative.

Ms. Cheevious said...

Don't give up on the magazine dream. You gotta go for what you want, or you just won't ever get it!! How's that for a nugget of wisdom? HA!

Elaine said...

So...if I understood that correctly, you don't want to be a teacher then?

Homer said...

DON'T DO IT!!!!

Ella said...

My sister works as a librarian at a secondary school with minimal contact with the children and STILL wants to kill them. Don't waiver!

blueskies2day said...

I completely empathise with this irritation with parental repetition. I am considering pre-preparing a recorded message for when my parents (and now my boyfriend's parents) ask me when I am going to learn to drive. I also need one for:
1) Why I don't want to do the same job as my dad
2) Why I don't want to be a lawyer / journalist / anything else my parents decided I might be good at by identifying possible personality characteristics when I was 8 years old
3) Why I don't want to fulfil all my mother's dreams so she can live vicariously through me
4) Why I don't want... (drumroll) to teach!

Aren't parents fun?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

hannah - Freelancing is a good plan, and one I've thought about - but I don't really know where to start. It's a daunting prospect.

clarissa - Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

unbearable - sweet the first time. Not the tenth / eleventh / twelfth

ms cheevious - I just dont' know how to get started on it though!

elaine - Glad I'm making myself crystal clear to someone ;)

homer, ella - Oh god, dont worry. I won't.

blueskies - exactly. I'm SO OVER the whole career advice from the 'rents thing. I might ask my dog.

blueskies2day said...

And Charlie would say "yum yum shoe connoisseur woof"

 

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