Chalk Dust

I wish there was a way to measure how much chalk dust I have in my lungs from the past three months. My approximate guess would be at least a few pieces worth, it will probably be a whole box by the end of the school year.

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Another round of oral exams is coming up and finals have been written and submitted. I never appreciated how much work my teachers did. I’ve had a lot of different jobs, but this by far has been the most challenging. And here is where I am supposed to say I am exhilarated by the challenge and I want to rise to the occasion and be a great teacher and give an inspiring anecdote about how teaching is my calling in life. Truth is: It’s okay. It’s far better than other jobs I’ve had in the past (literally being tied to a phone in a customer service office), and the benefits are amazing (a month-long Chinese New Year paid vacation) and I am in Taiwan so I get to explore places like this:

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but teaching 30+hours a week makes me want to rip my hair out. Those aren’t working hours, just the teaching hours. Some classes make me love my job and truly do make my day enjoyable and some, leave me storming back to the office with students running out of my way in fear for their lives. Teaching is exhausting. It takes a lot out of a person to create an environment that makes learning boring shit an enjoyable and interesting experience. People who have been doing it for a long time either have to be dulled senseless or have discovered something even more miraculous than coffee. Or maybe I just haven’t found my voice yet and it’s just something that takes time and experience, or maybe it’s just another thing I can tick off my list that I’m not good at.

Working in an office sucks, working in the food industry sucks, working in a school is okay, so what am I supposed to do? There is so much societal pressure to choose one thing to pursue in life. Choose the thing you are good at, do it until you can’t work anymore, then die. What about those people who aren’t good at anything? Or haven’t quite discovered a passion for one thing, what do we do? I don’t like the idea of having one set job for the rest of my life just to climb some kind of imaginary ladder to have an imaginary status so I can make imaginary money and have imaginary value in our imaginary society. And I’ve always felt this way (at least since I had the realization in high school I would have to work to support myself some day) so I thought teaching would be different. But here I am working an 8-5 to make imaginary money so I can pay for my very real expenses. And I think to myself how did I get here? (and the days go by…) but seriously, most people have this thought at least once in their lives, so why do we never do anything to break out of it? It’s really sad that it is easier to just go along with the system then to resist and really look for happiness.

I’m not going to settle for just “Okay” and maybe teaching really is my thing, I just haven’t gotten my footing yet. But for now, my directionlessness suits me well. I’ll probably never go back to graduate school and never have a career, I’ll gladly trade it for a life passions and happiness. After all, life is short and all we are is chalk dust in the wind.

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