Alternate Careers? No thanks.


Someone, a co-worker made a comment in passing.

Something to the effect of  “You’re good with kids, I don’t know how you do it… you should become a school teacher…”

Ha. Haha. Hahahahahaha. Hah! Yes, this was an interesting idea to contemplate for all of five minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I’m apparently even competent when it comes to them. However driving a bus, and keeping kids in order is a trying job on it’s own. I only have these kids for at the most an hour or so a day, if even. Unless it’s a special trip. That’s a far cry from a teacher who has them all day. That could be both better, or worse. Driving a bus is simple, teaching kids Math?

I am or was terrible at math, I may not be anymore since I’ve learned more math post-college than I did before. However I am still not very strong at science. I’ve also either forgotten, or never really paid attention to Grammar. Spell check is my friend. History is so-so, I was never very fond of the United States history after George Washington. Nor did I pay much attention to government. I am nearly certain the kids on my bus can name more states and capitols than I can. Even though geography was one of my favorite things. At this point I would have to re-learn almost everything a 6th grader knows. The kids on my bus ask me occasionally what the answer is for a multiplication or division is, and someone else answers before I can.

So in theory I could easily learn everything, and spend 4 years in school to do so. I could apply my attention to these studies much better now than ever before. Do I really want to? Not really. The thing that really disinterests me, is the debt. There are plenty of thing’s I would adore going back to college for. The amount of money it would cost, is the kicker. After I get out from under the medical, and school debts I already have… I’d rather be debt free. I don’t even want a car loan.

There is also in my head a fundamental problem with how schools and classes are approached pre-college. I sleep-walked most of Junior High, and High School. It wasn’t engaging in the least for me, with the exception of science and math I was in honors, or AP rated classes. Thing is, as years went by all I would hear from teachers is “You have so much potential, you just don’t put any effort in.” Well… when I could achieve an A, or B+ Average while sleeping through class, or reading a fantasy book, or whatever…

Yes, I could not see any end-result for why getting even better grades would be worth it. Nothing really inspired me.

I did a lot of extra classes in high-school. Choir, Shop, Graphics Design, Architectual Design, Drama, Creative Writing, and virtually every art course offered. I even obtained special permission to exempt myself from “study hall” in favor of extra courses. The fact is because of my poor math and science results, these “extra sequenses” that I had a plethora of were the only reason I graduated with the Regents Degree.

So I slept-walked through school, even college with good grades. I’d perfected the trick of how not-to-do more than absolutely necessarily. I could read my assignment sheet, open a book up, and read the whole section lightning fast, looking for the answers. I could also miraculously regurgitate all those answers on tests. Nothing special.

Thinking back on it, all I really seemed to learn pre-college was, how to prepare for the next test. None of that really seems to stick in my brain now. It hung out just long enough to ace the tests then got dumped from my brain.

My student counclor wanted a idea for what I wanted to do career-wise. At the time I liked film. Why? I saw one or two movies I thought were very creative. I also adored playing with all the buttons in the TV Studio at school. So I initially started looking into that, took drama under the premise I couldn’t be behind a camera until I was in front of one. I can’t remember why I didn’t follow through with that, but it’s a good thing I didn’t. I don’t have nearly the interest in movies that some people did.

In the end I decided on Art. Something my counselor in all her infinite wisdom advised would be difficult to make money at. My Vocal teacher was miffed that I hadn’t chosen Music, My English/Creative Writing teacher was disappointed that I wouldn’t be pursuing that, even my History teacher was disappointed that I wouldn’t pursue my love for ancient history.

Even so, I looked at a few colleges. Hartwick College, Pratt. Entirely outside of what my family, or me could expect to afford. Even though my grades would have been good enough I was convinced to give it a year or two at the local CC and then see where I was at.

That college counselor then convinced me to try the Graphics Communication curriculum, a Graphics Design / Technology 2 year Associates. Which had better odds of becoming employed. In two semesters I finished all but 1 course required for the certificate of Graphics Communication. All that was left was some Art History, English, Science, Phys Ed, and… Math.

Now, later on in life I am convinced that I missed stuff. A lot of it. In college it was sort of hanging out on the edges of my awareness, that there was more to learning than just acing tests. A huge, big, humungus wake-up was during Art History. A class which was engaging, dynamic, and really really really really interesting to me. I was only in that class for half a semester before medical reasons caused me to withdrawl temporarily, a temporary which, still hasn’t been resumed.

About a year after this I was considering going back, except now I was ready for a hiatus from Art. The more serious-minded Art & Design professors I had, beat certain principles for art into my head. Which backed up on the strong foundation art practices I already knew. I can honestly say now years and years later, that Yes Ms. Inman I really do understand what you were trying to say. Yes, Ms. Inman I am really glad you were my teacher. Yes Ms. Pembroke you were 100% right. Also Mr. Vitale I should have listened and transferred into the 3d animation program with how good I was at computer-art. That is still my strongest skill.

However I was rebelling, and I wanted something new. Art History stuck in my head, as did Medieval and Dark Ages history in general. So I started looking into a college in Wichita Kansas. Again the numbers and costs daunted me, and I wound up working until I could figure out how to pay for more schooling. Insert a few years, and working in everything from call-centers, fast-food, and maybe ironically Graphics Design… Which I did turn out to be good at – but that Job pointed out exactly how much I actually HAD learned. Then it was a task of continuing to learn, on my own.

All college is to me right now is a debt.

Quite frankly if someone walked up to me and said “Hey, here’s a free pass to college. No debts, no loans, and oh yeah we’ll make sure you have enough to support yourself while focusing on school.” Then ZOMG Yes I’d put everything into becoming a teacher. If being a teacher was the stipulation for that amazing thing happening.

I do in fact love kids, and I have a whole new perspective on learning and just how important it is.

However, that is only one of about a dozen or so various career’s I can think of which I would say the same thing to. Before I became a bus driver, there were a lot of thing’s I’d have liked to go back to school for. Only a few, would I consider liking enough to even begin to consider the amount of debt I’d accumulate.

One is still History. I’ve wanted to do that one since maybe 8th grade, study the pre-classical world. . Now that particular desire has grown up a bit, into a strong liking for Art-History (specifically older art/artifacts), and historical Cultural Anthropology. What would I DO with it though?

So, school-teacher? Maybe, if I was an art-teacher I’d love that. My interests are too specific to be a general school teacher…

Other things I’d go back to school for: East Asian Studies – Japanese Language/Culture.  Art History. TESOL. Animation. Graphics Design (and get my degree). Illustration. History. English/Creative Writing. Carpentry. Architectural Design. Massage Therapy.

I am quite miffed that I have such a broad range of things I wish to learn. Most colleges will only accept you if you enroll in a full-time specific curriculum. Which makes sense. However, I wish there was a way I could take, random courses that interest me for the rest of my life. That’s not very efficient however, no career at the end either. That doesn’t stop me from learning on my own, I just know teachers, especially college ones are more interesting than books.

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