Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark clouds
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
—William Butler Yeats
I hate marking papers.
I thought for sure in the last couple of weeks before the end of the semester my schedule would be a little bit looser. Fate didn’t think so. In fact she stuck her tongue out and jeered, “Guess what?”. When I had planned for my week, I found I still have a huge stack of final papers to go through, hundreds of evaluation sheets to tally and compile its data to make a report and a staggering load of essays still in the backlog.
My 2 hours of writing to preserve my sanity was going to be compromised.
This is the part I fucking absolutely hate in teaching in a formal academic setting.
Paperwork. Because it’s often expected that a teacher often brings home work and you tend to use your spare time doing that. My sister wouldn’t trade her bank job for mine when she sees me lugging home a sack (literally) full of papers and then settling down to mark them while she kicks off her pumps and watches American Idol.
Instead of waking up excited everyday to do my writing, I’m grumpy and suicidal because I’m using scarce precious hours on goals that aren’t mine but someone else’s. I know it makes me miserable but unless I want to lose my job, I have to do them.
If I procrastinate on that mountain of paperwork, I’m going to have an anxiety attack and then as a result procrastinate and grow even more anxious as the backlog grows to gigantic proportions till the deadline looms nearer and I know I’ll have to put in all-nighter, my stress levels going through the roof, I’ll probably do a messy job and then I’ll have a memo waiting for me.
I do not want to be stuck in this lifestyle because I do consciously want to pursue my dreams and am making an effort to slowly start supporting myself through my writing but how can I do that when my job demands more and more time from me everyday? It’s a sick cycle. I’m aware of the truth of the situation I’m in. I want to get out of it but the situation won’t allow it unless I cut off all the ties. Go broke. Get out there exposed in the cruel world without a shield –naked, shivering, alone and hopeless.
I’d like to escape this rigid academic college setting and go back to language teaching but I still had some horrible scars from the latter. It demanded a lot from you to the point of giving you no day offs for a couple of weeks, having you make an entire book from scratch, call you at 7 in the morning on your supposed day off work because a teacher got a hangover from clubbing and would you get your ass here and no we won’t pay for your transportation and overtime and we won’t give you another extra day off for this because it’s your fucking job. What do you expect this school to be –a friggin’ spa?
So remembering all those sick memories, I’ll stick to my college job and its ugh paperwork, thank you very much and still earn thrice more than from that horrible job.
But I can’t afford to be too complacent in my present situation either. I shouldn’t. The new semester rears its ugly head closer and closer. It’ll be here in a couple of days but this time I’ll make sure it doesn’t snatch me away from my temple of nirvana, my brief moment to dance in heaven with the angels. Control the amount of homework I give out. Take on less teaching hours even if I have to suffer a pay cut. I’m willing to earn half of what my salary is today if I can spend my days doing what I love.
Because money isn’t important. Being happy is.