Friday, June 14, 2013

Sometimes I Just Have to Write

I've been thinking about starting a blog for some time, even going so far as to seek some opinions on my title.  The few that answered liked it, so I kept it.  Why, you may ask, "The Unarmed Education Mercenary"?  Isn't that contradictory?  Perhaps.  I'm playing with several ideas here and I promise that I'll try to be more focused than I am on some social media.  For instance, I will lay off the hockey talk here.  I'm not going to tell you all about me to start with. Just like in real friendships, you'll learn as we go.

Union thug teacher
Unarmed:  I chose this word in response to the wild aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting in December of 2012.  That shooting occurred on my last day of finals for the semester.  In fact, I had no idea it had even happened until the last students were finishing up their writings and I flipped my phone on to see early reports of a school shooting.  Only later, after going home and having time to read more did I understand the horrific-ness of what had happened.  Then began all sorts of crazy talk, the most insane of which was to arm teachers.  Do what now?  Had these people met teachers?  There's more than one I can recall from both high school and college that I wouldn't want within 100 yards of a firearm!  Seriously.  Let's not even get into some of the colleagues I've taught with....not everyone is stable.  As to me, I grew up in a hunting culture and was taught gradually, over many years, proper respect, techniques, and safety.  It wasn't something I learned in a two week crash course!  Good grief we can't even afford books in some schools so how in the heck are we going to afford guns and training?!  Anyway, arming teachers is absurd to me and even though I know how to shoot, I would not carry a weapon to school.  I was trained to take a careful shot, with time and practice.  I was not trained to shoot in high stress and/or hostage situations.  I'm not saying I couldn't do that, but I am saying it isn't the same thing.

Education:  Teaching is what I have been trained to do.  I have a degree in that and it is what I have been doing on and off since 2001.  It is my calling.  I do this work because I love it.  I certainly didn't get into it to get rich, although I did expect to be able to make a living.  I read about it, I talk about it, and I do it.  I have worked in several other fields, but even in those I found myself being asked to teach or train others for the jobs they needed to do.

Mercenary:  This word refers to my status as an adjunct faculty member.  I just read earlier today that we're now in the majority.  I wish that statistic meant that adjunct faculty were treated better nationwide, but it doesn't.  Until recently I though of myself as one of the lucky ones in the temporary faculty field:  I was able to maintain a full-time job with good wages and benefits.  However, this coming year my place of employment cut all temps to just under full-time and I had to find some extra classes to make up for the lost money. Thanks to a good friend, I managed to do this, but now I join the legions of highway heroes traveling between schools in order to make ends meet.  I still apply for full-time, permanent work, but I read the articles and reports:  the outlook people like me isn't the best.  There are a lot of hired gun adjuncts out there holding the United States' higher education system together.  (I also like the play of the word "mercenary" against "unarmed" in the title.)

That's the explanation.  I hope to post here at least once a week.  That may be setting the bar a bit high come fall.  I just received all my schedules for my schools and let's just say things will be a challenge.


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