Discovering the Relevance of Words
I almost made a huge mistake.
I saw a tweet from a 16(ish) year old girl who I did not know, a 16(ish) year old girl who could not even spell acquaintances correctly in her “bio”, a 16(ish) year old girl who was depressingly cynical for her age and I almost allowed myself to get into a “debate” with her about the nature of her missive. I am glad I did not.
Her original tweet claimed that teachers do not do their jobs for love of subject, learning, or students, but simply for a paycheck and summers off.
I did, to my shame, attempt to engage her in discussion but after she confused egocentric with egotistical, made the claim that teachers where she lives average $60k per year, and claim no one does a job for any reason other than a paycheck I decided I would be better to metaphorically save my breath. And my sanity. And a shred of faith in humanity.
When I was done with the Twitter machine I switched over to The Facebook where I saw not one but multiple teachers post a status including the number of school days left in the academic year and some variant of the term WOO-HOO!
This is why we can’t have nice things.
At that moment I was the peaceful Muslim looking at the Taliban, I was the racial minority in low income housing looking at the gangbanger on my block, I was the Pro-Choice Ob/Gyn looking at Kermit Gosnell, I was a gun owner looking at James Holmes or Adam Lanza or Shawn Scott or John Allen Muhammad or…
No, a teacher who looks forward to summer break is not a murderer. Not by any means. Not by any rational or reasonable comparison.
However, within every collection or “type” of person there is a stereotype and there are those who perpetuate the stereotype. And there are those who will judge the collective based on the stereotype.
At this point in the school year it is not even necessarily lazy to be counting down the few days left. Yes, you have earned a break- but keep in mind most Americans work twelve months out of the year (and get twelve month salaries, not nine) and may get the wrong impression of a bunch of people woo-hoo’ing their three month vacation. So, no, a teacher counting down to summer is certainly not a terrorist, gangster, murderer. They are not even necessarily lazy, but they certainly help to promote the negative stereotype.
And there are always those of us who hate the stereotype almost as much as the perpetuators.