I love my job. Part of this love is birthed from sheer gratefulness, as jobs are few and far between these days. But often even those who are thankful to have jobs dread going to them. Not so with Mademoiselle Stone. I teach high school French, and basically when you are a high school teacher, you are a celebrity. True, you don’t get paid as much. Recently a college representative came to our school and gave the students information about why they should go to college. There was a pay scale graph in the pamphlet, showing the relationship between educational degrees and salary. According to said graph, I make more than someone who hasn’t finished high school, but still fall short of the person who has obtained their high school diploma. Oh the joys of teaching in private school. Still, as a young person living in central KY, it is enough to live on, so even that doesn’t deter me from my love of my job. Like celebrities, teachers spend all day being watched by the fickle masses who love you one minute before hating you the next. Like with celebrities these judgmental masses comment om every fashion choice and hair decision I. However unlike celebrities, I have to form these fashion decisions around a dress code that I am constantly on the verge of breaking. My “Teaching in France” wardrobe doesn’t quite cut it in Kentucky Christian Classical education. Quite frequently I come to school with a marker line across my legs at the 3 inches above the knee mark because I just can’t eyeball it.
Stardom does sometimes mean gifts, like these beautiful rolls of goat cheese. One of my students comes from a family who raises goats and makes homemade goat cheese. I am considering ways that I can earn more of said cheese because it is delicious. Sometimes I get cookies, and on my birthday I received a bar of dark chocolate, cards, a ziplock bag on animal crackers and a piece of beef jerky. Oh the spoils of fame.
But mostly I love my job because I get to spend all day having fun in French with amazing students. One minute I am singing songs about school supplies and the next I am running around the classroom like a dinosaur (ok, so I guess that didn’t really have much to do with French . . .). I get so excited about grammar that I can barely handle it, and when I read the seniors their first quarter memory poem, I cried. They of course, did not because of a lack of vocabulary, but tears will come with learning! I have always heard that saying that those who can’t do, teach. Though it is true that many liberal arts college graduates feel fit for nothing other than the classroom, it isn’t quite the truth. Those who teach, those who should teach, do so because they love a subject so much that they can’t bear to dilute it by applying it in some “practical” way. They just want to spend their lives plumbing the depths of something they love, imparting it to others and learning it afresh each day. These are the teachers.
Now back to grading papers. This would seem a boring task, but I encourage my students to draw pictures on the back of their quizzes. I have thus far uncovered a baby in a diaper jumping on trampoline screaming about its love for French, several monsters, one declaration of love for French in Spanish, and an Oktobere Fest collage.