birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Noblest Profession

I'm a teacher and I hate my job. People are always praising teachers about how noble they are, how selfless, how underappreciated. And English teachers? The noblest of them all, teaching a subject people either love or hate but never see as important as Calculus or Physics, despite the fact that most of us use English skills every day and might only rarely have to figure out alternating current circuits. "I so admire what you do, and for so little pay, too!" they smile, going on to vote for the next doofus who does lip service to an education budget but changes nothing.

Don't get me wrong. I love teaching. I feel like I make the world a better place. Studying literature makes people more empathetic, understanding, critical thinkers. Since literature is inherently interdisciplinary, I have a familiarity with history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, geography, science, and I really value this space that allows me to employ all of my talents and interests.

But I am sick of college students and their entitled needs. I am sick of colleagues and their long debates over attendance policy. I'm sick of teaching and grading 80+ hours a week and then having to serve on ridiculous committees to justify earning nearly 40K each year. I'm sick because I have two degrees and make two times less than the bachelor's-holding business major. I'm sick of the fearful bubbles I get in the pit of my stomach when I hand back papers in my gun-friendly state to a room full of white men who lose all feigned Southern respect for this brown woman when they don't like their grades.

And I know it's all my fault. I was the stupid one who switched from Biology to English in college because I had all the credits. And I just flowed on into the graduate school because there weren't any jobs for a Great Recession Grad. And I was the stupid one who stopped there because I landed a full-time job and there aren't many jobs for PHD holders.

At this point, what keeps me at my job is the autonomy I get that I wouldn't get in primary or secondary school and the three months a year we call summer break that allow me to work from home. Give me a job with that flexibility and even just 10,000 more a year, and I'm out of here.

But please don't tell my department chair.

Money Money Money

Too Close to Home