The Giver

The Giver

As I sit here pondering what to do with the publish button on this post, the words Freedom of Speech come to mind, but on the other hand I think freedom of firing and all…yet, I still feel compelled to write about this institution that I have given my blood, sweat, tears, and time to for eight years that has failed and continues to fail me miserably time and time again.

I willingly continue to be the loyal puppy in this world of high demand/low pay and yet continue to gain nothing for what I have given. I serve and accommodate and surrender, and yet I still am left feeling that it’s never enough. I pack my plate with one demand after another with nothing being removed from that dreadfully heavy plate because “It’s my job.”

Yet, is it really one’s job to give everything required, more than what is necessary, and do it all in an expected silent trance of submission with absolutely nothing in return but a paycheck (sad at best) and a free yearbook portrait? (thanks I love having a 5×7 and four wallets taken of me trying to take a 5 second break and smile as though I’m happy and trying desperately not to commit a felony so I can preserve the memory for a lifetime in a $25 yearbook.) “Here mom…”

All I really see is the once fresh, glowing face of my first year and the progression it has taken to a mere shadow of that girl and one that now knows a little too many dirty, dark secrets of this “underworld.” One may say someone in my profession does nothing but complain. (I can’t stand those folks–I get it!)

The question that needs to be asked is why do so many complain, have dark circles under their eyes, look like the weight of the world is resting on their shoulders, and want to inhale sugar, fat, carbs, and gluten down their throats 24 hours a day 7 days a week for a mere 30 seconds of satisfaction?

I know why…but that is not what the story is about today.

People see the profession that I’m in as easy. They think summers off and days ending by 3:00. The truth is, I rarely see my living room before 6:25 pm, I’ve left it by 7:15 am, and my summers are full of endless meetings, plans that inevitably include a new curriculum/idea/computer program etc. that must be learned/prepared/implemented before the new year begins.

So, why not quit and do something else? Well, I like so many others, had a career other than being a dispenser of knowledge and quit that to pursue this. I left a job where I made three times as much as I do now simply because this was the desire of my heart, I wanted to be around to raise my children, and I knew I would be great at it. Ha!

If it was ever about the money, I would never have left my successful career or I would’ve jumped ship from this years ago–and that, my friend, is how myself and so many others in this field feel.

We are servants at heart. We are not here for fame and fortune (clearly), but for what our gut tells us to do and the gift that has been bestowed upon us.

I am finally at the point in my career that I feel like ethically I cannot continue down this path for very much longer. That what is being asked of me is parallel to being asked to steal–steal someone’s creativity, someone’s triumphs, and someone’s self-discovery of how to be independent, self-sufficient, and a survivor in this ever so competitive world.

I leave this post vague and somewhat questionable, because not only do I have a family to feed, I know that those that are swimming/sinking in this same boat as myself…know…and they too are looking for answers…and change.

They say when someone’s heart stops beating they seep instead of bleed out because the heart no longer pumps the blood. Well, my heartbeat for what I do is declining dramatically. It’s getting weaker and weaker, and seems to be unwilling to take the beating as it once did, and I’m afraid I’m beginning to seep and along with that seeping the truth is bound to seep out as well.

About Amy Rafferty Slagle

I am a middle school teacher juggling career, husband (ooh la la), and twin tomboys (good grief). I have a passion for writing and crave laughter just about as much as frozen yogurt. This is my attempt at sharing the madness of my world, my mind, and my humor. View all posts by Amy Rafferty Slagle

4 responses to “The Giver

  • amyhullwatson

    You are awesome..!!! Follow your heart and it will lead you in the direction it needs to go! Sad this is the way the school system is but you are among the best or you would have never been teacher of the year.!

  • LT. Janet L. Slagle

    Amy,
    I relate to this subject because in my field we have some of the same problems. They continue to ask more and more of us, physically and mentally. They expect us to be servants to the community in which we serve with literally our lives. We miss birthdays,holidays, special events, only to have people say all we do is sleep. Well I wish I could have just a small portion of that imaginary sleep they say I get. The truck I ride ran 4000 calls last year. While they are sleeping tight in their beds I and others are up working! Don’t get me wrong I take the good with the bad with the public. The out look on what we do is so misconstrued, 90% of my guys have college degrees. We just don’t put water on the wet stuff and put a band aid on a boo boo. All of us are at least EMT”S or higher as a paramedic. We do everything from IV’s, cardiac, meds, intubation, chest tubes and we also have fire science degrees! Yes, the fire service has come along way. We are considered Ditch Doctors, the face you want to see when your child, husband and special person in your life is dying before your eyes. We will crawl under a crushed car, hold your hand , be with you when the Lord takes you, run in a burning building to save your loved one including your animals! Also, fix your a/c, turn off your broken pipes, cut trees off your house and a variety of trades that are not really in our job description . I have had a gun pulled on me, cussed out, spit on, had people hit me for just trying to help….
    Now I have seen people leave the job they LOVE and have given their all for! This year alone have I seen people with years and years of experience and talent walk out the door! Its sad, disheartening ! I love my job, not the pay! We all have to work second jobs to make it. I have 12 guys at my stations, all have second and third jobs! We all at one time loved our jobs.
    Maybe we all need to look at the “other guy” and try to see that its not easy! I understand. I see and do the long days, long nights, setting up for the next day, next shift. We put our children and families on hold, to find that we are unappreciated and that others just don’t get it!

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