Help Get me to grad school. I am working on finalizing my admission into grad school for human services. Help me help people. It’s that simple. Click the link and please donate. Peace.
In August I got a job that required me to almost always work 7 days a week for 8-12 hours a day. I was exhausted everyday but I had never seen my bank account look so good. I was making and saving so much money that I no longer had to do the shameful login to my mobile banking app on Monday morning after a weekend of spending. The fact that I was able to save hundreds of dollars each time I got paid kept me from continuously complaining about how sleepy and over worked I was.
About two and a half months in the contract for my position was negotiated and we were awarded a raise. However, the supervisors began to treat the staff like slaves. And looking back I’m sure they had always treated us that way but money had kept me blinded. I didn’t want to complain but going into the third month I started to feel like I was selling my soul. I talked to my coworkers in my office and other offices and they too shared my feelings. I felt like less of a human and I felt under appreciated for all of the work I had been contributing.
I found another job and put in my two weeks. Although the money was good I had a goal to become a teacher. I had to make a decision on whether I wanted to follow my passion and take a major pay cut or continue being over worked and well paid. I choose to continue my path to become a teacher.
Every week that I get my paycheck I’m extremely dissatisfied. I’m not saving as much nor making as much as I did a few months ago. This situation I’m sure happens to so many people. Where we come to a point that we have to choose whether to be successful in terms of making a ton of money or being successful in a way that means something to us. I chose the latter. As crazy as it sounds being successful for me isn’t a union job with great negotiations of pay and benefits. My definition of success looks like reaching the goals that I set and feeling well worth the work that I do. On my road to becoming a teacher I already feel that this sacrifice of money has been worth it. I have a classroom of young boys who I absolutely adore and who I feel benefit more from my presence than I could have ever imagined. My road to teaching is far from over but I’m glad that I chose my version of success for right now.
Why is it that so many people are forced to chose between doing something they love and doing something that pays well? I miss the money but I damn sure don’t miss the abuse.
I had the pleasure of reading a fellow blogger’s post titled “The Plight of the Safe Black Man” and with her many well made points there is one in particular that stands out to me the most, “All too often Black men (boys, girls and women as well) are criminalized. Criminalized at work, in school, in the neighborhood and on the news.”
I see this everyday in my place of employment. I’m a behavioral health worker in an urban school in Philadelphia. The school demographic is primarily Black and Latino students and a small percentage being non Black or Latino. Many of the parents of the Latino students use their children as translators when it comes to interacting with school staff. I watch as staff belittle these students and their families due to a lack of understanding.
I have worked in urban schools before and I saw the same treatment of Black and Brown students in contrast to their non Black peers.
As a behavioral health worker I observe and analyze the treatment, triggers, and behavior of not only my students but any students that I come in contact with. There is a pattern. When Black and brown students misbehave they are left to roam the hallways and rarely is action taken to redirect or encourage the student to turn back to class. In many cases they are deemed a lost cause. This being the case, teachers are giving students the boot at the first sight of a student’s disruption and have little regard if they complete classwork or learn that day.
In a much different scenario non Black or brown students are approached by one and sometimes two teachers at a time. School staff list out the rewards and learning opportunities that children will miss if they do not return to class. The staff use bargaining and whatever it takes to make sure these students properly transition back into their classes. Black and brown students are criminalized in the most shameful ways. I have a class of 11 “behaviorally challenged” boys. The second that a few of them step foot in the school their every step is repeated across walkie talkies with staff being warned of their arrival. They are either bombarded by staff who look for myself and my co-worker to “deal” with the students or completely ignored because no one wants the responsibility.
The treatment that Black and brown students receive shares little similarity to those who are non Black. It sickens me that even from a young age they are criminalized and degraded and given up on. These reactions are not uncommon. These students are taught that they do not belong in general population and sent to ES classrooms or SpEd classrooms. They have little to no engagement with their peers for recess and stay in one class for 90% of their day. They are taught in schools that they are different. Their classrooms are contracted out by companies like mine because no one wants to interact with these children or has the training to do so. They are seen as aggressive and pose a threat to non Black staff who do not possess the social competency to interact with the urban students or their families. The system seems to be a setup for black and brown children.
It’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything on this blog. There’s been family issues, car issues, work issues, money issues, school issues etc. However, when life gets thick for me I always refer back to my writing. A time where I actually had time and things ran smoothly for me. Here I am hoping that the time for smooth sailing has come once again.
Since June of 2015 I’ve had over 5 different jobs in a number of fields and there’s no telling how many interviews I’ve been on. Since that time I have also acquired an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s degree in a field that I thought would carry me into the career of my dreams. WRONG. Life threw a curveball and at one of these jobs I found my calling, Teaching. So, since this realization I’ve been taking the necessary steps to rebuild my game plan but also land me into the career field where I want to be.
Often times I found myself looking at my peers and seeing how some of their lives seemed to be “on track” and running “right.” WRONG. The best advice that I could give to myself looking back is to “never judge your progress based on someone else’s timeline.”
The best thing for me and any person to do is to focus on yourself and your strengths and reaching your goals. At the end of it all everything leads back to YOU. I’ll admit that I became worried when I graduated twice and didn’t immediately have a job lined up and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. But that was ok. What works for someone else didn’t work for me. Only I can pick and choose the perfect path to guide me to my goals.
Right now I have an outline of a plan (nothing is ever perfect) and I’m executing that plan one step at a time. I’m starting yet another job but this time I feel passionate about the field, the people and the work. That’s something that I’ve never experienced before. I’m excited for new peaks, highs, lows, goals, and success. I’m going up. I just have to trust myself.