Teaching: The Trenches of the Culture War

So today my life took a very interesting turn.

I just graduated college in December and had a few months of misadventure in New York City.

I have been back in the Dallas area since the end of February. I made two career moves, I got a night job at 7-11 and applied for a teaching certification program.

The program I applied to accepted me.

If all goes according to plan I will be teaching this fall, after some harrowing unpaid training this summer.

The prospect of teaching fascinates me on a lot of levels.

My own political world view hinges to a great extent about things I believe about education.

Like most people my own political views have developed throughout the experiences of my life. My life has given me many inputs for my perspective, but one of those is that since I left my parents house at the age of 16 I have yo-yoed in and out of the middle class.
My own experiences have included having using food stamps and living without medical insurance, and a few years later driving a relatively new car while living in a nice Dallas apartment with a guard at the entrance.

I believe that one of the major factors in american poverty is a lack of education among our citizenry.

Many studies have revealed that the average American's academic knowledge is down right shameful. Things like not knowing the Sun revolves around the Earth or being unable to name more than 2 or 3 American presidents.

I believe that education emancipates people from poverty. It has done so for me.

I am a highschool drop out.

I worked odd jobs and had some failed attempts to start my own business from ages 16 to 25. When I was 25, 4 years ago, I enrolled in college.

I should add, with the lowest ACT score that my first school would accept.

I quickly hammered out a good GPA and got myself into an HHMI (which is a major science funding organization) undergraduate research program and into an Honors College.

I transferred to UT Dallas and finished a degree in Neuroscience there. I continued doing undergraduate research which included a fellowship with the SURF program at UT Southwestern, which is a graduate school which hosts something like 4 nobel laureates in Biology.

What am I doing now?

Working nights at 7-11 but my education has given me both the credentials and wherewithall to land a job as a teacher, which pays a little more than 4 times what my job at 7-11 pays.

There are a lot of factors to consider in this. I could be getting work because society has developed to much restriction for living wage pay based on college diplomas. That may be, but thats all the more reason to make sure as many people as can get one.

I will be working as a Bilingual Generalist grades: 4-8. I don't know what I will be teaching exactly with that title. But I do know I will be working with Hispanic kids.

I think this is fantastic.

I will be dealing with a marginalized population which depends very deeply on the Catholic Church for its social services.

I am going to be a Latino Secular Humanist in the position of trying to educate these kids.

I have no idea what I'm in for, but one thing is for sure it will be intense for me because of all my deep beliefs about society. I will be on the frontlines of so many issues I care about, integrity in teaching, populist desires for education equality, immigration issues. I will be right there.

Which is exactly the kind of thing I want from a job.

I have a lot of goals for the work I want to do in the Dallas area. Including some lofty goals for establishing a Center for Inquiry here.

Check out their website at http://centerforinquiry.net

If teaching becomes too much of a hinderance for those goals I may reconsider my career decision. But it seems to me that all careers worth doing come with severe time demands and to be prudish about that is to condemn oneself to a life of meaningless toil.

I have to have a job.

I would like it to be one I love.

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Comment by Mindcore on April 7, 2009 at 8:35pm
lol. I do have that in mind as well.
Comment by Zachary Moore on April 7, 2009 at 2:12pm
This is awesome. I think the Latino community is desperately in need of skepticism and secular humanism. African Americans have Norm Allen, Greydon Square, and Neil deGrasse Tyson as role models; who can the Latino community look to for inspiration? Somebody like me would be useless in that role; I'm whiter than most albinos.

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