I dunno, man, this whole, “They’re teaching me things in high school that don’t even matter! When am I even gonna use this crap!” mentality bugs the mess out of me because I am actively trying to teach my students things that really do matter in the long run.
Y’all think I like talking about essay structure every day of my life? You think I wanna be standing up here demonstrating how to deconstruct a writing prompt and teach correct citation methods? You think I get joy from talking about grammar? Do y’all honestly believe that I got into teaching English to teach technical writing and research methods? (Okay, maybe I like the research part a little bit.)
No! Heck no.
But I’ll be danged if they’re teaching you any of that stuff in college. Trust me, college professors did not spend a decade of their life and hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach their students how to construct a literary analysis or a research paper. That’s the plebeian high school teacher’s job. Once you cross that university threshold, it’s sink or swim. So in an effort to keep my students from sinking, I’m trying to take up the tedious task of teaching them how to swim.
It’s boring, yes. But it’s going to help my students later when they do what I did and get to college and realize that no one ever really taught them how to write and organize a paper or do research.
Believe me, I’d rather be teaching my students about how funky fun etymologies and talking about how every piece of literature is basically fanfiction of older literature and that letting them read original fairy tales that are hella scary and gory and showing them that queer/feminist/postcolonial/mythological/postmodern/psychoanalytical/ theory can be applied to every single movie or television show they have watched and video game they have played.
But it’s dictated by the powers that be that I don’t get that kind of freedom as a teacher until I earn a Master’s or a Doctorate and move on to “higher education.” Until then, it’s like the Rock says: know my role and shut my mouth.