Teachers being called an essential worker at the onset of lock-in was a nice thing to hear about the profession but felt like a back-handed compliment. Teacher’s pay did not go up. There were no benefits provided to reflect the words being bandied about by those in power stating how grateful they were for the essential service.
Life got harder. The job went from teaching, to teaching and learning a new system, and teaching beyond the teachers’ subject of expertise to guide students to learn online, and embracing new technologies that had been mandated by institutions in response to government restrictions. Whew! Essentially it was exhausting, like running on the spot in a bad dream while chained to a desk.
People all around were being paid to stay home and do nothing but teachers were asked to stay home and do more with no extra pay.
The commute was much shorter though.
I teach and it’s always been a challenge to keep up with the rising cost of living given the stagnated wages available; and I think all this with guilt because even though I struggle I know that compared to many I do well.
How much things are worth and why they have that worth I have never really understood, I’m not the number crunching type. It’s hard to keep up with costs and taxes and living expenses, and whenever I seek out some self-help financial advice it always says, ‘put aside money for leisure’. It would be leisurely to not have to worry about money.
Surely there was a subject at school that taught how to manage navigating the modern world, or at least understanding money. A little information on how a mortgage works or what a franking credit is or how to open an offshore bank account; but I think you have to go to specific schools to learn that stuff…
Information is something that I like to investigate, even so I could never find the time to work, keep training for my job to keep it, learn new things to stay relevant so I can earn a living, and educate myself on the financial system. The plan is to have a home right? To be able to stop working and enjoy old age and look back over a worthwhile life, but I could never see that happening when my wage has only ever barley covered the rent.
Trying to learn about money when you have none causes depression, it always seems to come back to that saying, ‘you have to have money to make money’. Not having any to make any with can leave little clue as to how it all works. The internet offers answers for most questions except money. I really tried to understand by starting at the beginning but had to stop trying to make sense of the nonsense because I went cross-eyed.
Understanding the idea of worth is a struggle and questions about value get pushed to the back of the mind with my immediate attention consumed by working and chasing money. The big conundrum was that my job was so fulfilling that it was invaluable to me enriching my life beyond any experience that money can provide, worth so much but with little value in the world of money.
Despite the extra workload imposed under restrictions I got into a rhythm where I could manage time better than before. The worthiest addition to my life was the time that I gained. This time has a richness that allows for reflection and to reach out into the world without having to run around exhausted. Time to look for new opportunities and reject all that seemed necessary before.
Teaching taught me long ago that the most valuable thing that you can give anyone is your time and now, compared to before, there is a wealth of it.
Time makes life richer than anything that value can be placed upon.