Don't Smile Until December by Amanda Iacampo

Don’t Smile Until December

by Amanda Iacampo

You are more than a resume. You are more than the credentials listed on your resume. You are more than the resume that helped you earn your paycheck. Remember to use this paycheck well, and don’t forget to pay your bills. It’s okay to roll out of bed in the morning. It’s okay to roll out of bed in the morning and to smoke a cigarette on the drive to work. You can breathe whatever air you choose, and be choosy about who you let ride in your car. It’s a lease and you pay for it. You pay for it with your bill money.

Don’t forget to call your mother once a day. Don’t forget to call your aunt once a day. Don’t forget to call both grandfathers, and your grandmother once a day. This is how you wake up in the morning. This is how you wake up in the morning, after countless hours spent worrying about your mother’s cancer coming back, and go to work.

This is how you plan a lesson. This is how you plan a lesson for 100% active engagement. This is how you a plan a lesson with homework that your students will not do. Try not to assign homework over the weekend, or they might start to hate you more than the homework you assign.

Don’t smile until December. Don’t smile until December unless you want your bosses and colleagues to hate you. It’s okay not to care about the way you look. It’s okay to care about your students more than you care about yourself. This is how you treat students like human beings, not minions in a chair. This is how you get taken advantage of for being kind. This is how you get lied to.

This is how to embrace the white walls of an empty apartment. This is how to embrace the whiteness of a whiteboard with dry markers that you can’t afford. You need to buy booze, gas, and cat food. You cannot afford new markers for your whiteboard. It’s okay to eat off the dollar menu for dinner. It’s okay not to eat off the dollar menu for dinner. Cooking meals is overrated; you’re not Betty Crocker.

This is how a student makes you feel appreciated. This is how to react when that one student says, “I’m playing with myself” when you ask them what they’re doing instead of their school work. Remember to remember that they’re all going to forget you in ten years. Forget to remember that perhaps you changed a few lives.

This is how you keep going. This is how you keep going and forget to remember why you became a teacher. Forget to remember that in your heart, you’re a writer. Remember to remember, or remember to forget, that’s it’s all part of the resume that earned you the 9 to 5—or 7 to 3. This is a blurb of prose not worth reading. It’s called “Don’t Smile Until December.”