Je suis fatigue.

When I was in high school, I took a French language class. I didn’t do well; my brain found it too confusing, which is odd since I easily got an A in Japanese when I went to college.  But that’s not the point of this story.

The class used a series of immersive videos called French in Action to help teach the class.  In one of them, an old woman tells her age, and then says “Je suis fatigue” (I am tired) in a tone that implies it isn’t about being sleepy, but that she is very tired of life.  That phrase, as she said it, and her face, have stuck with me for 27 years now.

Je suis fatigue.  I am so very tired.

I am tired of being savaged in the press–not me personally, but my profession.  I am tired of the divisive nature of American politics, in which people who disagree with you aren’t just in disagreement, but Evil People Out To Destroy Us.

I am tired of students who treat me like their servant, who seem to think that being a teacher is the lowest form of work in the world, and that disrespecting me while demanding an unreasonable amount of respect for themselves is the way to do well in the world.  I am tired of my students making it clear that they do not care about their own education.  And I am tired of the parents who think it’s none of their concern.

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About Michael Johnston

Father of a fifth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-six years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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2 Responses to Je suis fatigue.

  1. Raven says:

    Sigh. Teachers have the strongest unions in North America. All that bad press is aimed at breaking them down. It’s calculated, evil, and motivated entirely by corporate greed.
    But, being a high school teacher? You’re just asking for punishment. 😉 Teens treat everyone that way.

  2. True enough. And yeah, 35 of them at a time is brutal. There are certainly days I yearn for a desk job as a cubicle monkey. On the other hand, I do get a lot of time off, and that just barely makes up for the pain of the ten months I’m on full time.

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