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Job satisfaction 

I love Teacher Appreciation Week, which rolled around again recently. I know lots of people feel underappreciated in their jobs, but I don't think every complaint is equally legitimate. In fact, you shouldn't really qualify for the "Underappreciated Award" unless you can meet certain criteria, like for example, the likelihood of being thrown up on at some point. Which means only nurses, doctors, police officers, lifeguards and teachers qualify. (And maybe lawyers, but who cares?) The rest of you should stop kvetching, already.

Then again, pediatricians should probably be disqualified because even though they're the occasional victims of regurgitators, they make enough money to keep smiles on their faces. Sort of like Fear Factor: The price is steep, but the payoff is pretty good. And, I'd have to disregard lifeguards, because almost all of them are about college-age and are most likely doing their own regurgitating on their friends every Saturday night. Finally, you can't really count police officers, because hey, they have guns, and it's unlikely anybody's going to mess with them.

The joys of teaching children--especially teenagers--are too numerous to mention here, although I recite them religiously each night before I go to sleep. It's a joy to hear children laughing--like, say, during a test. And, when you play dodge ball with them and they hit you in the head with the ball for the fifth time and still think it's hilarious--well, joy, joy, joy!

When you're holding the head of a kid who has just thrown up on your shoes; and on your phone is a message from the child's parent telling you the child was sick that morning but she thought it would be all right to send them to school anyway (but of course call her if there's a problem); and you're dying to go home and disinfect, but you know there are no substitutes available so you'll have to clean up with paper towels in the faculty bathroom and come back to the classroom; and you have a meeting after school with a parent who wants to explain why her child, who called you a freakin' witch (you do the translation) really needs to get out of detention and back to class for his self-esteem; and after you clean up with toilet paper (because there are still no paper towels in the faculty bathroom) you go to your mailbox and there's your paycheck, which isn't enough to pay for the rent or the therapy you so desperately need ... well, you definitely feel somewhat unsung.

So, I say either pay teachers what they're worth (which could bankrupt the economy and leave us easy prey for a takeover by militant, up-chucking lifeguards), or get out there and buy your children's teachers a cookie, a box of candy, some flowers--or maybe even a Porsche.

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More by Victoria A. Wentz

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