You know how you wake up in the middle of the night after an argument and think, “Why didn’t I say...” Well, it’s the middle of the night, and I just woke up with one of those “Why didn’t I say” moments, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to go back to sleep until I get it off my chest.

The north end of the county, where I lived, was growing fast. New houses going up everywhere, and the school district scrambling to build new schools to keep up. The south end of the county, where I worked, was not becoming any less densely populated, but the population was aging so that there were fewer students in the schools. The numbers had dropped within our school boundaries to the point that we were going to have to give up two teachers - a science teacher and an English teacher. Two teachers would have to be transferred to north-end schools.

I liked my school. I liked the students, I liked the principal, and I liked my colleagues. But I hated the commute. When I’d gotten this job, housing was more expensive on the south end of the county, so I’d ended up buying a house at the other end. I’d told myself that in a year or two, I’d switch to a school closer to home so I wouldn’t have to drive so far. But, like I said, I liked my school, and I’d been making that long, grim drive for nine years. And the traffic got worse every year. What had been a 30-minute drive my first year was now (on good days) a 45-minute drive. On bad days, snowy days, rainy days, icy days, days when there was an accident on the freeway, that 45 minutes could stretch into hours. So I took a deep breath and volunteered. “I’ll go.”

So over the next months, I dutifully dressed up, put on my earnest face and interviewed with various schools on the north end. I was hired and was in the process of saying good-bye to the old, getting ready for the new which would begin next fall. And then, a couple of weeks before school let out for the summer, my principal called me into his office. He looked a bit shocked.

As I mentioned before, we were scheduled for two involuntary transfers, a science teacher and an English teacher. But we’d had two English teachers quit voluntarily - one had gone off to make babies, and another had returned to graduate school. And now the District had informed our principal that since I was qualified to teach English, instead of me going north to this other school which had already supposedly hired me, I was to stay put but begin teaching English instead of science.

Nine years of learning to teach science up in smoke. Nine years of lesson plans gone kablooey. Nine years of buying stuff with my own money that would be no good to me as an English teacher. Not to mention that I liked teaching science. Not to mention that I didn’t want to teach English. Not to mention that it was nine years since I’d taken an English class. I was going to be a first-year teacher all over again, and my methods classes wouldn’t even be fresh in my head.

I fought them. My principal fought them. I went to the union, and they turned belly up, the bastards. No wonder Utah has so much trouble getting people to join the union. You pay the dues for nine years, and when you go to them with a problem, they turn up their hands and say, “Gee, that’s too bad.”

A couple of days before the end of school, I was complaining bitterly to a small group of colleagues and friends in the hall after work, and our counseling intern gives me what she apparently thought was a supportive, compassionate look and says, “Well, I know you’ve never liked change.”

Well, all that happened five or six years ago. It took only four years of teaching English to burn me out to the bone. So now I stay home and write Everything2 daylogs, and sometimes I still wake up in the middle of the night and think, Why in the HELL didn’t I say, “Oh, and if you complained to me that you had been raped, I suppose I could pat you on the back and say, ‘Well, I know you’ve never liked sex.’”