My first job, before I even finished high school was at a museum. I was a guide and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it for more or less 5 years. You get to work with people, teach them something and learn stuff in return.
My second job, before I even finished my bachelor’s degree was as a teacher. To me, it was almost natural, after all, I’ve been doing something quite similar for 5-odd years. So I presented my resumé and was promptly hired in my old high school. It was all fun for a semester. I LOVED my students and had more fun than I thought I deserved. I also had some panic attacks and at least one crisis that I can recall. Those were good days.
On my second semester I started teaching biology (I started out teaching environmental science). We got to the ever so amazing topic of evolution, and one kid blurts out: “Miss, do you believe in God?”. That is not the issue here. “Do you believe in evolution?”. It’s not a matter of belief. “Do you have values?”. Again, not the issus here. “My religion teacher says that evolution did not happen to humans”. “What!!??” That did it.
After much tongue biting, many mentions of Gould’s NOMAs, and one confrontation with the aforementioned teacher who cites PHYSICISTS as her main source of information on evolution, I finally came to my boss and gave a long heartfelt speech about how my beliefs and ideas, and those of the school that I worked for (it is a strongly religious institution) clashed with what I thought was my responsibility as a teacher to impart sound scientific education, at least about biology.
I taught environmental science once more, and by the end of that semester I found out that I was denied teaching a summer course, and was also denied tenure, besides having seniority, and being a specialist in my field. Whether there were issues of favouritism or not, I cannot say, nor if my not yet belligerent atheism played a role. Truth be told, I started feeling more and more uncomfortable, and I realized that my attitude towards religion, and science and education got me to a dead end in that school, although this might not have been an explicit issue with my employers. Also, I was being told to use the same material everybody else was using, and since I’m big on academic freedom, and learning for fun, I categorically refused, which resulted in yet another clash with my coworkers and boss.
Thoroughly offended at my being ignored for both a tenure and a summer course, and after some serious “soul searching”, I up and left my resumé at the rival university’s highschool, and after a long summer waiting to hear from them while in bed with Dick, I finally annoyed them enough to hire me.
This new gig is not only one mile from my house, but also the university is strong on academic freedom, is secular, and has among it’s principles that the teachers have to be passionate about learning. I’m in fracking hea-ven. I love my kids, I’ve started an astronomy club that is successful in spite of the less than perfect skies and the only downside is that I’m teaching chemistry… but I really have fun with it and I’m trying my best. I swear.
And that’s how I left my job