I’m Glad I’m a Teacher and Not a Parking Inspector

Today I was fined by a parking officer for parking in a permit zone. I had only left my car for a few minutes, and clearly that’s all it takes.

On my way back from the shops I noticed a parking inspector processing a ticket by my car. I asked him what I did wrong. I pointed out the 1 hour parking sign. He pointed to another small sign among others that notified those with good eyesight that the spot was a permit zone on weekends but fine during the week.

I told him that I was only gone for a second and that I had made an innocent mistake. He didn’t pay attention. My daughter cried sensing something was wrong and becoming unsettled by the man’s presence. The man ignored her and kept on typing.

$75 – that’s what the tiny mistake cost me!

I realise that the man was doing his job. He probably has a wife and family to take care of and bills to pay. I don’t blame him for his actions or diminish his right to take on this job.

But ultimately, I’m so glad that I am a teacher and not a parking officer.

Parking officers serve no real value to the community. They are employed by council workers who should have enough revenue to waste through our overpriced rates. But no, through parking infringements, they have another steam of revenue they can waste in good measure.

Nobody is glad to see a parking inspector walking around. Nobody goes to lengths to welcome them or engage in small talk. Their job is to prey on people’s mistake and slug for an inordinate amount of money.

Teaching can be so much more than that. We can represent all that’s positive about this world. We can be mentors and role models. We can help children grow to reach their potential.

Unfortunately, we can also do a lot of damage. If we are not good at our job or our heart isn’t in it, we can be the manifestation of what is wrong with this world.

That’s the great challenge for teachers. To be the polar opposite of a parking inspector.

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