Four of Cups
This card reminds you to start your day with a minimum of four cups of coffee. Or tea. Or extra-strength diesel fuel because you’re going to need it to muster the strength to even consider another day in the classroom. As you ponder your contribution to your school community, mindlessly consume all the caffeine and social media you can to get you through your day. Alternatively, this could represent the number of glasses of wine needed to forget how little of a difference you make in the lives of children on a daily basis. Either way, your unhealthy coping mechanisms are the only way to survive yet another year of being overworked and unappreciated.
VII. The Chariot
The Chariot tells you that you’re on your way… to your thankless job! Breathe in as you offer gratitude to your certified pre-owned car for trudging up the final hill to get to school at an ungodly hour. Breathe out as you collect the seven bags you bring to and from work to be prepared for any eventuality. Breathe in as you load them up onto the rolling cart that is supposed to be your classroom. Breathe out as you realize that any attempt to get a headstart on your day while catching up from the previous day is futile because the damn copier is jammed again. Sigh… you’re having more of a Reversed Chariot kind of day… or week… or career.
Three of Pentacles
This card is an encouragement to be the master, student and model each day. Draw three pentagrams on the floor of the classroom and burn some sage to drive away the ghosts and body odor of students past. When your administrator pops by for an unannounced observation, calmly explain that you were exorcizing unwelcome energies as you pray to Spirit that your students will be on their best behavior. Remind yourself that you’re a goddamn professional even when a tape dispenser flies across the room narrowly missing your administrator who is texting instead of actually seeing the magic you create.
There’s no reason to be scared of this card because it does NOT portend a physical death. For teachers, it’s soul death or how you feel before first period even starts. You look at your student loan debt, continuing education expenses, the maximum yearly deduction of $250 that you spent during one trip to Staples, and realize you won’t have enough money for groceries in your monthly budget. You’ll subsist on the paltry granola bars and snack packs leftover from summer camp and slowly turn into a lifeless corpse. Parents will see this as an improvement and finally stop complaining about you teaching critical race theory. You realize you’ve actually been dead your whole career and embrace the rotting stench of flesh as you fix the broken copier yet again.
Nine of Swords
This card usually represents the breaking point of mental anguish. That moment comes in this year’s active shooter training in which you and your colleagues are dropped in the middle of the cafeteria to practice barricading doors and evacuating out of windows while shooting each other with nerf bullets and keeping track of casualties. While the national debate rages on about whether you should be equipped with firearms, your math colleague is collecting protractors as weapons while the PE teacher silently coaches us on our swings using the A team’s softball bats. All you wanted was to instill a love of learning and here you are, an underfunded soldier on the front line of defense against entitlement, misinformation and a lack of compassion in this world. Please send hopes and prayers.
XVI. The Tower
Expect everything to go to hell when you pull The Tower. It becomes clear that the very structure of a system that hasn’t been changed since The Industrial Revolution is somehow not working under late stage capitalism. The teacher shortage has extended to your school and no one with a pulse seems willing to hang out with adolescents for the day, so they’ve filled the vacancies with scarecrows. This means that the budget that would have gone to finally fixing the damn copier is instead allocated to hay. The teachers who remain on the faculty are tasked with sewing differentiated costumes for each imitation of a teacher. It doesn’t matter that scarecrows lack humanity, a degree and a credential, the kids don’t notice anyway and just sit there scared shitless like little crows.
Eight of Wands
This card represents creative freedom! It’s 3:15! You’re no longer contractually obligated to perform any duties! Run away! Run FAR away! You’re free! Oh, except there’s a parent phone call at 3:30, a faculty meeting at 3:45, you still have to grade everything from the day, follow up on the 1,482 emails that piled up since this morning, and somehow do it all again tomorrow with no bathroom breaks and on three hours of sleep. Well, you decided on this profession, didn’t you? You must love sacrificing your bodily needs, sanity and sense of worth as your desires are left untended. Because it’s for the kids, right? Right. Now get back to work, you worthless pile of garbage. Nothing personal, it’s just what the card says.