Monday, June 19, 2017

What doesn't kill you makes for a pretty inspirational story

Now, the next chapter in what sounds like an incredibly horrifying story.  

Once my anger wore off, the freak-out started.  How was I going to pay rent?  How was this going to affect my career long term?  I'd stomped out and not signed anything, so did that mean he fired me or I resigned? Yes, I could probably use the unemployment pay, but I really didn't want it to look like I was told to leave.

There was nothing I could do at this point except start applying for jobs, fast.  But still, it was May, and as most teachers know, interviews for open teaching positions start in March.  The only jobs available at this point would be for awful schools or substitute positions. On the plus side, I'd started putting feelers out in April when it looked like I might not get my contract renewed, so I'd already had some applications in. 

I left on a Friday.  The following Monday, I got a call, asking to set up an interview Thursday for one of three administrative jobs that I would KILL for.  It almost seemed to good to be true, so I didn't get my hopes up.  Meanwhile, my phone was blowing up with calls and text from other teachers at DA asking where I was, what was going on, and did I need anything?  Debut's administration put out a story that I would be out for the rest of the year, period.  I just responded with "I'm okay, but I can't talk right now."  

DA emailed me a paper to sign, saying the school would call it a resignation if I promised not to badmouth the school.  I laughed and laughed, and then called my brother-in-law, who's an employment lawyer.  We spent the next two nights on the phone, figuring out what to do.  Did I want to sue them for wrongful termination?  He warned me that I might end up fired anyway with nothing if I tried to pursue action against them.  What I wanted was to get my paycheck for the month and walk away clean, but that didn't seem likely.  Still, I wasn't ready to sign the paper, because I felt the school owed me, even though Ken said I should just do it. I can be pretty reactive at times, but for some reason, I was stubborn now.  Ken kept telling me to sign, but I dug my heels in. 

Out of the blue, I got a voicemail from Mr. Glick.  He asked me to call him, saying that we had some things we needed to talk about, and he didn't want to communicate over email.  I called my brother-in-law.

"Ken, what do I do?  What does he want?" I felt weird and panicky about it.

Ken just laughed.  "Holy cow, Charly.  I don't know what you did or what dirt you have on him, but this is great."

"What do you mean?"

"It's time to make a deal."

Monday, June 12, 2017

If this is moving up then I'm moving out...

So, it's been a bad last few months, but a great last few weeks.

I'm no longer at Debut Academy.  The perfect job ended up turning into a perfect nightmare.  I'm not sure how it happened, except that I DO know how.  It began with the new principal, the one who came my second year, whose real name and whose euphemistic nickname, the one hurled at him behind his back, rhymes with "Glick."

Mr. Glick has never been a principal before.  He thinks that to be a good principal, all teachers have to agree with everything he says and does.  He doesn't like differing opinions or new ideas that aren't his.

Mr. Glick is also "highly concerned" with "maintaining the school's image."  So when I found evidence that a teacher in my department was giving out answers to the upcoming test and turned in proof of it (a photo of a student's notes), I was disciplined for "unprofessional behavior."  Apparently, cheating on tests is okay, but finding proof of a teacher's dishonesty and notifying the administration is conduct "unbecoming to a DA teacher."

I spent the rest of the school year angry and defending myself from accusations that got weirder and wilder as the year went on.  My principal said he kept needing to "check in" with me, because he'd "heard some stories and complaints," but wouldn't tell me who told him these stories or made the complaints.

When I told the administration that if they had such concerns about me as a teacher that they were welcome to come sit in and observe my classes, they all declined and said they were "too busy."

Things came to a head when I was told that there were serious concerns about my performance.  Mr. Glick said I hadn't followed through on a series of tasks that he hadn't given me.  I blew up and told him that a) he wouldn't know about my performance since he'd NEVER been in my classroom, nor communicated with me about anything other than his "reservations"; b) if I was such a bad employee, why was he basing this on rumors that had no basis, rather than conducting an investigation or putting me on a performance improvement plan?

When Glick said, "You think I have time for something like that?" I laughed and stood up.  "I guess it was a bit much for me to expect you to act PROFESSIONALLY, wasn't it?  Are we done here?"

Yes, I walked, though he would say he asked me to leave.  Campus security escorted me out.  I probably would have started crying if I hadn't been so enraged.

Do I care?  Only about the students I left.

Don't worry, there's more...

Monday, June 5, 2017

I before e except, uh, some other time

So yeah, I haven't been writing much lately.  Life has been horrifying and chaotic and pretty much has felt like I've been on a roller coaster for the last two months.  It's not been fun, but the outcome of all this horror has been more than I could even hope for.

Yes, I owe you an explanation.  But unfortunately, it's still not that entertaining or humorous, even though I keep trying to write it that way.  So until IWSG day here's some more bad writing to keep you entertained.

A junk food tax would cause health problems to go down, and people would choose to exercise regularly.

The porpoise of this is to affect everyone’s health.

Eating junk food has always been around but some people take atvantage of it and become overly large.

Being overweight or being constantly told they are causes people to get depression which makes them worst.

It becomes a long chain of bad things.

Meanwhile, I'm working on my not funny story in hopes of helping both you and me to see the humor in it.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Illiteracy of the soul

So, I've had an explosive couple of months, which has lead to my posting falling way, WAY off.  It's been hard to "bring the funny" under those circumstances.  But next week I'll fill you in on the chaotic state of my life and work now.

In the meantime, I thought I'd crush your hopes for the future by sharing more fun student writing.  One of these sentences will make its way to a motivational poster in the future - I just know it!

In this society, adults are considered to be older people who have more than teenagers.

Adults are the number 1 role model that children look up to.

Adults need to stay in their own lane, and get out of kids way.

When an adult has something their kid likes, they tend to understand their kid a little bit better, unlike parents who don’t understand their kid at all.

When their child has a problem they can help them work it out. Like when a child is failing the parents bribe them to do better because they fix the problem.

Kids are the future and the past.

Typically the outcome of depressed students is suicide, wrong decisions and anti-socialism.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Writing the wrongs

Once again, we come to that time of year when teachers feel the need to have strokes at their desks.  Yes, it's time to grade those writing assignments, the ones you slaved over and stayed after school to help students with and gave tons of feedback on, with such helpful insights as "don't end your sentence with a preposition!"

Just kidding.  I never say that.

I'm relishing the fact that I get to sit down with the students to review their work, and the first thing I'll do is start reading it aloud to them.  That way, they can squirm and look at the floor and consider their failings, which they should, because I'm certainly considering their failings right now.

Structured play is great for a child to know, because it teaches them the importance of obeying rules and also playing fair with other possible children.

Children will never truly enjoy something unless they like it.

Children need to know the difference between imaginary and reality, the best way to do that is showing them reality but also allowing them imaginary.

Using idea’s never thought about before is becoming more desirable in the work force, so knowing what is real and fake is important to know at an early age.

When children are allowed to play unstructuredly, they develop creative skills.

One of our 30 human rights is to have the freedom to enjoy ourselves. 

When a child has structured play, the child is learning that they don’t always get to do what they want and they don’t always get what they want.

A child’s mentality is considered a way of freedom.

Children thrive in a world where there are no problems, worries, or stress.

It depends on the type of person you is.

It really does, doesn't it?

Monday, March 20, 2017

A day in the life

“How’s the new program working?”

I’m standing outside my classroom door, as I’m required, ready to greet my students as they walk in the classroom door.  I’m tired, and I have a terrible head cold.  This is not improved by having our dean of academics come up and ask me this question.

“Fine,” I say shortly, then turn to say hello to one of my surly students who is trudging in.  He steps between Mr. Slater and me without any acknowledgment of the greeting. 

“So it’s going well?” Mr. Slater asks.

“If they would work,” I respond.  I really don’t want to talk to Mr. Slater, now or any time.  The class period that’s about to start is my worst-behaved class, and this new “program” is the district’s response to my request for an interventionist to come in and work with my students who clearly can’t read well.  Rather than sending the STATE REQUIRED PERSON IN, they decided to implement another computer program, in addition to the one I’ve already been doing.  This will teach the kids to read – not the study-proven one-on-one help that we’re supposed to be providing already. 

So yeah, I’m unhappy with Mr. Slater, with his smug, stupid little goatee and lack of email response.  I’m unhappy with the school and their general half-ass measures.  This program was his brilliant idea. 

“So what are you doing to make them work?” he asks.

I cough violently.  “What?” I say.

So what am I doing to make them work, besides standing over them, constantly redirecting and reminding them of their grades?  I’ve been threatening their families and bribing them with illegal substances?  I hear that works.

Luckily, the bell rang.  "Sorry, I have to start class now," I say to Mr. Slater.  I walk inside and close the door in his face.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Can I call it TBM?

I thought you'd get a kick out of an old journal entry I wrote when I was working at my high school in Crappy ISD.  

Busy day.  Two fights in the cafeteria this morning, one at lunch, one in the hallway. 

Busy day.  Two days ago I received and email, telling me I was signed up for training that I knew nothing about.  I’ve learned that questioning why doesn’t seem to work, so I figured what the heck, it’s another day I get to spend away from these foul-mouthed monsters.  I might pick up some valuable knowledge or skills as well. 

Boy, did I leave with a head full of knowledge!  It’s so full of it that I’m bleeding from the ears.  I learned that the district wants me to do MORE work, and MORE remediation, even though that’s NOT what I was told when I was hired.  They’ve got a great new program that’s going to fix the big problem of kids not being able to read.  The best news is that it only takes more than double the amount of prep time, grading time and in-class training time than the average class.  I felt waves of relief wash over me; either that or my bladder let go when I heard it.  When you have three different classes to prepare for, the most exciting thing you can hear is that you’ll need to spend more time planning and prepping and documenting. 

Busy day.  Three teachers walked out of the school this afternoon.  One was attacked by a student during class.  The administration announced that he was terminated because apparently, throwing the student off of him was “unprofessional.”  That is so true.  The most professional thing to do cover your face and hope you don’t get slashed in the guts – otherwise you’re just entering a power struggle with the kid. No one wants that.  

The attacked teacher left when the school wouldn’t call the police to report it as an assault, even though the attacker was 18.  The other two teachers left out of outraged solidarity.

So… busy day, but really, it’s just another day at Low Expectations High.  I plan to be busy with a fifth of vodka tonight.