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May 16 13

THE FINAL YEAR- Part II

by captain

 

OK, I’m a short-timer, I get it.  However, for some reason some people at this location feel that BECAUSE of that reason,  I should just, NOT CARE, and disregard any standard or expectation I’ve ever had.  I’ll get into the specifics in a bit, but I was actually told by a co-worker, “You’re leaving in 15 days, why do you care?”

What I am told I shouldn’t care about is grades, and specifically passing students in one of my courses.  For whatever reason, I’m not able to just simply pass people or look the other way if they haven’t completed the right work.  I CAN’T.  To give you an idea of HOW bad I am when  it comes to this, when I was in high school, I was a TA for an Algebra class (I hate math.) I could’ve given my friend marks off on completing his homework, so he had a little easier go of it.  I didn’t.  He got a D-

I’m able, for some reason, to not let things like, whether or not I like someone have any outcome on the grade I give them.  I’ve given F’s to some of my favorite students…because they’ve earned it.

I guess I’m just a stickler for the fact that PASSING something means you really passed it, and learned it…not that you just were such a pain in the ass that people got tired of you and moved you along.  The ill effects of letting people pass that should NOT have passed is evident EVERY DAY of my life here.  How does a kid with a 3rd grade readling level make it to high school and STILL have a 3rd grade reading level?  I can see one or two kids over decades somehow being able to foil the system….but rows of students EVERY year, in MULTIPLE schools?!

Call me crazy, but I have a real problem with dumb people getting a diploma, how is that possible?

I know the answer,

“Well, no child left behind, bro! That’s important!  Everyone has to graduate.”

This probably sounds mean, but I’m all for leaving children behind at some point.  That point is high school.  If the kids are still functioning at a 4th grade level at the age of 17….well, sorry, you’re DONE.  You just don’t need a diploma.  I’ll clarify, I  mean, you NEED a diploma, you’re just not getting one…enjoy Taco Bell.

There’s too much pressure on schools now…not the pressure you’d think either.  There should be pressure to keep high standards, and push students to be the best.  The problem is that there’s no opposite side of that coin.  We expect EVERY student to pass.  IF they don’t it affects our scores that the public can see, and the opinions of politicians, and other schools, we can’t have kids being dropped?  They have to graduate…even if that means we just push them on, so they can get out of school with a diploma.

I’ve been in public education for nearly 2 decades, and I’ve seen plenty of kids graduate, who have not earned the diploma they are getting…it was given to them to move them on, and get them out of the system.  I have a high school diploma, my kids are going to get them….I think that to a certain level it means something.  It means 4 years of hard work, and passing classes….the right way.

OK…here’s the specifics of what happened.

Kid A graduated yesterday…but funny thing, he didn’t pass my class. 

“Well then how did he graduate?”

Let’s backtrack….

This kid is a pain in the ass. He’s socially inappropriate 95% of the time.  Fighting and smoking pot are the only things I’ve ever heard him discuss in class. He’s a bully. He belches loudly while I’m in the middle of a lecture.  He sleeps.  He does basically whatever he wants.  He acts like a fourth grader…but that’s fitting because he has a fourth grade reading level.. .Somehow he managed to buck the entire system long enough to GET to high school, and then buck it even more and get close to graduating.   That’s when he ended up in MY class.  He needed 5 credits from me to get out of high school with a diploma.  I intended to make those credits he ACTUALLY earned. 

Well he slept, and basically told my class to Eff Off with his actions.  He failed all of the tests I gave (which were open note by the way) Then when he realized he’d have to get the credits to graduate from my subject, he opted to try to do those credits on our accelerated computer learning program.   This program is far more difficult than what I do in the classroom.

He chose this method, like most of our kids do, because they think they can just cheat and look up all the answers online and pass the assignments and tests.  I can’t babysit them all the time, so at home, they cheat and get the answers.  The only way I have to combat this way of trying to circumnavigate my class is to give a final that must be passed in order to get those computer generated course credits.  You did the work online, great…pass this test and prove it.

Well it should come as No surprise that the kids do NOT want to take this test, as it will open up the glaring fact they have NOT done the work…they either cheated or had someone else do it for them.  Such is THIS case.

This student did NOT want to take my final..he avoided it, missed two appointments to take it, and then found a co-worker who felt sorry for him, and notoriously feels sorry for EVERYONE and buys all their bullshit.  She, in my opinion had given him all the answers in the first place, so when he went to her and said…”boo hoo, Captain is gonna make me pass this hard final to get my last 5 credits.”  She knew he wouldn’t pass, because in my opinion she DID the work for him.  Rather than come to me and discuss it, she went AROUND me and had someone else sign off on his credits, and lo-and-behold…high school graduate.

This led to a slew of events this past week and ultimately ended with a few generic type summaries.

the first being, I am too hard of a teacher, I need to lighten it up, and make sure these kids can pass. There are 3 kids in particular down to only my class necessary to pass.  These 3 kids are NOT very bright..and somehow they have been allowed to get to this point with low ability.  They are not special ed either, and have no special plans in place. 

Well if it’s the last 5 credits, we can’t just KEEP them from graduating?!?!? It must be YOU Captain, you’re the issue.

See, I’m fine if the kids don’t graduate because they won’t do what’s needed to complete my EASY, open note tested class.  If they can’t jump through THAT hoop, I’m fine if they have to come back and take it the following year, hell, I’m even fine if they don’t GET a diploma…they haven’t earned it. 

Not everyone thinks that way though.

I get told all the sob sotries about their home life.  “He/She has SUCH a hard life at home though!”

I’m sorry about that, but that’s not a reason they can’t pass an open note test, nor is it OK for them to act like an asshole to me because of it…nor should they get special treatment for it.   75% of the  world has a less than awesome home life.  It’s PART OF LIVING in most cases.  DEAL WITH IT.

“Well they have a low reading level…just such a low performing student…can’t we just find something?”

I did, it’s called dumbed down, open note tests….that even some of the LOWER performing students can get a B on with MINIMAL effort.  If they can’t do THAT.   I can’t be of any more help.

Anyway, it’s a problem, not only here…but EVERYWHERE.  Until we cut loose the ones that won’t or can’t, it’ll always cheapen the efforts of those that can…and make the system flawed.  I think anyone can see that….even if you only have 15 days left

 

 

 

May 1 13

THE FINAL YEAR- PART 1

by captain

I’ve been released.  Finally.  After 13 miserable years, some more miserable than others, I’ve been given a new assignment for next year. One that I’m quite happy with, and hopefully will utilize the skills I have.

I have concerns, for SURE about this reassignment, but it will be better than this.  It has to.

My concern is that they’re going to try, in the interest of saving money, try to force me to wear too many hats, and teach too many different skills.  This is something that is occurring more often in public schools with recent budget cuts, changes in standards, and increased expectations.

The logic is that if Teacher A can teach a certain subject, then he/she should also be able to teach some other subjects in the same category.    They view the arts, in the same way they view subjects like math and science….

For math, this philosophy normally works.  If a math teacher is teaching a period of Algebra, and a period of geometry, and maybe a couple classes of pre-algebra…it’s not too far of a stretch to ask them if they could teach a class in Algebra II…math teachers go to school and learn all forms of math, and because they usually have some overlapping skills at the core, the transition isn’t too different.

English Teachers, same thing.  If someone is teaching English II…it’s not too much of a stretch to ask them to teach a class in English IV, or creative writing, or literature even.  Those classes overlap a lot in the required skill and knowledge, and type of work they require.

Science and History become a little more difficult, as the overlap is smaller…but most science teachers take a lot of courses in life, and physical science so they are able to do both, and chemistry is also a big requirement in the science field.  Most science teachers have probably had at least 4 different chemistry classes.  History becomes a little more clouded.  It’s very possible a history teacher is well versed in U.S. History, but lacks a lot of deeper understanding of world events.  History usually has more focus into one course of study than others. 

When you get to the arts, things get VERY difficult.  People lump all art forms into the same folder.  IF you teach art you should be able to teach ceramics, or sculpture, or photography, or commercial art, and if you can teach photography, that uses a computer, so you should have no trouble with video production, illustration, animation, or even web design.  People think ANYTHING visual falls into the same category…and it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Just because a person is skilled in one medium, does not mean they are skilled in all of them.  Creativity CAN be strictly related to one medium.   Creative people can probably learn a new skill in a creative field, but it still takes years to perfect and master.  Thinking that just because someone is a good painter that they will be a good potter is so flawed, but it happens all the time.  When I originally got hired to teach in the arts, I was hired to teach in a medium that I had little to no experience with.  I literally had taken 1 class in the subject.  Granted, I’m a creative dude, so I learned HOW to do it, but even after 3 years of “teaching” it I was still just average at it.

My fear is that our school system has gotten to a point where quality of instruction and creating a worthwhile program takes a back seat to saving money.  I also have yet to really meet an administrator who understands the visual and performing arts in any real way.  By nature a majority of administrators are analytically charged people.  They understand budgets, statistics, and streamlining processes.   This usually results with people being treated as numbers, which leads to a very micromanaged environment.  People no longer have feelings, or input…they are categories that can be slid from place to place to fill voids, and increase statistics.   If I need to add class A, B, and C to my schedule, and those all fall under category X…I can use Teacher 1, who is classified to work in category X to fill that spot, and save money on having hiring two more teachers to do the job.

What always happens is that when you force a teacher to teach a subject she/he is NOT comfortable with they will struggle with it.  Those struggles are obvious to the students, and that leads to them losing faith in their teacher.  When they lose faith in said teacher, they will, not only suffer in the subjects the teacher has trouble with, but they will not learn as much in the subjects the teacher DOES know…because their credibility has taken a hit.

Take sports.  IF you took Phil Jackson, who regarded by most, as one of the best basketball coaches ever.  If you put Phil as a coach of the US Soccer team under the philosophy that because he is a good BASKETBALL coach, he’ll be a good soccer coach…though he has never played the sport.  I promise you his team will get beat.  Then when people talk about his coaching legacy they will ALWAYS question it because of how bad he was with soccer….

”He’s not THAT good of a coach, look how badly he screwed up the soccer team…they were terrible.”

“Well, he’s not a soccer player…that’s why.”

“Well he’s a coach, that should amount for something…he knows how to coach…”

Do you see the logic here…makes no sense in this context, but schools do it ALL. THE. TIME. It never ends well.  My fear is that it’ll happen to me, and though I’m happy to be in a new situation, I’ll be in a no win situation from the start.

Dec 1 11

Taking Bullets

by captain

If you work at a traditional school of any kind, elementary school, jr. high school, or high school  there is an alternative program that takes your highly dysfnctional students off your hand.  Community Day programs, Opportunity rooms, continuation schools all exist to act as a holding place for these students who for whatever reason cannot function in a “normal” school setting.

These places make YOUR job easier. 

Bare in mind many of us working in these facilities are not here by choice.  I never ASKED to come here.  I never applied for a job HERE.  I’m forced to take on other people’s cast aways out of necessity.   I make your job easier.

We already deal with admin who rarely values what we do or try to do and constantly wants to change us and make our system like the ones they are used to at their traditional school.  Teachers at these other school think we have an easier job because we don’t deal with the homework and all the paper work that “traditional” schools deal with.  We’re not seen as being “real” teachers by many of the other educators in our own districts.  I know because I was on the other side once, and I know what was said, quite often by the other teachers.

The public has some odd idea that we’re all here because we suck as educators.  I’ve heard them talk too.  We GET the rumors here, we KNOW what is said about us.

Funny, but  like I said….not many of us EVER asked to be here.  A few have a high pain threshold or felt a special calling to work with troubled youth…but not a lot of us.  Many are going to live their lives here essentially taking a bullet to their career for the good of education, and get paid below what this job should be paid.

This job has some nice moments, don’t get me wrong, but they nowhere come close to making up for the majority of the days and the feeling of knowing you’re NOT doing what you set out to do.  I tried to leave 3x, and because of the mentality of most of our district…I’m labled and stuck here, and if I use this job on a resume for most other schools I won’t be getting jobs there either.

Believe it or not, I actually chose to go into education.  Wanted to.  I had dreams and ideas on a career and what that was going to shape up to be once I had done this job for 20-30 years and retired.  Nothing I planned on doing is possible in this location.  I tried. I’ve put programs in place to have them not supported or funded and then have the kids even capable of handling the assignments with the necessary maturity.  Everything I want to do needs to be dummed down by 85% to 85% of the kids.   I’m more police officer and fire fighter than I am educator.

I’m constantly putting out little fires (not LITERAL fires, but you get the idea) so that they don’t explode and cause everyone here MORE stress.   Each class “lecture” is 60% telling k ids to stop texting, stop talking, stop sleeping, start writing, stop putting on make-up, stop sitting on the desk, stop sneaking out early, etc.   Yes some of this happens at normal schools but it’s all usually curtailed by 5 minutes into class and then things progress normally.  If it continues it’s usually by one of the kids bound for this type of school.

I remember the feeling while working at the traditional school of knowing that once the session ended, and I failed these types of kids they’d be shipped out to HERE and I’d have my classroom back and be able to again work for the masses and get things done.   I took for granted these teachers and what they really did for me.  They made my job possible.  Without continuation teachers high school would be miserable for so many more people teachers and students alike.

Having been here for many years now, I’ve changed my opinions of those that work in places like this.  If you want my honest opinion I think every teacher in the district should be required to put $150 a year into a fund that goes directly to these teachers in the “alternative” programs JUST for making your jobs easier.

afterall, we could always send the kids back.

Th

Oct 28 11

That just happened

by captain

Had this interaction.

“why did I get detention?”

“You had too many tardies.”

“No I didn’t…”

“Yes…you did.  you had over five.  You were tardy yesterday, the day before, and the day before…and so on…”

“I wasn’t tardy….I was just late.”

Oct 26 11

The Hammer

by captain

It’s a bad feeling to realize you’ve completely wasted your college existence.  I spent 6 years in college paid a lot of money, and sat through an amazing number of hours of coursework to be HERE.

I went into education with goals, and dreams, and ideals.  Those are all crushed now.   I was moved to this location, and for the lack of any other job in the district I had to come here, or risk raising a family without a job.   I tried 2 different times to go back to a school where I felt like I would be better matched.    They wouldn’t let me.   I’m now stuck here trying to overcome 80% of the kids who don’t want to be here in order to try and reach the 20% who do (sort of) just try getting your point across to 4 kids in a room of 20 where 16 of them are trying to avoid paying attention any way possible.

Each year I avoid writing referrals on students as long as possible.   In the beginning of the year I’m usually in a better mood (usually) and have more patience.  I’m also never pleased with the results in discipline, so I just avoid writing them.  Each year, at some point, my limits reach critical mass, and I snap….then I write referrals at every opportunity possible.   Not only do I want to punish the kids for being disrespectful, and hold them accountable for their poor choices, I also want to bury the admin with paperwork.    This is a problem directly resulting in the way things are run, and because of such….the issues will be dealt with.

I refuse to show up to work and be disrespected.  Therefore, I bring the hammer down from the point I’ve had enough until the end of the year.

I wrote 18 referrals in the past 2 days, and aim to do as many as it takes until my classroom is peaceful.

The ultimate point is that I never went to school for this.    I run a holding pen for the kids that disrupt the “traditional” high schools.  They are sent here to make learning possible for others both student and teacher.    I’m a warden.  Not what I went to school for

If I spent all 30 years here, I will have sacrificed almost 40,000 hours of life doing something that caused me grief.

Oct 18 11

Freefalling.

by captain

I hate that public education has come to this point for me.  I really did go into public education system because I wanted to help.  I had good teachers growing up, I liked to teach, and I felt like it was a perfect place for me to have a career.  Now it has turned into my own private hell.   I know it’s bad to complain about a job in this current economic situation, but hey….it is what it is.

When you know you were sent here by your district in hopes that you would quit, it’s even harder to care.  I did for a while.  I did partly to prove the people who sent me here that I WOULDN’T quit, because that’s what they wanted.  I actually do, and always will care and put forth effort into those kids who try.  We have about 20% of our students who do care, and will try, and want to succeed at something in the future.   The rest are in a holding pattern until they have more free time to commit crimes and go to jail.  School totally screws up the amount of time they can go get their criminal on. 

When you have 70% of a class any given period that isn’t going to put forth effort, and doesn’t care, then it makes educating the 3 or 4 students who DO want to learn almost impossible.  I gave atest the other day.  AN OPEN NOTE test.  I had over half the class fail it.  I had half of the remainder get a D- on it.  I had 2 B’s…neither very high, those were the highest marks.

OPEN NOTE.

If you can’t get your shit together to pass an OPEN NOTE test, really life is ALWAYS going to be a struggle for you.

on these notes, I GAVE THEM ALL THE ANSWERS…they only had to copy them down off the board.  When this happens for several years in a row, you lose the motivation to give it much of a try.  You know what is going to be the result.  The admin. will swear it’s a lack of engagement on the teacher’s part that leads to this.  I’ll agree to a point, although it never starts out that way.  Teachers always try in the beginning….they can keep up the effort for some time before the lack of response and effort returned to them from th students wears them out and they lose the drive.   That point of wearing out comes earlier and earlier the longer you work here.

Throw in a few things like lack of discipline, lack of funding to do anything fun, more pressure by the top of the line to get test scores up, and you basically have a very unfun place to work.

I think the entire staff here feels the same way.  I’ve hit the end of my rope here.  I really don’t care at all.  If I could go do another gig full time for similar pay, I would in a heart beat.  If I had other meidcal insurance or somewhere to get that, I’d rather be a substitute. 

We just had a kid here who threatened to BLOW UP my car a year ago.  He got expelled, because, well, you just can’t threaten to blow up a teachers car.  It was me and another teacher.   Well his expulsion contract expired, so they let him back in.  AND they put him in my class.

That’s safe.  That makes me feel good.  That makes me want to care MORE.

What it does is make me second guess every decision that I make regarding his behavior.  If Imake him angry will he take offense and seek revenge?  I’ve had 11 flat tires since I worked here, I’m guessing 10 of them were out of some kind of revenge.

I caught a few kids smoking pot ON campus the other day. ON CAMPUS.  Within arms reach of the school.  I saw three of them doing it.  Only 2 got suspended.  I get leaving the one I didn’t see off, but still…he should be guilty by association right?!?!?  I mean he was WITH kids who were smoking a freaking DOOBIE. ON. CAMPUS.  One girl managed to sweet talk her way into a shorter punishment…not sure how, but it’s not my decision.  THe worst part about the whole bust is that while I felt GOOD to catch them, I wondered for a few minutes if I should say anything, out of fear of revenge by the students.  NOT a good feeling to have.

I really seriously try NOT to write any discipline referrals. Ever.  I just don’t know if the punishment (or lack there of) that they will get is worth the potential retribution that may be taken out on me or my car.

We have a principal who wants to come across as the good guy. No matter if it means throwing his teachers under the bus.  He’ll take away detention hours for no reason other than he likes the kid.

“Well…your teacher suggested you get 2 hours detention for this, but I’m going to let you off with 30 minutes…”  Or sometimes none at all.  He make it look like WE were the bad guy punishing the kid, and then he, by his wonderous grace let them go.

The kid leaves loving him, and hating us for trying to get them detention hours.

Rumor has it he’s leaving this year.  Everyone hopes so. Whether they verbalize it or not.  The only issue is that we’ve been l eft badly beaten here.  I’m not sure the person who takes over this job can help bring us back to where we were a few years ago.  I tried to think of how I would change this place, if someone asked….and I don’t know.

My lack of faith in this school, the way its been run, and the education system in general have left me really with no way to think of how to make it better.

Sep 20 11

3rd

by captain

Coming here on a daily basis makes me want to gouge my eyes out with escargot forks.

“Just be happy you HAVE a job.”

I hear that shit one more time I’m gouging their eyes out with mine.

Look.   I appreciate having a steady income and medical insurance.  I do.  I fully freakin’ realize that portions of the world most people have neither.   HOWEVER….

I’m literally a salve for this place for the foreseeable future.   I can’t leave.   Trust me mightily when I say I want to, and am trying to…I just CAN’T. 

Once you have a family If you’re any kind of respectable person you have to provide for them.  Walking home and saying, “well my job pissed me off for the last damn time.  I quit today.”

If I were single, that’s EXACTLY what I would do.  If I were single I’d make more, because I wouldn’t be paying a grand each month so we can have medicine.   That would mean I wouldn’t need to work more on weekends so I could have more free time to relax and enjoy.  I can’t, nor do I want to get rid of my family…so that means I get to endure.   I have to provide for them no matter how much I get dumped on here.

I’ve said this a lot, NOBODY goes into a career they want to hate.   I never went into education thinking, “Man with any luck this will suck so bad I’ll hate my job and my life in 15 years.”   I went into a career I WANTED to enjoy and that would provide me a decent retirement.  I planned on teaching high school for 30-35 years. 

When the alarm goes off each morning my first thought is….”OH *$%$… This is happening.”

I listen to the radio hoping some kind of natural disaster has befallen my building.  We’re in forest fire country….DAMN IT LIGHTNING DO YOUR JOB!  I usually just get the occasional news blurb that one of our ex-students is now in jail for doing something retarded, which we already knew was going to happen.

I kind of envy those dumb bastards.  Jail is kind of like reject retirement.  They don’t’ have to work, they get fed, a place to sleep, some exercise…and maybe some  not so sweet lovin.’ Granted it’s not ideal sleep, food, or lovin’….but they don’t have to go to work.    They kind of won.

I spend the rest of the drive forcing my hands to make the correct turns to get to work.   I have to FIGHT my urge to keep driving by the exit.   When I’m at work I get to deal with a 20% group of kids who ARE decent, but I can’t really deal with them because I don’t have any budget for adequate materials, and I have the other 80% of the kids waiting on their early retirement plan to kick in by making my life worse.

It takes me at least 3 hours to unwind after work and be relaxed…but those hours can’t start until at least 10pm and all the family obligations take place.   When I can finally start to decompress it’s late, and I don’t want to go to sleep…because that mean the next thing I hear is the alarm jolting me back here again.

Sep 1 11

Day 2

by captain

The advantage once you’ve worked somewhere where you feel respected, appreciated, and valued financially is you definately know when you’re not.   I feel sorry for the people I work with here who get beat down all day and school year long and have nothing positive to balance it out.   I guess really it’s more of a double edge sword.  On the one hand getting beat down each day over and over with nothing else puts you in a mode of acceptance where you just numbly deal with things.  When you KNOW there are better ways to be treated and a more civil way of working you have a much harder time putting up with the B.S. 

I go from a place where the students WANT to learn, ask questions, say thank you and appreciate you, even TIP me on occassion, buy me dinner or lunch and keep in contact to show me what they learned and are learning.  It’s why people go into education.  It FEELS good to be appreciated.  Here I have to tell kids they can’t make out in class, and that I’d rather not know about the security system they have for their pot garden.   It makes me a more depressed for the future of our country.  The prison population isn’t going to dwindle any time soon…there are PLENTY of future criminals out there.  It’s not all their fault, but we’re not allowed to blame their parents for it…it’s our  fault.

If we were more engaging, and interesting the kids would learn.  I’m sorry but that’s not the case.  I know with a good degree of certainty I’m a pretty engaging personality.  I speak at colleges, and for different groups all over the place.  I had over 80 people show up to listen to a slide talk I put on.  The problem here isn’t me, it’s that the kids would rather listen to rapping clowns and talk about how many drugs and shots they can ingest on a weekend.   I can’t compete with rapping clowns. 

half this school is deeply invested mentally in some kind of world ending conspiracy theory.   They really believe the world is out to get them.  I think their severe low mental abilitites are far more to blame for their place in life as opposed to a deep level governement conspiracy trying to keep down the apathetic and ignorant.

Aug 31 11

War

by captain

It appears things here are unravelling.  Not just for me but for all of us.  This place is turning ugly.  Not that it was ever pretty, but I foresee things here could end up like that sketch on SNL where the teleprompter broke…only not funny.

Two sides have emerged here.  Teachers and Admin.  It’s very clear to the teachers we’re not on the same page as them, and from what we’ve heard from others, they see themselves as a distinct side as well.  I used to like going in the office here.  I considered the administrators we had here (only one is really an administrator by dgree) actually friends.  No longer.  I’m pretty convinced that I wasn’t ever in their circle of trust.

It feels a lot like everything we say can and will be used against us in the future.  It feels like if we try to work with them, it will be thrown back at us with a devious twist.  I feel like the people that reside in those two offices do NOT have my back nor any of my colleagues backs if things were to go down.  It feels bad.  It’s not how any orgnanization should operate.    

Start checking the rearview….if there’s a bus, we’re getting thrown under it.

I’m kind of angry at myself personally.  I feel like I should’ve seen it coming.  To start the documentation of this whole battle I’m going to give you, ideally what the situation here should/could be, and what it is…and then we’ll proceed with details of the battles as the year progresses

I think in any situation a TEAM is vital to the success of the organization.  A team means that the leaders aren’t better or worse than their teammates, their goal is to provide direction, focus, and bring out the best in the people who they have on their team…no matter what circumstances. 

I’m lucky that I’m able to have a life away from this place and be a part of a true team environment.  I’ve got an organization/business that I helped to start.  The team started as two of us, and has grown to almost 10 people.   It would be really easy for me to boss people around, throw some authority on people.  I have more experience than the rest of my teammates, and I have a higher level of skills than they do, because I’ve been at it longer.  If I put myself in that position…I’d lose their trust, respect, and ultimately the performance I depend on. 

Granted they don’t always do things the way I  would, and sometimes they make mistakes…but I think part of what GOOD leadership is is taking people where they are that day, or that situation and finding out a way to get the most out of what they can give, and then backing them should anyone question them.  In return, they’ll give me more and hopefully things progress.

It’s that simple.  If I got a complaint about a instructor I worked with, my first goal is to talk to the instructor get their side of things, and the back that.  I can empathize with the complainer and if my employee is a good teammate they’ll do what it takes to help remedy the situation and make it better.

The situation HERE for me, and a lot of other people I work with is that, shock….we’re not making enough money right now to live off of.  The cost of living has gone up a lot, and we’re not keeping up with the COLA.   While I was able to work one job and be fine 4 years ago…it was getting close…int the last 6 years I would estimate the cost of living has risen at LEAST 15%-20%  for me.  My check has gone up 4% (maybe) If you add in health insurance rate increases and other union due increases….that 4% is virtually wiped out. 

I had to get another job.  H-A-D to.  I’m lucky that I have options to do so.  Other teachers I know are on public assistance because they have too many kids, and no wife working to help out.   I know teachers who ran out of money during the summer just trying to live…and they make more than ME here. 

It’s F”ing ridiculous.

I have to work on weekends…which means sometimes I have to take a day or two off work.  I understand it’s not an ideal situation for any one.  I always leave good plans and plenty of assignments for the students though.  It’s not an issue.  in the years I’ve been in education, I’ve never seen a change in this type of kids production from when I’m here to when a sub is here…it’s pretty paltry effort regardless of who is in the driver’s chair. 

I get 10 personal days a year to take off.  I use them ALL.  I would use them ALL regardless of whether I had to go work or not.  When I pass that time…it costs me pay.  I still need to take a few days however, and in my book it’s worth losing $100 for a sub payment to make $1000 working on the weekend.  It’s a sacrifice that makes sense.

Granted it’s not ideal.  Iwish I could make enough money HERE where my weekends were free to relax and recover…as it stands now, I’m gone 95% of the month working.  Not fun. 

I”m lucky that my 2nd job pays well, and being that it’s also education related, I’m able to apply my profession there.  it’s in the private sector which means, not only do I get paid WAY better for a day of work…I also get treated like a human being…..which is SO NICE.

Now, here’s where the war has begun.  One of my Admin’ came in and said someone had complained last year about me missing too much time.  I missed 11 days last year…one over the limit.  I had built up 5 comp days over the course of the year filling in for colleagues when they missed a period…or working my lunch to supervise when the principal was off campus.    I felt like I HELPED out to offset my inconveniences.

Now, I know it wasn’t one of our teachers who complained.  Me missing 11 days doesn’t effect them in the slightest.  One it gives them comp time…which is a good thing…secondly at least 3 of the 7 other teachers missed more time than I did.   Funny, but the admin who told me I had a complaint filed against me actually missed more time off campus than I did.  He has to be places at least 2 days a week, which means he’s not here…add that time up it’s WAY more time away than me. 

When I asked my fellow teachers if they thought anyone had complained…they chuckled and welcomed me to the club of people who had been flat out lied to by the admin.  It seems that when they have an issue with you, they just make up random complaints “filed by other teachers” so that they can

a) let you know you’re in trouble

b) start dissention between the ranks, while still looking like the good guy.

The second one pisses me off the most.  The whole tone of the ‘meeting’ we had was that “I’m just trying to get your back…beacause someone complained on you…and I totally understand your situation…but some OTHERS are pissed at you.”

Basically he wants me to think he’s doing me a favor…and I should be wary of my coworkers…

If he had appraoched me and said, “Hey I get it, and if you’re comfortable with the hits on your paycheck to help get bills paid…then i’m going to let you go ahead, but let’s figure out a way to maximize your time here and try to see if we can work your class schedule to minimize the effects.”

I tried, in summer to have them schedule me a 5th or 6th period prep so I could leave early and not miss as much instructional time…did I get it?  NOPE.

Now I thought at one time I had a friend in the office that worked as the VP/counselor type.   I should’ve seen the changes coming…because it appears that it’s just another person driving the bus, ready to roll over me. 

I figured they would understand where I was, and at least get my back in this situation and go to bat for me.  I’d have done it for them.   It seems from what I hear, that they were right there complaining.  I guess if you have the office right next to the outhouse, you’ll start to smell like it at some point. 

I shoud’ve seen the hint when the VP took all of us teachers and excluded us from soical media posts.  Not that that really MATTERS…but if we were ‘friends’ they’d have left something like that in tact.  When asked about it the response was “I’m keeping work and social life seperate”  What I get out of it is that…you’re not my friend, and not worthy of knowing anything about me.

I can play that game too.

I tried to play nice and let them all know WELL in advance (up to 5 months ahead of time) the days I wasn’t going to be here, I always set up the BEST subs for my classes to minimize distractions. I even cancelled a work weekend that would’ve paid me minimum $1000 but probably more when all was said and done to try and work with them.   Then they find something else to complain about.   

 It got me nothing but thrown under the bus.   I’ll play the game too.  From now on.  I’m not giving out my schedule.  I’m not finding substitutes  (it’s not my job anyway…it is not one of my duties).  I used to go visit in the office a lot…I haven’t been in there in 3 weeks.

Nov 2 10

Yuck

by captain

Being a public educator has a few advantages…1) it’s a job…and in this economy, well that’s something.  2) There is medical insurance…even though I pay out my hind-end for it…I still have it.  I pay a lot.  However, it’s been taken out of my check so long I don’t really notice it unless I look at the number being taken out…then I get sad.  3) I get summers off.   Which, sadly, is the one thing everyone throws at me when I complain about my gig-  “You get summers OFF…be quiet.”  Having summers “off” is nice…but has setbacks…those are the subject of another post.

There are far more bad parts of being a public educator than good ones.  I’m going to take one of my favorites today.

I can’t vent…on the kids.

They need it.  So so so so so badly.

My job…when I’m on a mission and perusing the classroom to make sure the kids are on task…like I’ve been told to do is like babysitting.  The kids who don’t want to work know how NOT to work.  I know that’s a shock.  They wait until I walk by, then go right back to being off task…which means I get to put them BACK on task with a polite comment once I notice again.

“Could you please get back to work?”

“Can you keep the talking a little quieter?”

“Can you just please stop talking?”

“Can you not be on that website please?”

UGH.

Its fine the first time but the 5th or 6th time you ask…it’s bordering on annoying.

What I WANT to say is, “Hey #&*$#!  Stop being a moron and do your work $%*&** work!”

That’s what they need to hear.  These kids.

It’s like that ALLLLL day.  Every.  Day.

A normal person would NEVER let anyone treat them the way kids get away with treating us.  We have NO power.  

We can’t even tell them we don’t like them.

Any other job you can tell someone, “Hey I don’t like you….I just have to put up with you.”

Not here…then we’d be “picking” on students and get in trouble.  Their lackluster parents take objection that someone could possibly NOT like their child.  Hey mom and dad…I got news for you.  Your kid is a D-bag.