Friday, April 17, 2009

Corporate America ain't for me.

.....Now that it's been on the news, I can write about what is public knowledge. Wednesday our principal called an emergency faculty meeting right after school. Just like 3 years ago, they're trying to shut down the school I teach at, and considering the current fiscal situation there is a good chance it's going to happen. Enough of a chance that she asked the powers that be what she can promise her staff concerning placement afterwards and passed that information on to us. Provisional teachers, ones who have been teaching less 3 years or less, are assured that they will still have jobs, those of us who are tenured, been teaching longer than 3 years, are guaranteed placement somewhere.
.....If you have been following my website long enough, you know that I took the job here knowing they wanted to close the school down. You may also know that I've moved around in my career a bit, by choice, so the possibility of changing schools again does not scare me. I've got 14 more years before I can retire and there never was a doubt in my mind that I wouldn't change schools at least a couple times before then.
.....Add to that the fact that as a Math teacher, I'm sure to have some choice in where I end up. Still, I wasn't ready to move on yet, and at the risk of sounding like Reverend Lovejoy's wife, I'm concerned about how well our students will do in a big high school. Over the 3 years we have been a school of around 300 students, we have had many that have tried a large school and have come back. Many of them will be required to travel 6 miles to their home school, where they are used to just walking around the block right now.
.....Anyway, we've been given the task of presenting our defense to the school board next week. Four teachers and I have spent all our free time in the conference room producing a presentation. After day 1 of 6 hours in a room culling through documentation, I decided I really do love teaching. 3 hours into today, day 2, when the principal walked in and asked how we were doing, the science teacher and I clutched our heads and said, at the same time and without prior discussion, "I think my head's going to explode."
.....So, if you wonder why you don't hear from me for the next two weeks, here's my schedule:

  • This Tuesday : present to school board, and I actually have to make part of the presentation

  • Wednesday : Human-Computer Interface (HCI) Class

  • Thursday : Advanced Instructional Design Class

  • Next Tuesday : public hearing on my school's closure

  • Wednesday : Final presentation for HCI

  • Thursday : Final presentation for Master's Capstone Project
And in between all that : Teach, fix computers and prepare for all of the above. Yea!
Oh, and did I mention I have to go out and buy some nice pants 'cause jeans aren't nice enough to address the board? (The principal told me that I had to wear a tie - and then started laughing because she knew that would never happen!)
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22 comments:

A Paperback Writer said...

Yes, we've been hearing about this for a couple of weeks now, and I've been thinking about you and the others I know at your school.
Today it was the discussion in an emergency faculty meeting (held before we core teachers went in to curse and swear over the way the CRTs are set up for this year).
In the meeting, one teacher said, "How many teachers are at [name of your school]?"
I got a lot of laughs when I snapped back, "Half of [name of my school]."
It's a pity none of you will be coming back to us. We will have to lose a minimum oif 4 1/2 teachers due to boundary changes alone, so we won't be picking up any extras this year.
I have seniority in my department and I'm only one person shy of having top seniority in the school, so it's extremely unlikely I'll be surplused.
Well, if it closes, I hope you end up somewhere you like. :)

Jannx said...

Good Luck with your presentation. I guess I can "sort of" know what you might be going through. Different schools are handling budget situations differently. In my school, my principal wants (and will get the opportunity to) change our school from a Pre K ~ 6th grade elementary to a 1 ~ 8th grade elementary/middle school.

No, it isn't the same as "losing your school", but well...I think something might be lost along the way. I guess the only advice I can offer is to think positively about the future. There could be an unseen silver line in that cloud above.

Max said...

Jannx,
Good luck on the change of your school. There is no doubt that the addition of 7th & 8th graders will change the culture of your school. Hopefully your faculty will keep a positive attitude about and and things will go smoothly.
As for my future, I have no doubt that I will end up some place I can make work for me, wherever that be. And if not, I've worked with a few exceptional principals and will just keep feelers out.
.
Writer - I almost peed myself thanks to your comment - brilliant! And oh so true. We have a faculty member that is somewhat resentful at the number of jr high (imaginge the rolling eyes and curt tone of the voice) teachers that have been brought to the high school. Most of them have realized that these teachers are exceptional, regardless of where they came from (or maybe because of it), but this one still thinks teaching high school should be reserved for the elite. Ah well, c'est la vie.
Thanks to both of you for the best wishes. No matter what happens, I'll make the best of wherever I end up.

jmpnmark said...

Well if the teaching gig in Utah doesn’t work out , you can always come to Arizona and get hired on at the same place I used to teach. All you need are your ‘Static Line Instructor’ credentials and your set!

The job was pretty easy, all you need to do is show a video (the same one week after week), go over a few minor points like ‘in the event your parachute doesn’t open’. After that you simply open the plane door and give them a shove if they move too slowly (you’re allowed to kick if necessary).

If their able to walk after landing you hand them a diploma (try and write their name neatly, they like to frame them) and you’re free for the rest of the day. The pay is lousy but you don’t have to worry about retirement (no one has lived long enough to collect one).
Let me know when I’ll be seeing you…

Maybe if YC learns how to fly a plane we could start our own ‘school’.

Max said...

Yeah, um, I think I'll stick with this gig. Mental stability may be low, but physical survival isn't bad.

Your Conscience said...

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Re: "And in between all that : Teach, fix computers and prepare for all of the above."

By that you mean relax? Please. If you take your annual income and divide it by the number of hours worked (seven minus the free period and piss breaks) per year you make somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand bucks an hour. Teachers have it so well off. You Conscience knows this must be true. An angry white dude told it so...

Don't you DARE tell Your Conscience the Utah State Legislature is fucking wrong. And if the were (and they're not) what would it matter? Jesus is coming back any moment. Like right... NOW! No, Your Conscience meant... NOW! No, NOW!..
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Your Conscience said...

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Re: "Maybe if YC learns how to fly a plane we could start our own ‘school’."

Or we could just start a fantasy school... Actually, if Your Conscience has the chance to try that it will...
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Your Conscience said...

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Rossi,
Weren't you considering moving to Las Vegas several years ago? Granted the economy bottomed out (forcing Your Conscience's brother to move to I, da ho to get in touch with his inner white supremacist/ separatist), but you could at least make a living as a go-go she-male. How do your he-hooters look in pasties? And is that stain lactation yumminess or merely pus?
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A Paperback Writer said...

Jannx,
Wow. That'll be tough. I'm not really in favor of keeping adolescents in with the little kids and pre-teens. I think that's asking for trouble.
I know of several schools that split off grades k-4, then 5-8 -- or sometimes k-4, 5-6, and then 7-8, and it seemed to work okay for them (my nephew attended one of the latter types). And, back in the day (the late 1930s, to be exact) both of my parents (living in small towns in opposite ends of Utah) attended schools that were 1-6 (there was no kindergarten in rural Utah then) and 7-12.
Personally, I think that if a division must be made that puts the truly difficult ages (grades 7 &8) somewhere besides in their own little box where we can control them, then they need to go UP and not DOWN.
I don't believe in treating young teens as if they were still in grade school -- and I've never seen a kid that age who liked it.
Plus, from what I've seen comparing high schools that have 9-12 vs. those that have only 10-12, I know that high schools with younger kids in them make it easier for those kids to grow up more slowly. The sophomores are classes as "younger" with the freshmen, so they aren't pushed into all the dating as fast. I suspect that having even younger kids would have the same affect.
However, I still think the best is to put grades 7 &8 in their own little box until puberty is over for most of them.

Max,
Just tell that elite high school teacher that I know lots of junior high teachers who would be happy to let her/him switch with us for awhile. S/he'd soon learn.
And, from what I've heard from teachers who've made the switch, teaching high school is easier than teaching junior high since the hormones are calmer and the kids behave a bit better or have been removed by then.

naptime nostalgia said...

Wow. Hang in there. And good luck with everything!

Max said...

Writer, I agree with you 100%. As you know, I've taught in a Jr. High with 7th, 8th & 9th grades. The year I left your school I got to teach in a school with only 7th & 8th and now I'm teacing in a High School with 9 through 12. There was no calmer year than that year without the 9th graders. But you have to put them somewhere, and I've found them to be calmer in a high school setting. At least there they have the juniors and seniors as role models, they can see the behaviors of the more mature students. Plus, seniors are real good at expressing their displeasure at freshmen who disrupt their classes.

Max said...

Naptime,
Thanks, I'm going to hold on for dear life on the roller coaster that will be my life for the next month. Wheeeeeeeeee! One way or another it will be over by the end of May, and I'll just have to accept whatever the outcome is.

Jannx said...

Yes, both Max and Paperback are correct. Adding the middle school will (I believe) change the "mix" or "tone" of the school. My principal had the option of changing the school to a 1st~5th grade, but she had her reasons. And being low on the "totem pole", my best option is to keep quiet and hope for the best.

jmpnmark said...

RE: you could at least make a living as a go-go she-male.

I've got a handful of dollar bills just waiting, tell me where.

Max said...

uhhhhh, that sent a shiver down my spine, jmpnmrk

A Paperback Writer said...

And suddenly I'm visualizing the guy dressed up in a hula skirt and a cocoanut bra in "South Pacific" -- the song "Honey Bun."
Yeah, Max, if you take up that new job, I may just pass on visiting you at work. no hard feelings, though.

Max said...

I'm crushed. I'm heartbroken. I'm, uh, a little bit releived that you don't want to see me in a hula skirt and coconut bra. Not something I want to see either.

A Paperback Writer said...

And I promise in return that you will never have to see me in a hula skirt and cocoanut bra, either.
:)

Max said...

I don't know, you in a hula skirt and coconut bra? Wouldn't be so bad. And if you felt uncomfortable, you could just pull a Lady Godiva.

A Paperback Writer said...

funny.
Once when I was younger and thinner, I very nearly went as Lady Godiva for Halloween -- using a flesh-colored leotard. But it was too cold.
I've been a performer for so long that most costumes don't bother me, but I just can't picture myself letting people see exactly how much weight I've gained since the back injury...... Bare stomach=shudder.

Oh, and years ago, in 1995 actually, I was on a dance tour in Austria. Another group there for the festival was from the Cook Islands, and their women were indeed dressed in grass skirts and cocoanut shell bras. It was cold and rainy and they were miserable. I recall saying something to our director that at least we had on more clothing than they did (our women had on square dance dresses) and he looked over at the Cook Islanders, then glanced back at our women before saying, "But if we dressed all of you up in those outfits, we'd have to use walnut shells."
Since it was practically true (all of the women were thin because it's tons easier for dancing) and since he was gay, he got away with saying it and not having 12 angry women rip him apart. Thus, it was funny.

Jannx said...

Sorry Paperback. I thought the "walnut comment" was amusing.

A Paperback Writer said...

Yup, Jannx. It was funny. That's why I shared it. I wasn't at all offended. :)