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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Hello, Dear Readers.

If last year was the year of interim assignments, this is the year of daily subbing. 

I’ve tried to stick mostly within the same school for ease and consistency. Otherwise it can be very destabilizing to travel to a different school each day. This way, at least my commute is predictable and the days offer somewhat of a routine.

The job of a substitute teacher here in Florida is shit pay and hard work. Due to the disability, I haven’t been able to work every day. Last pay period I was only able to get two work days in. The disability appeal seems to be taking forever. I’ve been living off of credit cards, maxing them out, and considering bankruptcy. This is the shit I don’t post about on Facebook. But it’s the truth, y’all.

The interview process is like a joke. An assistant principal of a local middle school, who shall not be named, was seemingly impressed by me at an interview and called me later during dinner, telling me that the position was between myself and one other candidate. He made me come in to give a “demo” lesson. In between, I had to drive to and from the school to pick up the materials. I hustled it but prepared well. I think the lesson went well.

Lo and behold, when I called the AP to follow up the next week, he told me forlornly that they were still interviewing for the position. Then I saw them at the local job fair.

The job fair, which I attended in earnest, was an overstimulating cacophony of tables and applicants, but I hustled it anyway. (I was hired by my first principal in New York through a job fair.) I’m figuring out that lots of principals say they value teachers with experience, but then end up hiring “blank slates”. They’re easier to control and mold. I didn’t leave with a job, but I “networked” a lot.

Lots between the Florida and New York educational systems are the same. Administrators operate like kings and queens, applicants come through like court jesters, strictly for entertainment, and the jobs remain unfilled and/or ultimately given to an already-decided-on candidate. 

The charter school scene is even worse. It’s really hard for me to even interview for these charters, given my longstanding opposition to their existence and my unyielding conviction that private and public funds should not be commingled to fund education. (But my opinions as a 12-year educator and taxpayer be damned, a girl’s gotta eat.)

I’ve been hustling for every dollar I make. I’m on food stamps, which they just cut. Every time I go to an interview I pretty much lose a day of possible work. It’s a far cry from where I was less than 2 years ago, working as a tenured teacher for the NYC DOE. That wasn’t without its problems, if you’ve read my prior posts. But I’d resigned, here I am in Florida and life moves on.

I’ve been interviewing for non teaching positions but have been finding it difficult to get hired because I think supervisors are afraid I’m overqualified, or that I’d ultimately find a position in teaching and then leave (likely true).

Oh wait – I did have a job – for two days, teaching Language Arts to sixth graders in a Catholic school. However, I was ill suited for it and my disability intervened so I got out early and quit after two days of work. (I’m now kicking myself for that decision, deciding whether the misery of working at a job you’re ill-suited for beats the misery of poverty and debt. The grass is always greener, it seems.) 

I wish that there were a VA of sorts for burned out former school teachers. I think it’s a shame that I’ve served my community for 11 years, suffered PTSD from teaching, and now can’t even afford health insurance or to pay my bills. For some mystery, Social Security keeps denying my disability claim and I keep getting denied Medicaid. 

I guess when you’re an American worker, working and paying taxes since you’re 16 years old, this is what you can expect. (Maybe I’d have better luck getting social services if I applied as a “refugee”, or had an anchor baby to support). 

While I wish that this veteran teacher had better news to report, I will soldier on.

Thanks for reading!

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