Archive

Education

Lately all I’ve been posting here on my blog is poetry (thanks to all my new followers!) However, at one point this blog was mainly a journal about my teaching career. 

For the sake of continuity, I felt it was time to update the blog with a post about where I stand in my teaching career.

I was let go from my interim position here in Florida, only about a month after my health benefits started too! And I’d had to wait a probationary period for them to take effect.

That was kind of a bummer, because I have a medical condition and need prescription coverage, if not coverage for doctor office visits. However, losing the job wasn’t altogether bad.

There were some aspects of the job that I liked, but my boss told me that my classroom management with the sixth grade was lacking. Also, between you and me, the “literacy coaches” surrounding me were altogether too ubiquitous and denied me the professional autonomy I’ve fought for, after years in the New York system with tenuous tenure. One day I was fatigued by the constant micromanagement and probably had resting bitch face with the wrong person. (I suspect this is true.)

I don’t blame myself too much because I only started teaching them in November and my forte is high school, not middle school.

The students were mostly off the wall, and I was out of my depth dealing with them, it’s true. Even when I taught 7th and 8th grade over ten years ago at the start of my career, I always hated teaching middle school and 6th grade was, to me, even worse. (9th through 12th is my forte.) 

Plus I ended up moving further away from the job than I’d planned, and the commute was annoying. 

Good things that came out of it were pay (granted, much lower than I’d received in New York, but it was a salary nonetheless), and benefits for about a month. COBRA is available to me if I can afford it, which I haven’t determined yet.

My boss was professional and told me that I can use him in the future as a reference, which is totally helpful.

Also, I received my official state certification in the state of Florida, which may have been fast tracked due to the position. So now I have certification in two states, and it stands me well down here for other opportunities.

I’ve applied to be a substitute teacher in the district where I currently live, hopefully that leads to something good. 

I’ll keep you posted. 

Today after three hours of work, I left to go to my appeal hearing. 

I was provided with a union representative who was organized, cogent, and went through my appeal item by item. It was recorded and the principal didn’t show up in person like I had to, but she was patched in by phone. Time will tell the result, but I was really impressed by my union advocate, who worked really hard on my case. 

If I want an audio CD of today’s proceedings, all I have to do is send $25 to the state and they’ll provide me with one. (Seriously.)

Then I came home and ran six miles, since it was super nice out.

Tomorrow I have the post-observation conference with the principal (for the unannounced one she conducted yesterday morning).

Three days in after ten days off. Already I’m fiending for happy hour Friday.

Taking a sick day at work can be unnerving because I feel like people are in your business about it. Some teachers are constantly bragging about how much sick and personal time they’ve saved, and I need to remind myself that not only do I have a lot going on, but also that the job can be stressful and that everyone’s life situation is different, mine included. At the end of the day, you really just have to listen to yourself, keep your priorities intact, do your best, and let the chips fall where they may.

Yesterday I got a warning letter for leaving work last Tuesday at 3:31 instead of 3:35. I accepted it for what it was but was a little mad at myself, because I really could have refrained from leaving for four more minutes that day. (That would have been easy to control, unlike coming in on time with added variables like traffic and alternate side parking.) Lesson learned. Behavior to be avoided in the future.

Things have been busy. Grades are averaged, recorded, and submitted. Meetings have been attended. Papers have been collected and filed. Documents have been noted and signed. College recommendation letters have been drafted and printed. Tomorrow is another late night for parent conferences. I got only four hours of sleep last night, woke up feeling sick this morning, printed out the directions I’d need to navigate forty-one miles to the school site I was to report to today, and walked my dog (who then ate something off the street and nearly choked on it, necessitating me to manually dislodge whatever she’d ingested. It was a critical moment and totally unexpected. Thank God it worked out.) But yeah, I called in sick. And I definitely don’t have a lot of days in my bank and have a few latenesses chalked up this year due to the longer commute. But it is what it is.

Sometimes teachers deliberately miss professional development days because a lot figure that the students aren’t in anyway, and they can be a pain, but lately I’ve actually enjoyed them. At the last one we had a Tai Chi workshop and I discovered that I like it. Today we were supposed to be working with another school’s staff and get breakfast. It could have been a really fun day. Overall, I am disappointed about missing it, but I’m realizing that I really don’t want to be burned out for parent conferences tomorrow. I have a really amazing group of sophomores this year, and today I need to rest.

In positive news, my smart board is again working and hooked up to my classroom computer. It took a couple of months, but it’s been fixed and is functional now.

The union is blowing up my phone and my email, trying to get me to appeal last year’s ineffective rating. I know the consequences of getting two in a row can be bad, but the last time this happened to me it wasn’t all too helpful, and filing the requisite documentation proved a lot more aggravating than just sucking it up. Some battles aren’t worth it but you don’t always see that going into them. So it’s a crapshoot, but I won’t be initiating filing on it this time. I’ve got too much else going on. Ironically a large part of it involves my investment of time into planning and assessment. Getting started on a bureaucratic boondoggle is not going to be a productive endeavor, especially since I’ve tried it before. At the end of the day, I need to just listen to myself, keep my priorities intact, do my best, and let the chips fall where they may. Any support I find along the way is gravy. Sometimes it comes from unexpected places.