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Archive for August, 2012

New School

I realize that if I’m going to be blogging, I really need to be more disciplined about it! It’s a rainy day, so it’s a perfect time to explain about my new job as a Montessori teacher.

For you to understand how happy I am about this, you must first know what the last three years have been like. I was employed by a charter school for two and a half years, beginning in January 2010. At the time, I was ecstatic! After all of the hard work and sacrifices on my family’s part to get me through school, I finally had a way to contribute to my family income. I knew it would be tough, the kids there can be some pretty tough characters, but I was ready. My hubby worked there, too, so I felt really good about starting my teaching career there.

After teaching the remainder of that first year, I began looking for someplace else! Please understand, I was not a newbie to working with kids. During my eleven years at The Henry Ford, I taught classes and dealt with children all the time. I even had a 6- month subbing assignment after I finished student teaching and I loved it! This was completely different. I needed all of my energy just to deal with some of the behavior that tried to happen, from both the students and their families. My classroom was known for being calm and peaceful, but it took a LOT of work to keep it that way. On top of the usual teaching difficulties, there was the administration. The first year I was there it wasn’t so bad. I think they gave me some leeway because I had a spilt class and they didn’t want to overwhelm me. The second year, we were bombarded with orders about testing, testing, and more testing. We (the teachers) had to write report after report about the testing that should have been the job of administration, not us. Communication from administration was sketchy, at best, while we were admonished for not communicating with parents, many of whom were extremely verbally abusive and unstable. Parents were not penalized for disrupting our school day with minor complaints instead of making appointments and were catered to in every way, so as not to lose the money their children gave the school through public funding. I have never been so miserable in a job in all of my life.

To make a long story short, teaching jobs have been scarce here for a while and it was difficult to get out. Quitting was on my mind constantly, but there are always bills to pay. Without another job, it was impossible. I interviewed for several positions in Dearborn, but politics being what they are, I didn’t know any of the principals well enough and/or didn’t have an ELL certification. At the end of this past school year, I knew I wouldn’t be asked back. That’s another crappy thing about charter schools. There are almost no unions whatsoever and you essentially have to reapply for your job every year. This past year I raised a fuss about a lot of things that I couldn’t keep silent about any more, including the fact that I received a full evaluation without anyone ever coming in to observe me. In June, when I got the letter thanking me for my service over the past few years but that  they wouldn’t be offering me a position for the coming year, I felt a mixture of feelings. I was relieved that I wouldn’t be going back to the place that had my blood pressure up to the point where I was taking medication, but also insulted. I haven’t been let go from a job since I was 16 and told the manager at Ponderosa I would need two weeks off to go to Australia. All the same, it was liberating. I signed up to be a substitute teacher again and planned on collecting unemployment whie looking for something else.

About a week after I got home from London, I got a phone call from a Montessori school that I had interviewed with back in February for an assistant position. I had been overqualified for that one, but they had a lead teacher position open and was I interested? Yes, I was! When I had visited this place, it had such a happy vibe about it that I was sad to not have gotten the position. I went back to interview this time and it just felt like a good fit. When they called me in a week later with the job offer, I immediately accepted. Marty and I had talked about it and we agreed that I needed a place that felt like home, where it wouldn’t be a high-pressure testing facility (something I don’t agree with), and where I could have more freedom to teach, not to have administration breathing down my neck about reports or twelve-page lesson plans. I’m not kidding. The format of the lesson plans at the charter school were twelve pages long, took about four hours to type out, and had to be turned in to administration for review every week, in addition to grading, calling parents, etc.

Due to privacy reasons, I can’t blog the name of my new school, but it’s fairly close to home and the staff has been incredibly welcoming. I’m under no illusions that this will be a walk in the park, though. These are children, after all, and children have their own particular challenges. I’m just happy that it looks like I will have the support and resources that I need. Most importantly, I’ll be able to be a TEACHER, not a curriculum coordinator, not a secretary, a TEACHER, and able to spend the time I need with my students. I’ve been assured of that. I had almost give up on being a teacher and this is essentially my last try at it. I’m learning the Montessori methods and I really think it will be a good thing. For the first time, I’m optimistic about the school year and what it entails.

I’ll keep you posted.

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As previously stated, I had jury duty on Monday. And Tuesday. Yes, in retaliation for complaining about the number of times I have been called, the universe chose me for a jury. I can blog about it because it is over now and a bad guy will be ebhind bars for at least the next 10 1/2 years. I should feel good about helping to take an armed robber, who was definitely guilty, off the street for several years, but I don’t.

I’m upset that the defendant, a young, baby-faced, man of 24 can’t find a way to live other than sticking guns in people’s faces and demanding money. I’m upset that his two baby-mamas were in the courtroom, having left his two very-close-in-age children out in the hallway being cared for by others while their daddy goes to jail. I’m upset that someone failed this young man somewhere along the way, whether it was his mother, his father, other relatives, or anyone else who could have stepped in and said, “No, stealing and lying are NOT acceptable! This isn’t how we live.” No one got through to him or cared enough to give him the stern discipline and example that could possibly have overcome the call of the streets and easy money.

I’m upset that two children, toddlers, will not grow up with their daddy. By the time he gets out of jail, it may be too late for them. From the look of their mothers, I don’t have a lot of hope for their futures and that’s sad. The cycle of violence continues for many reasons. On and on, through the generations until someone says, “Enough.”

I helped take a bad guy off the streets today but that won’t solve the problem. That troubles me.

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