A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, Life!, Teaching, Uncategorized

Teacher Appreciation Week My &@#$!!

 

I feel like this week should have been called “Teacher Un-Appreciation Week” It is usually during this week that teachers are given their notices of non-renewal or renewal, so why the HELL are they calling it “Teacher Appreciation Week??”

I feel unappreciated as a teacher because I was not only denied tenure, but they did not renew my contract. My district decided to show us just how much they appreciate all of our dedication and hard work  by giving us a bag of stale popcorn in our mailboxes.Just what I always wanted! How sweet. I am sure the birds will appreciate the taste of cardboard.

I have been working in my district as a Special Education Teacher at the highschool level for the past three years. I worked hard to get where I am and I absolutely love my job. I actually look forward to going to work every morning. That was until I received devastating news last Friday that I was not going to be granted tenure/renewed!

Now mind you, I have been picturing what it would be like to be awarded tenure, and in my eyes I undoubtably felt that I deserved it. I can genuinely say that I put all of my effort into teaching my students ,and that I was 100 % dedicated. That day will forever be engraved in my mind, and has left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to how the public education system is ran. It just goes to show you, that they do not have the best interest of the kids, especially when letting a good teacher go.

It is strange because I have never been fired before, but that day I could sense it, and as it turned out, my intuition was right. It all started when the Special Ed. Department was given their allotted budget to purchase materials for their classroom. I was the only teacher who was not provided with the paperwork. I asked my principal why and he stated “I must have overlooked you.”

Overlooked me? Yea right. I knew right then and there that he was lying and that something fishy was up. I hate bullshit artists.Later on in the day, my principal asked me to step into his office, and I knew that then and there that this was not going to be good. Anytime, you are sent to the principal’s office, you can never expect it to be good.

I was told that my contract was not going to be renewed for the 2012/2013 school year. My first thought: Are you %^&$%*# kidding me?  I started to hyperventilate and cry and I stormed out of his office. I know crying is a sign of weakness and all, but I think it is a sign of showing just how much you truly love your job. Of course, the news spread amongst the staff, students and parents because all that it took was one person to find out. I feel like as I walk through the halls, I get looks of pity and of disdain. I feel like I am wearing a permanent Scarlet Letter.

The even worse part of this whole situation is the fact that they do not have to give nontenured teachers a reason.  Non-tenured teachers do not have the same rights as tenured teachers. Tenured teachers have due process rights and can only be fired if they do something very bad. Now, in my district, I have no idea what they consider to be bad because we have teachers ,who,and  I’m sorry to say this, SUCK. We have teachers who show movies all of the time, come late to work, are always absent and are only in it for the summers off. This really makes me mad because I put so much time and effort into my job, and I am always there late. I have even  developed good relationships with the janitors because of this… I feel like sometimes, all of your hard work gets you no where, and goes unappreciated. Now I am back at square one–right where I was after I graduated from college.

Okay, so this whole “I’m sorry but we are not renewing your contract” thing was difficult enough as it is, but then all of the bullshit that goes along with it has made this situation that much more worse. Since I work in a very poor district where our budget never passes and has little to no money, my principal “suggested” that I resign. Hmmm.. I wonder why he would want me to do that? Are you trying to get me to not  collect unemployment so that the district can avoid paying me! Awesome… Yea, because I would do that… I have a mortgage to pay damn it. Then he tries to blackmail me with “Now if you resign, then you are more likely to get a letter of recommendation.” Yea right, like I am going to believe you.

Since I have not been told yet, why I am not being renewed, I keep driving myself crazy trying to come up with reasons. As a nontenured teacher, I have the right to request a letter from the Superintendent which states specifically their reasons for the nonrenewal. I can’t wait to open up that letter! Not.

After I receive my letter, I have the right to something called a “Donaldson Hearing.” This is an informal hearing where you can try to fight for your job. The number of teachers who actually get their job back after a Donaldson Hearing are slim to none. No thanks, why would I want to work where I am not wanted? And embarrass myself before the Board. My principal said if I do this, then I will not get a letter of recommendation. I feel like  I have wasted three long and stressful years of my life. Although I absolutely love my job.

What makes it even worse is that I have to finish working until the end of June to finish my contract. It kind of sucks having to work and when every memberl of the staff know that you were canned. What makes it even worse is students know, so at times, I get very emotional and start to cry. I know… I.am.ridiculous.

I have come to the conclusion that this job is very political. It does not matter that my students love me. Or that parents keep writing letters to the Board of Ed. telling them how crazy they are for letting a dedicated teacher go.  It does not matter if students are having a petition signed to try to convince them to let me stay. None of that matters.

What makes me livid is that I was never given a “needs improvement” in my observations (which is grounds for firing), nor did I get complaints about my classroom teaching. I received a parent complaint from a crazy parent who said I was defaming her son’s character by telling him to “step it up a notch.” I hate those “my kid is always right, no one can harm my child type parents.” Well, that was strike one.

Then, I had a parent complain who said I made her daughter feel “cognitively impaired.” Like, seriously lady, I am a Special Education Teacher, I would never do that. What parent keeps their child on home instruction for 3 years? And then has the nerve to complain  because she wanted me to provide Special Ed. services to her daughter who is an honors students.

Strike two.

Since I have ADD, I have a difficult time keeping up with organization and my time cards for tutoring. It is very time-consuming especially since I actually teach (and do not sit at my desk). I barely have enough time as it is for myself and for the work that my job actually entails. Since my husband gets laid off occasionally due to his type of work in the union, I decided to hold on to my tutoring time cards until later in the year, so then that way I could have the money for the summer.Well, it turns out that I made about $4500 dollars and the Board of Ed. was pissed. Now when I mean pissed, they were PISSED.

Lets just say that this was strike three.

I am not sure if this is directly related to my situation, however, I think that it might be. A  teacher who has bullied me for the past three years, posted some bad comments about students on her Facebook page. Then she was spreading gossip around the school that I was the one who printed the comments out and turned her in. No, sorry lady, I have better things to do with my life than worry about you. Maybe you should think before you post, and perhaps make your page private. Or maybe you should just delete your page altogether?  It is just a thought!!Did she think a parent was never going to do this? Like seriously??? Are you kidding me? Then you go around the whole entire school saying that I set you up! Go to %$##! If  I were that parent, I would have done the same thing!

I will soon find out what their reasons are once I receive the letter. I am really dying to know what their reasons are for not renewing my contract. I am also scared to read it because I feel like it will do a number on my self-esteem. But who would not want to know?I am sure that, whatever their reason might be, they are going to lie. I bet they have a family member who needs a job, and then they figure they would get rid of a nontenured teacher.

In the meantime, I am not sure what my future may  hold. This is probably a blessing in disguise, and I will realize this when the time comes. Maybe I was not cut out to be a teacher. Maybe I just was not a good fit. Who knows.I know I have many options open and I am going to start looking into going to back to school. I am not sure whether or not I am ready to try to get a new teaching job. I feel as though  I have been burned pretty badly. All I know is that it is their loss and they will eventually see that they made a terrible decision.

mental health, Poetry, Teaching, Uncategorized

“The Father of Horror”

edgar_allan_poe_by_crisvector-d3jswe4

Every year, I teach Edgar Allan Poe, and, although my students are reluctant to read his works at first,  they end up loving him. The one fact that they never forget is that he married his 13 year old cousin (even though she was his cousin through marriage). Out of all the facts that they learn about Poe, this is what they are amazed with! kids! Then they start to say he is a creep and a cradle robber….

Recently, we just finished reading “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee” -(some loved the poems , while others hated them!) I can’t make everyone happy!

A few of my students arrived to class today telling me that they saw the movie “The Raven” which just came out starring John Cusack. Just so you readers know, the movie does not follow the poem “The Raven,” however, the title of the movie fits because a raven was considered to be a messenger of death. Isn’t that charming? My students said they felt misled by the title, but they loved it!

Of course,  being a huge Poe fan, I just had to see it! My husband even mustered up enough energy to tag along!  Surprisingly, I LOVED it. My husband could not believe that I actually sat through the entire film! ( I get bored VERY easily) I LOVED how they incorporated different aspects of his short stories throughout the movie. I am not going to give too much detail because I don’t want to ruin it, but it is a must see!

Also, Cusack portrayed an accurate depiction of Poe (in my eyes–based on what I have read about Poe’s life). The movie  allowed me to  view Poe in a different light. After you read about his biography, you think he is a bit disturbed and crazy. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s Poe! After viewing “The Raven” I sorta had a new found respect for Poe. I empathized with him on a whole new level and saw a romantic side of him that I was unable to see before.

Throughout my years in college, Poe, was my all time favorite American Poet. I love how he is best known for his dark and dreary works that are filled with gothic elements. My  favorite poems by Poe are “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven” which both focus on the theme death of a beautiful woman. Because his poetry is so beautiful, I always catch  myself reciting lines from them repeatedly in my mind, such as his famous lines from “The Raven”.. “quote the raven nevermore” and “once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary.” The lines from”Annabel Lee” that I cannot forget are: ” For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes.”

Gotta love good ole’ internal rhyme!

There is something absolutely intriguing about Poe’s works that make him an extraordinary writer. In my mind, although he was deranged and fully embodied the characteristics of a madman, he was absolutely brilliant. In many ways, I feel as though I can truly relate to  Poe’s life. I believe, many of us can, one way or another.

I can relate to him on many different levels— minus the ability to write gruesome horror stories… Like Poe, I lost my mother and my father had left when I was young.  I was adopted and so was Poe. He struggled with mental illness and despite the fact that my husband has called me crazy several times, I have been diagnosed with ADD, Bipolar and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Hey, what do ya know? It is always the crazy ones who are creative.

Like Poe, writing has always been my outlet of expression.  He had such a gift and it was a shame that he was not recognized sooner. I truly admire Poe, because despite all of the obstacles he had faced in life, he became a success and his legacy lives on.

blogging, Uncategorized

A Serious Case of Writer’s Block

 

Image result for writers block funny

I am unsure of the fact of whether or not many of you bloggers out there have ever suffered from a bad case of Writer’s Block,but, if you have, then you will be able to relate to my frustrations. If any of you currently have it, well, then, I must have caught it! And I just want it to go away!

Not being able to write is highly unlike me because I constantly have thoughts runnning through my mind! I have kept a journal throughout my entire life, and have never experienced being  unable to write. Recently, I have been really trying, or shall I  say attempting,  to write new post. I can’t tell you how many times I have opened a blank post with the hopes of something, ANYTHING coming to my mind.

Unfortunately, no ideas have come to my mind!! It is sooo frustrating. Usually, something inspires or motivates me to write. Whether it be my feelings, an object, the mood or a person. Once the inspiration strikes me, it just flows. Lately, it has been a whole bunch of nothing. Hopefully some ideas will start to come to mind.

What do some of you bloggers do to get over a bad case of Writer’s Block?

What is your muse? What inspires you to write?

Are there any topics that you would like to read about?

Let me know, so that this bad case of Writer’s Block eventually subsides!

Friends, Life!, Uncategorized

Why I left Facebook….

Image result for facebook funny

If I were to write a letter to Facebook (lets pretend it is an actual person) explaining why I no longer have it in my life, this is what the letter would look like: (lol)

Dear Facebook,

I am deeply sorry for not returning, however, my life without you has been much better. I had originally  left Myspace for you because you had made my life much more easier and convenient. There were some good reasons for having you in my life. You encouraged me to keep in contact with family and reunite with old friends. I was able to save money on stamps and envelopes since I had the luxury of being able to send out group invitations for events. If I did not feel up to speaking with anyone, I could post a status so that people would know that I was still alive. I could show off my photography and keep people ” in the know” as to my every single move. Life was good.

Then, just like with any other relationship, things went sour.

You made me realize just  how much I was missing out on in life by simply reading other peoples’ statuses. You start to feel depressed when you see that your friends went to the Dominican Republic without you. Which makes you realize just how truly lame your life actually is because you are currently on Facebook (no offense) reading other people’s statuses while they are meeting hot Dominicans.

You were way too demanding. Too much of my time was spent being dedicated to you when I could have been doing other things. I was scared that it was turning into an addiction. You know you have a problem when you start Facebooking Stalking. (if anyone is reading this– you know you did it! you were a victim of Facebook stalking!! lol)

You also made me realize how many friends I did not have. After a little comparing and contrasting, you start to notice other people with 500 friends, and then you realize you only have 100, which starts to make you feel like a loser. But, hey, you reminded me of this everyday.

You were high maintenance. I could not understand why I had to keep you posted of my every move via status postings. Can we say demanding? This only encouraged stalkers to enter into my life. I mean, do people really need to know when I take a shower or walk my dog? Keeping up with the statuses were time consuming. Then you wanted me to “check in?” Wayyyyyy to take away all of my freedom.

I need consistency in my life, and you are not consistent. Trying to keep up with your new appearance was difficult to adjust to. Why couldn’t you just remain the same? Now my life had to be broken down into a timeline for you! Really? A timeline? no comment.

I think what made me truly end it with you, Facebook, was when you constantly threw it in my face when my friends were mad at me.  Once I logged on and saw that I was unfriended, it always made me furious.Especially when they got to do the unfriending first! Oh, the agony!  It seemed as though you took pride in that. I also could never understand why you always encouraged me to befriend every person who I have met throughout my entire life. I mean, really. Do I really need to become friends with my hairdresser? the mailman? I felt like I was constantly competing with other people as to who had more friends. So befriending anyone and everyone seemed like the cool way to make my friend circle bigger.

This pretty much sums up why I  can no longer have you in my life, my dearest Facebook. It was nice having you in my life while it lasted, but I am happy to have my privacy and freedom back. I am sure you will be fine since you have a million admirers. Maybe one day I will find it in my heart to reactivate.

Sincerely,

Jess

Life!, nature, Photography, Uncategorized

Dragonflies!

I live near two lakes by my house, and I always see dragonflies flying all over the place. When I first bought myself a Canon, I decided to take a ride over to the lake. I told my husband that I would not leave until I took two photos of the dragonflies. This was quite difficult since dragonflies fly around so rapidly. I managed to take two good photos and I wanted to share! Enjoy!

 

 

blogging, Uncategorized

How do I get more traffic to my blog?

Ok, so I need some advice, pointers, tips… anything from those experienced, successful bloggers here on Word Press! At this point, I am desperate!! (just kidding). I have been perusing through Word Press and have noticed that many bloggers have followers and attract much more traffic to their blog than I do.

The question that I am posing to you, fellow readers, is this: How do I get more people to read my blog? It seems like everyone on this site has followers and comments are being made on their site,however, my blog pretty much is viewed not as much as I would like.

How do I get more people to comment and view my blog? I would like to have some followers. I know I may sound somewhat desperate in my plea for advice as to how to attract more traffic, but I think it is human nature to seek some sort of attention on here. Some sort of recognition or a sense of approval. I don’t know. Maybe I am asking for too much!

I am not looking to get my blog featured, just some fellow blogger advice as to how to attract more viewers. How do I get that sense of knowing that “I belong to the blogging circle” here on Word Press.

If you have any advice as to what you think I should do, well, that would be greatly appreciated! I am open to any constructive criticism that is thrown my way. As a teacher, I have learned to take criticism. Therefore, just leave a comment with what works, or what I should change. After all, I am new to this new blogging thing and I know everyone has to start somewhere!
Thank you!