A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, education, English teacher, Life!, mental health, public school, special education, special educator, teach, teacher, teacher 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.

Life!, Teaching

Facebook: Ruining Careers one Post at a Time…..

I am sure everyone who is reading this post agrees that Social Media and being a teacher can ruin your career if you do not use your head and post something ridiculously absurd about your students. When you do such an idiotic thing, not only are you totally embarrassing yourself and ridiculing others, you are most likely sabotaging your career. However, in my district, it seems like teachers get away with this. Especially since they are tenured and our school district cannot afford the funds to fire a tenured teacher.

Being a teacher, I refuse to have a Facebook Page, Twitter or anything of the sort. Not only because I want to avoid making impulsive posts, but because I love my job so much that it is not worth the risk.All that it takes is one idiotic post and you are toast. Say goodbye to your career.I understand that people use Facebook as a place to vent their frustrations, but if you are a teacher, you should find a different outlet to vent.

What I do not understand is why some teachers who post these statuses think that just because they have marked their profile private, that it is actually private. Well, think again! You have about 500 “friends” on your friends list, who have access to everything, good or bad, that you post. And just because people are on your friends list, does not actually mean that they are your friends!! A friends list does not solidify that they are your “true” friends and that they can be trusted. Yes, to some people, being on people’s friends list is like a badge of honor, but in reality, it is only a popularity contest.Kinda like being in high school all over again.

I definitely agree with fact that when you are a teacher, you are held to a much more higher standard. Teachers are supposed to be role models, and we teach our students not to post negative comments on their Facebook profiles.In my school, cyberbullying is like an epidemic which is spreading like wild fire. This seems to be a trend with high school students who use Facebook to cyberbully. How can students refrain from/ be expected to stop posting about others when there are teachers who post about students!I know a teacher who has posted some pretty mean comments on her Facebook page about teaching and students and is currently being held under hot water.

Now, she is trying to get herself  out of trouble by saying that it was me  who gave a parent a printed out version of the posts to turn into administration. She is claiming that her profile was private and that it was done maliciously.I think this teacher is looking for a scapegoat to avoid getting into trouble. I mean really, why can’t you just accept that you made a mistake and take responsibility for your actions and face the consequences? It does not matter who handed in your posts, you posted the comments and there is no way of avoiding it. What is pointing fingers at other people going to achieve? I would not waste my time looking at her Facebook page, nor waste my time turning in her idiotic posts.

This teacher should not be posting bad comments about her students in the first place. If you hate teaching kids so much, well, then maybe you try a totally different career. I know that teachers, like any other person, have a right to freedom of speech, but I think that since teachers are viewed upon by society as role models, then they should think again before they post about their students. They should seek alternatives to venting about their students elsewhere. Perhaps writing in a journal is a much better alternative to writing about your students.

What do you guys think…..

Do teachers have a right to posting negative comments on Facebook about their students?

Should they be able to get away with posting about their students?

Life!, Teaching

Caring too much…

Since when is caring too much considered to be such a bad thing? Especially when you are a Special Education Teacher? You always see those mugs and knickknacks in the stores that say “great teachers teach from the heart, not a book,” “teachers have a heart of gold” …blah, blah, blah, blah…. One of the main reasons why I decided to become a teacher was because I have a huge heart, and I knew that my students would benefit from this greatly. I have been told many times that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I have a heart of gold. I have always thought that these were special qualities that have always made me stand out amongst the rest. Apparently, caring too much, putting yourself out there, and making yourself available for kids means that you are not doing your job and that you are a bad teacher. That was not directly stated yet inferred.

According to the “higher ups” in my district, you should be more “business like.” Now, I am not saying that I want to be friends with my students, or that I let them get away with things. I make myself available when my students need someone to talk to, a place to eat lunch, or a place to do their homework after school. If a student needs me to walk with them in the hall from the cafeteria to cool down because they need someone to talk them out of a fight,well, then I am there. If a student’s grandparent dies, I will be their shoulder to cry on. If a student becomes frustrated with their life and school, and they are on the verge of dropping out, I will be the one to encourage them to continue getting their education.

However, what the “higher-ups” fail to realize is that caring too much is what these kids truly need. You see, through my experiences working with special education students, I have learned so much about their lives and about life itself .They come from broken homes where school is an escape from their problems. It is a second home for them. If there would be more teachers like me, who “care too much” , well, then maybe kids would refrain from dropping out.

Those who went into teaching for all of the wrong reasons are the ones who barely do enough to get by. Then there are the caring teachers who unfortunately become jaded because of all the negativity they face. Many fail to realize that you cannot be a teacher if you do not care.

Those are the teachers that need to be told, “you are not doing your job, you need to care more about kids, you need to put yourself out there.” Well, it unfortunately does not work this way in education. From what I have witnessed, if you do enough to just get by,do not care and do not put yourself out there for kids, well, then, hey.. you are doing an excellent job. Because if you care too much, “counsel” kids and are there for them, well, then you are a horrible, horrible, teacher. Which is absolutely ridiculous and absurd in my eyes.

Education has turned into a businesslike atmosphere where the board of education has to worry about the budget, making parents happy, making adequate yearly progress and making sure that the school district looks good by keeping their drop out rates, standardized test scores and bullying numbers at the expected standard.

Those higher-ups and teachers who teach for their summers off are the ones at fault because they fail to realize that if the good teachers were valued and encouraged to care then students would be more likely to stay in school and the school environment would be much more positive .

They are at fault because they need teachers that care too much. They need teachers who put themselves out there for the kids and who want to see them succeed. Let those board of ed. administrators step into my classroom and teach kids who come from broken homes, who never eat breakfast, do not have parents, and struggle with depression. Then they can come back and tell me whether or not teaching without caring and in a more business like fashion is the way to get through to those kids. Because if this is what they think their district needs in order to avoid causing rifts with parents etc., well, then they have another thing coming. These kids need more teachers who care. Whether they care a little or too much, it does not matter. They need someone who they know truly cares about them because, more than likely, they are not being cared about at home.
I am going to continue caring too much because when you care about your students, they are willing to work harder for you. They are willing to put all of their problems aside for the entire class period, all because they know that you have taken a true interest in their well-being. There needs to be more teachers,like me, who care too much.

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

Blonde Moments

I am a special education teacher who truly loves what I do. Each and everyday I walk into my classroom and I look past all of my students’ imperfections. I do not look at the kid who the other teachers fear that they will get on their roster come the beginning of September, but I look at that kid as a challenge. One of my more challenging kids, who is judged and labeled as being “crazy” and “bad” is personally one of my favorite kids.

He does what other people do not have the balls to do. He does not follow rules and defies authority. He speaks what is on his mind–to the point where it actually gets him into trouble. I have been cursed of by this student, and most teachers ask why I have not given up on him. They question, why do I even try or care? They say that I will never be able to reach him. I say I know I can. And I have.

Well, the other day, he said something that really made me laugh. He raised his hand and our conversation went sorta something like this: (obviously I am using pseudonyms to avoid criticism and getting in trouble!):

Greg: ::raises hand::

Mrs. Teacher: Yes, Greg?

Greg:Uhmmmmm… Mrs. Teacher,I just wanted to let you know …Uhmmm… that…

Mrs. Teacher: That… what is it Greg?

Greg: That you are really smart. You have your days when you are teaching and I think to myself, wow, Mrs. Teacher sure is one smart lady. But then …… I … uhmmm…..

Mrs. Teacher: You…. what Greg?

Greg: Well, don’t take this the wrong way, Mrs. Teacher, but you have your blonde moments.

Mrs. Teacher: Blonde moments? What do you mean blonde moments?

Greg: Well, you know….blonde moments. I know you are a brunette and everything, but I sometimes wonder if you are a true blonde because you have these “duh” moments.

Mrs. Teacher: ::laughs::

Just thought this was funny!!! Had to share!