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.
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.