Ever since I received notification of my non-renewal and not being granted tenure, I felt sorry for myself. I have felt like a failure and depressed; especially since these are feelings that I have dealt with throughout my entire life. When you have
ADD, you always have to prove yourself, work harder than most people and have a difficult time fitting in.This has always been my experience, and I feel like that may have contributed to their decision.
Since I was not given a reason for my nonrenewal, and being that I have to finish my contract until June 12, I become more and more sad as the year comes to an end. This year, was by far my favorite year. I love my students and have an excellent rapport with them. They are definitely an amazing group of kids. Being non-renewed with excellent observations, and no negative letters in my file, has left me surprised beyond belief. As well as numerous parents, students and faculty.
I saw this coming when a director, out of nowhere, told me I was screwing up, and that I need to learn how to listen and stop interrupting people. I took it upon myself to tell him I was diagnosed with ADD. Then a coworker of mine was spreading rumors that I showed a parent her negative comments about students that she posted on her Facebook Page. First of all, I do not have Facebook and second of all, I have better ways to use my time. This particular teacher made my life miserable my first year as my mentor and continued to do so during my second year. I know for a fact that I am not the only one. She is also friendly with this director… hmm.. Can we say politics? Oh yea, and this teacher, who is tenured, did not get into trouble because she has tenure.
Besides all of that crap, I keep obsessing over coming up with different reasons why this has happened. I think “What could I have done differently?” “Did I do something that I was not told about?” “Why do they not like me?” “Did I not work hard enough?” I mean, I know I taught Special Education (high school, nonetheless), taught the extended school year program for three years, tutored for the district and served as a Student Government Advisor for two years. I guess I needed to do more?
Today, I came to a new realization. Yes, I know I made small mistakes along the way. Small mistakes that have nothing to do with my classroom teaching. I know that teachers make small mistakes along the way, but I feel that this director was just out to get me. Despite that fact that I tutored any student that he wanted me to tutor, no matter the disability or level of difficulty. I tried to please him in anyway, and was always up for the challenge. I feel like they just used me for three years; which was solely based on one person’s opinion of me (someone who has never read my perfect reviews, and has not even seen me teach) and then decided to not renew/ nor grant me tenure.
To me, it is not the “not getting tenure” part that bothers me, because I could care less about that aspect of teaching. This is because in a way, I think tenure protects bad teachers. There are some bad teachers in my school, and I am not mentioning names or my district but there are, and nothing is ever done about it. A teacher made fun of students on Facebook, a teacher is known for showing movies, and a teacher arrives late or shows up whenever she pleases to school. I know of a teacher in my school who belittles the Special Ed. students and gossips about other teachers. ETC.ETC.ETC. The list goes on.
In my school, the teachers are broken up into cliques. It reminds me of being in high school. There are the jocks (the history teachers who coach sports), the “popular girls” who hang out with the jocks and also coach sports, there are the teachers who gossip to fit in, the nerdy teachers, the loners and the outcasts etc. Personally, some teachers have made me feel like an outcast and never took it upon themselves to try to get to know me as a person. I decided to avoid the teacher’s lounge because of the endless amount of gossip that goes on, and the cynical teachers who hate their jobs.All of that gossip and cynicism about other teachers and students just makes me plain old depressed. I enjoy eating in my classroom and I keep my door open for those students who want to study, get extra help or use my computers during my lunch. I would rather have my students come visit me than any of the teachers.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends. A select few who have never labeled me, excluded me or made me feel like an outcast. They have entered this profession for all of the same reasons that I did. Not for the summers off, or to leave at 2. If you are a good teacher, you know that your job does not end at 2. I also entered it to teach kids and touch their lives. I have formed bonds with about 5 teachers that I can trust and go to for support, which in itself, is enough for me. I wish there were more nonjudgemental people in this world like them.
After obsessing over this predicament, I have decided to look at this in a much more positive light. I think that this may have been a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is god’s way of telling me that there are bigger and better things out there for me. Maybe I was only supposed to be a teacher for three years, and now it is time to move on. I know this hurts, but sometimes I have to trust in god. I was never a religious person until my mom passed away, and when my life at that point as a teenager, started to snow ball into a series of difficult circumstances. However, I look back and I see all that I have accomplished on my own and it has only made me a stronger person. If I was able to overcome losing my mom at 18, being homeless, living on my own, living in a house with fleas before my mom died, having an emotionally/verbally abusive boyfriend at the time, and always having to deal with Dyfus, I say that I turned out pretty good. I strongly feel that this was god’s plan and he watched out for me.
I think at this moment, I need to trust in him. I need to trust that he has a new plan for me. I know that I put 150 % into my job (which is much more than most teachers put into), and so I know, and many will agree, that this was the result of politics in education. God probably feels that this effort should be put into a new profession or school where my efforts will not be taken for granted/ go unrecognized.
This most definitely has to be a blessing in disguise, and I have to learn how to prevent myself from over-analyzing the situation. I need to look ahead more positively and trust that god will lead the way. I am going to finish out this school year to the best of my ability and look towards the future. I am sure that I will overcome this obstacle and will be able to look back and be proud that I overcame the situation. I also need to realize that I had no control over it. Yes, one person may have been out to get me, however, not everyone in life is going to appreciate your hard work, but I am sure that there is someone who will someday. Whether it be a boss, a class, or a new employer, there will be someone who deserves and will not take my dedication for granted.I will not look at this as a loss, but as many lessons learned, and three years of experience. I will also know that I touched the lives of many amazing kids.