So, recently I haven’t been writing or editing much. Well, except for good-bye letters to my kids. I haven’t even been reading much. You see, I, like so many others in this country, have lost my job. I will not be back teaching at the school that I have put my heart and soul into for two years. It doesn’t matter that I worked with 5 clubs (for free). It doesn’t matter that I’m certified in my subjects and passed all of the state tests. All that matters is that next year I will be on step 3 (that means that I will have been teaching 3 years) and that I have a Masters in Education for Curriculum and Instruction with my focus being E.L.L. and English for high school students. All of this means: it is more expensive to pay me.
In many states and many districts, they are firing a ridiculous amount of teachers for these very same reasons. Its why many of my friends are getting out of teaching. The states say that we should run educational institutions like a business but they don’t give us the materials to do what we need to do and then fire everyone under 3 years in May and June so that you wait 3 months to find out if you get your job back. There is no other business in the world where that would happen. So clearly, the business model of education isn’t working so well. People have forgotten that teaching isn’t a trade. They’ve forgotten the impact that a teacher has on their students. They have also forgotten that we get no overtime and spend more time doing work at home than just about any other profession I can think of. Teachers often work in the summer so that we can afford our bills. We do this because teaching is a calling and we love what we do. The people running the schools right now seem to have forgotten that regardless of low pay, little thanks, and a crazy amount of hours, we LOVE what we do. It is sad to me and I wish that teachers had some say in what happened in policy. The people who make the policy have often never been in a classroom as a teacher and therefore don’t know what really goes on. This is the state of education in this country right now. I love my kids and it makes me sad for them. (They’re cute. I got a couple of letters, a card, and necklace today from various kids. They’re sending me emails and checking in already and school just ended today. 🙂 )
I don’t know what will happen next year. I assume that most of the stuff I did will fall away and be forgotten by all except for those who were involved. I was reading Neil Gaiman’s blog (as I often do) and I agree with him: personal tragedy is not the best inspiration. And this is a personal tragedy, as anyone who loved their job and was handed a pink slip (which strangely, is white) will tell you. In this economy, I have little choice and few prospects. I will most likely spend time collecting unemployment, which is a blow to my pride as someone who has always been incredibly independent and always wants to stand on my own two feet. I know that I will land on my feet eventually. I am like a cat in both my curiosity and my ability to make things work. I just hate the fact that at the moment the ground where I can land seems rather far away. The situation is what it is. I’m sure that something will come along eventually. Meanwhile, I have student loans to pay off and car payments to make. Guess it’s time to tighten the belt again.