Friday, April 30, 2010

Help me out here....

I know that I am not in this boat alone, and I feel like I have been doing an awful lot of complaining lately which is not what this blog is supposed to be about. I have told you all about my pink slip so you know where I am coming from, and yet I still feel the need to drone on and on about poor poor me. I'm sorry.

I just want to do what I do. I want to teach. I want to engage kids in learning and watch as those "light bulb" moments happen. Those are the things that I find rewarding and inspirational.

Looking for a job is horrible. Any job. I know that in this economy there are a lot of people looking for jobs right now; many of the people that are out of work are teachers. I am finding very few openings posted in the papers, very few schools hiring that are local, very dim light at the end of the tunnel. I am feeling really lost. I usually am able to not only control my emotions but I usually have a plan. I usually have something to go on. I usually know what I will be doing next. And because I have no idea, I am panicked. I am lost. I am floundering around in a sea of wet spaghetti for Christ sakes. Yesterday I applied at one of the local bars. I can bar tend. At least I am good at something.

I feel like a failure. I know that I am not getting let go through any fault of my own, but at the same time I feel like if I had done a little better they might be keeping me. If I was a little bit more involved, if I had coached a sport, if a few more of my kids had passed, if I had been a little bit more visible in the building then maybe I wouldn't be on the chopping block. Maybe they would have found a way to keep me, maybe I would be able to make sense of this. Maybe if I had been a singing and dancing advocate for myself they would have made different choices.

I know that's not the case. If I really think about it I know that I am being crazy. I came to work at least 30 minutes early every day. I tutor, I work school events, I chaperone, I stay late. I have already accumulated 44+ hours of professional development. I went to seminars, classes and conventions for English teachers. I met with authors, I incorporated technology into my classroom, I went to my student's games, concerts, plays. My kids like me, but more than that they respect me and rely on me, that is far more important than if they like me.

Why am I not valued then? Why can't people see past the dollar sign next to my name and see that I am worth the money they spend to keep me here?

I might be depressed. Can you be depressed if you know you're depressed? Or is depression something that sneaks up on you? I thought that depressed people didn't know that they were suffering from a problem. I know that I have a problem. I feel like I am sinking, drowning, losing. I can't sleep at night, I am not usually hungry and I have no ambition to complete any of the tasks looming in front of me. My family is suffering because of it, I burst into hysterical tears over spilt milk, and I keep whining about it in my blog for the poor public to read. I am boring the pants off of anyone that will listen to me for even a moment. And to top it all off? I don't even feel like there is any hope of being successful in my endeavor to find another job.

What should I be doing differently?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I do not want to be a substitute teacher. I do not want to walk into someone else's classroom and teach someone else's lessons to someone else's students. My relationship with my students is the most important and rewarding part of my job. How am I supposed to be content without that bond? I will though. If I have to. I will.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The school I teach at is in po-dunk-ville, USA. The biggest draw around here is a trip to Walmart, the fanciest restraunt that is in the area is Applebees (although a new Perkins just opened up), and there are trailer parks as far as the eye can see.

That being said, the superintendent of our school made $146,935.00 last year.


Who needs that much money? Why am I being layed off? What does he do to earn that income?

Life is not fair.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Welcome to the World Lydia!!

My beautiful and sweet, sweet friend from work just gave birth to a healthy, baby girl. The wonder of life amazes me sometimes. I am completely caught up in the newness and frailty of this little person. When life looks grim and sad and crummy everywhere, there is this fresh life, full of hope. The future stretches out in front of her, and I hope she grabs life by the horns, because as they say "Life goes on", beautifully.

Happy Birthday Lydia Grace! I hope life is good to you, and you know how very loved you are.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I just want to keep my job.... :-(

$23 billion in federal funding is proposed to preserve teaching jobs U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin has proposed $23 billion in emergency spending to be used for teachers' salaries and benefits, preventing layoffs that might result from districts' budget shortfalls. The measure was introduced Wednesday and would supplement the $100 billion for education that was included in the federal stimulus. Education Secretary Arne Duncan testified before a Senate panel in favor of the funding. "It is brutal out there," Duncan said after his testimony. "It is really scary. We're seeing massive layoffs around the country." Bloomberg BusinessWeek (4/14) , Education Week (premium article access compliments of (4/14)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some random thoughts...

There has been a title change to the blog.... right now it's a fill in the blank. I wear so many titles right now that it's hard to just pick one. Am I teacher? Friend? Mentor? Encourager? Cheerleader? Coach? Lifeguard? Inspiration? Hero? Brat? Loser? Failure?

I commented on this newspaper's blog recently and then a flurry of activity followed. Mostly negative. It's so disheartening to see how the public views educators and education. Read it, comment, spread the word.

Then, I joined this site. Its a really cool place for teachers to talk about their goals for education in New York. It focuses a lot on the city, but it has some really valid points and some great conversation. Its called Educators 4 Excellence. I truly hope that people can begin to see that teachers are really professionals, and there are some supremely great people that do this job.

I'm busy this week. Keeping my head above water, not taking my frustrations out on my family, and looking for job postings. Keep your fingers crossed, and keep the faith.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Just keep swimming....

I feel like I am in quicksand, slipping down into a bottomless abyss. I do not want to continue to complain to my friends. One of them is 8 months pregnant for christ sakes, I feel like she has far more to complain about than I do. So I keep whining online like a looney-toon. My life is not that bad. I'm loved. I am generally happy. I have a wonderful and supportive family and network of friends. I have a dog that loves to cuddle and will dutifully lick tears off my face. I own a home, a horse, and a car. I have students who I adore, a career I love and ambition to be successful even on the brink of my looming unemployment. I have very few responsibilities, a wide open schedule for spring break, and the sun is shining. So why do I feel like such a freaking failure?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


A colleague of mine who teaches English Academic Intervention Services, (a class created for kids struggling in English) came to me today with inspiring and uplifting news. A student I have who professes to have not read a book since the 6th grade (I teach 10th) just finished his literature circle book for my class. Apparently he loved it and couldn't put it down!!! Success!

Of course, its a Young Adult modern piece of fluff fiction about a boy who steals computers and solves a murder, but none of that matters when you consider the scope of his aversion to reading. HE FINISHED A NOVEL! That is fabulous. I am so freaking happy. :-)

I hope to instill a love of reading in my students. I know this is a big goal. So, when I slice it down to a more manageable size, my hope is that we can negate the extreme hatred that some kids have for reading. I think this would be a good indication that this is working.


Today is a new day. Today is a new opportunity for greatness. Today is the beginning of something great. Today I will start with a fresh face, and a freash outlook. Today my students will benefit from being in my classroom. Today I will not think about losing my job....... much.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Dear Guy-in-Charge:

I had a student today write a letter to the executive principal in response to finding out about my job and the loss of it. I can’t even begin to express how humbling it was to hear the way in which this child has come to regard and respect his teachers. He pointed out in his letter that over the course of the week he spends more time with his teachers than his family. He calculated the average cost of a teacher’s salary and compared that to what he thought was the value of his education. He discussed in depth the hours that he thinks teachers put into their careers, and more importantly the hours they put into their students. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to dance. I wanted the principal to listen to him.

Unfortunately, I know that his opinion does not matter. I know that what he values and what helps him learn won’t count. I know that money is more important than learning, and that even though the school professes to want what’s best for the students what they really want is what is best for their pocketbooks.

I wish that things were different. I wish that I could look my student in the eyes and tell him that what he thinks and feels will make a difference. I wish I could tell him that his ambition and passion would open eyes and help the community to see that there were mistakes being made.

So I praised his writing ability and his effort. I told him to express himself, to stand up for what he believes in. I told him I was proud of him and that I could see him going great places. I encouraged him to submit his letter to the paper, to give it to the principal and to shout his ideas from the roof tops. I told him to prepare for failure and disappointment…. I told him I was proud of him, and I am honored to be part of what makes him such a great kid.

And then I cried my ever-loving heart out. The moment the door to my classroom closed I completely lost. my. shit. I am a good teacher. I love my students and this is so unfair.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Over the course of this week I have eaten nothing. When I get upset I don't eat. It's a great way to jump start my spring time dieting....but not good for my overall well-being and health and energy. In fact, it makes me feel downright sucky. I am just not hungry at all. Yesterday I forced myself to eat half a turkey sandwich for lunch, then later when my super colleagues brought snacks and wine to our weekly writing group I took another sliver of sandwich and half a glass of wine. I went home with good intentions of making dinner, and instead got in bed at 7:15 and didn't get out again until this morning. Is this what depression feels like? I know I should have done things, the animals needed to be taken care of, there was work to do, papers to grade, laundry to be washed and dishes that needed to be put away. I felt guilty that I was doing nothing and yet I could not drag myself out of bed. I tried over and over to convince myself to get up, I tried to even get myself to read the text book for the class I'm taking this spring....and yet there I stayed, curled up with 5 pillows, and Penny. I didn't turn on the TV I didn't turn on the lights, I just lay there. For hours, until I finally fell asleep. I feel so drained, and like things are just going to continue to spiral down-hill. I'm being really negative about my life, about my job outlook, about my relationship that has been at a standstill for years.... I'm so cranky that people don't want to be around me and I do nothing but complain. I hate myself like this. This isn't me.