Thursday, May 28, 2015

Today

By:  UndercoverBAT

moon
I enter my home, my hands overflowing with all of my end of year stuff. It’s not enough that you have to do report cards, student records, and everything else for the end of the year, but I take it upon myself to do a special present for all my kids too.

Because I don’t have enough on my plate, and I don’t spend enough money on my kids as it is.
So my hands are overflowing. Things are trying to fall out of the teacher bag over my shoulder, and I set it all down. Because really, that’s not what I’m thinking about.

Today I lost my  job.

There. There it is in print. Today I lost my job.

Today I lost my job. Today.I.Lost.My.Job. I lost my job. I lost my job I lost my job I lost my job oh my God I LOST MY JOB.

I have suspected this day was coming; I’ve seen the writing on the wall. And even with my undercover status, I’m not the person the administration’s looking for, and I know that. But I wanted the choice to leave to be mine, and I’ve been trying to make it mine. But no one would call back. No one would return an email. And I was starting to resign myself to the fact that leaving wasn’t going to be an option.

And now leaving is the only option.

Because they told me so.

The thing is, I know I’m not a horrible teacher. I’m not the world’s best teacher, but I’m a pretty damn good teacher. And my kids leave my class knowing a lot more than ABCs and 123s. And I’ve got several years’ worth of students in that building to prove that.

But…

That’s not the way the game works. It’s about politics. It’s about who you’re friends with, and who you’re not friends with.

Standing up for children is irrelevant.

Caring about children is irrelevant.

Today I lost my job.

Today I also got the information about how my summer paychecks will work. Except mine won’t work that way for me because I lost my job. And I got a letter that tells how long my health insurance lasts. And it really sunk in that this could be it. These next few days could be the last days that I’m a teacher. The job market isn’t good. I’m now in a class where I’m too expensive to be hired, like I’m cattle at the market. My human capital isn’t worth it.

So this might be it. And while part of me is really like maybe this should be it, maybe I should get another job, I don’t know what I would do. I don’t even know how I would go about it. And for God’s sake, what would I do with all of this teacher stuff? Oh my God.

So the night that you find out you’ve lost your job, obviously what you should do to feel better is go back to your classroom and start tearing it down. Start taking down all those things you’ve had since the beginning of your teaching career that you use every year, in every classroom you’ve ever had, no matter what school, what state, what city. Those things have been carried with you. Maybe this was their last go round. It’s hard to tell. Maybe they won’t be used again. Maybe they will. But maybe they won’t.

I filled my car tonight. I’m going to fill my car for the next few nights. Because I’ve got to take everything with me. And everything is a lot.

There have been times today where I’ve been very matter-of-fact, and there have been times where all of a sudden it just hits me in a wave, and there’s something in my eye, and I just happen to need a tissue.

Today I lost my job.

10 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope that everything works out for you, and quickly...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my. Finding it hard to breathe just reading this. I am so sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, Undercover BAT! My heart goes out to you! I've read your blog regularly. You are such a voice for the dispossessed - a true advocate for your kids. I am so sorry your school did not see that or perhaps saw it too clearly. Try not to lose heart. The world needs teachers like you. Hold your head high. You are awesome! Much love from your friendly neighborhood Gadfly on the Wall.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ouch :( . Formerly worked at a charter school where the firings were frequent... it's traumatic to witness (the fear always being that maybe next time, it's YOU!), and for those that it happens to, it's no longer just a fear, but a threat to livelihood. I always pray that folks who are fired land on their feet... and pray that I'm not next.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sorry to hear that education has lost another great teacher. I, too, will be leaving, but by choice. "Choice" is euphemistic because I didn't feel as if I had a choice. I was scolded for getting angry at my students because they reported false accusations of impropriety. I also was scolded for posting a link to an article about Julius Caesar's assassination; apparently, a parent was horrified that I would direct students to read an article about "murder." (It was about Shakespeare's play.) I was also scolded for emailing a parent "too often" about her child sleeping every day in my class. This is the first year that I have left work in tears on so many occasions because I am not valued. I don't have fun at work anymore. It makes me sad to pack up my classroom and know it will be empty on the last day, but if it means I walk away with some sanity, then I have some solace. Fortunately, I am moving onto an exciting opportunity in a different educational capacity, so I look forward to the next chapter of my teaching career. Whatever path you take, I wish you the best! I know that your students recognize your value and the impact you had on them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is what's happening all over the country today, and it's an unacceptable tragedy. My mother is a retired teacher, and the passion she gave to her "job", her kids, reflected how much teaching is so much more than a means of supporting her family... it's a calling.

    No one would endure the abuse and disdain teachers increasingly suffer at the hands of an administration seemingly bent on destroying an institution that has been the backbone of every prosperous society going back centuries. No one would suffer this for a mere paycheck that often falls short of salary standards of other professions.

    And there is the heart of the matter. Who will be left to take up that calling, to nurture the minds of tomorrow's leaders?

    I fear for my children and the generations to come. The future of this nation. Darker days are coming...

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so sad. A great loss. For the children. For their hearts and minds. For society. For education. For schools everywhere. The sort of school that fired you needs to be de-schooled. Obviously the deform movement is in full force colonizing minds, hearts, invading....the 20th centuries trail of tears. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. From strength to strength--Ari

    ReplyDelete
  8. How will summer checks work? This is money you already earned

    ReplyDelete
  9. I lost my job teaching 3 years ago and the feeling in your writing resonated with me. When you love being a teacher its not just a job - it is your identity. It is who you are. When that is taken from you it is much more than just a job - it is the purest form of identity theft. I always liken my weeks after losing my job to floating through outer space. You are just out there. Floating. Cant breathe, cant find direction, cant tell up from down -- suffocating.

    One benefit of this is that the "goodness" in your life floats to the top. My wife and 3 kids (my wife was also pregnant when I lost my job) never looked at me differently -- they simply supported me. It was an opportunity to really identify that and appreciate it for how truly important it was/is in my life. I hope you have some of the same moments. And having been a teacher you have a LOT going for you. Generally speaking if you were a good teacher you wore hundreds of hats each year so you've probably got skills that apply all over the place out there. Its just getting the strength to take that next step.

    My advice - hold that anger/disbelief/frustration close and let it be the motivation to show that district what they lost in you. Every time I give a presentation I think about this and it fuels me to speak passionately and honestly about what is good/bad in schools today. Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities. It will all be okay:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I lost my job as a school media specialist after 23 years so I know exactly what you are going through. What hurt the most for me was that this time of year there are always retirements and special recognition for these folk (which they definitely deserve) but there was nothing at all for me. Just me by my lonesome hauling those boxes of media specialist stuff out to my car. Also I was RIFed (that what we call it in Indiana - Reduction in Force) about a month before the end of school and finishing out the rest of that time knowing I would not be coming back was brutal. It;s so much better if you can get out as quickly as possible. I was unemployed for 2 years then found another position in a public school where I have worked now for 3 years. I don't expect I'll be here much longer. It's been really hard starting over at my age (mid 50s) but this experience has taught me so much. It has helped me come to terms with the fact that it's really time for me to get out of public education. It has also made me realize that whatever the future brings for me I know I want it to involve children, books, reading and libraries. And I suppose most importantly I have discovered that there is life after losing your job. My life is not over. In fact, in many ways it's really just beginning. It will be hard, but try to remember that - your life is just beginning. Now you need to take care of yourself, get rested up, don't rush it but start gradually thinking about how you want to spend your new life. It's taken me 5 years but I think I've figured out what I want. You'll get there too!

    ReplyDelete