Sunday, December 11, 2011

The latest update

Wow, I just looked back on my blog. I knew it had been a while since my last update, but I'd forgotten just how long it had been! So, here's a catch-up and a few thoughts on how the first third (!) of the year has gone.

First off, I'll at least say this for my current district, they're keeping me busy, particularly at the high school. The secretary there knows she can count on me, and keeps recommending me for all kinds of things. This has its good side and its bad side! The bad side is that I got roped into "teaching" welding (!) for three weeks, around Thanksgiving. The school was in a bind, as the guy who actually knew welding who was going to fill in couldn't make it after all, and the next sub only lasted one day! They coaxed me into at least filling in for a day, then another, and finally for the rest of the assignment. However, I couldn't actually supervise welding! So it became a study hall/busywork time, which I'm not wild about, but we got through it and the administration kept offering me profuse thanks. Good thing, too, since I'm going to call in a favor. I should be in the middle of a long-term job right now for a math teacher there, but that got postponed until after school gets back in January. However, that means the job is now two and a half weeks instead of two, and I won't have to deal with the "Is it Christmas yet???" squirrelliness that can lead to wasted days. During that time, I plan to ask the administration for an observation and some general advice on the job hunt.

Speaking of which, sure enough, I've been much more proactive about getting on track with that. I talked to one middle school principal, who offered me some insights and reassurances. I've also lined up a bunch of potential recommendations, from teachers I've worked with and/or for in my current district. I even tracked down my last principal (he's now working in a new district on the far side of the state), and he's reassured me that he will help in any way he can.

Other than what I called zen welding, it's been pretty straightforward, work a day or two here and there, survive it, go on to the next job. It's frustrating, because so often it's little more than glorified babysitting. Dang it, I want to actually teach something, not just say, "Here's your worksheet, good luck!" And of course, to the students I'm not a "real" teacher, so they don't show me much respect at all (but I don't think the regular teachers get much more, at least).

One other complaint: Bait and switch jobs. I don't teach elementary very often any more, but I still occasionally take one if it's otherwise quiet and it looks like something I can handle. So I took a PE job the other day — elementary PE is a lot of fun, and for once, the kids are supposed to be running around and making noise. And this was bowling, even! But when I got in, there was a last-minute swap, and I got placed in a first grade class. I know my strengths as a teacher, and first grade is far from one of them! But I think I managed all right, and I certainly didn't scar anyone for life. But this is now the third time I've gone in thinking I'd teach something else, only to get first grade instead (two last year, this was the first of this year). The previous ones had only been for part of the day, but this was the whole day. Grrr...

I've got eight more teaching days this month, and two of them are already filled (including one day working with the teacher I'm filling in for next month). So now I just have to keep hunting and hoping. Now that Laura's established in her new job, however, there is one plus: Insurance! I've been without since leaving the last district, as I couldn't afford anything, but now my dental is covered under Laura's plan, and we can afford catastrophic medical insurance as well. (Medical under Laura's plan was just way too expensive.) That's one less worry. Now all we have to do is get our debts paid off and save some for the next rainy day, both of which we've already gotten a good start on.

I have no idea when I'll report again, but I hope it won't be quite so long next time!

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