Friday, January 04, 2013

The Latest Update

Yup, it's been a while, again, hasn't it? I think it's fair to say that this blog is not a big priority, so I hope my few regular readers can be forgiving. But my, is there a lot to tell you this time around!

So, the new job started, and man, was it interesting. Like I said, small classes, nice kids, but not always with their heads in the game, if you know what I mean. I thought I was doing well teaching math, struggled but made do teaching science, and couldn't teach the Compass class because the school didn't have the contract yet and it wasn't set up. (I turned it into a study hall, with a few self-contained math lessons so that it wasn't too easy. But since it was a second, and in some cases third, math class for some of the students, I ramped it back from some of my initial plans.) I went huckleberry picking up on tribal lands that few whites ever get to see, I was there for an assembly when a native artist added a mural in the lobby, and I was in a circle dance at the tribal health fair.

And then they fired me. It came out from left field so fast and so hard that my head is still ringing, nearly two months later. I'd been having a bad week, and I'll admit that there were a couple of incidents that did not do me a lot of good. However, rather than try to work with me and help me out, they decided that I wasn't the right teacher for them, and took advantage of my six month probationary period to let me go.

And to be honest, now that I've had a little time to reflect, I think they were right. The school needs a lot of help from an experienced teacher who can handle problem students, and I doubt I could have succeeded in the end. I'm glad for the experience, and I wish everyone there well, but I just wish there could have been a better way to handle it.

The good news is that my local district was extremely happy to have me back as a substitute. Almost immediately, I got jobs. I've worked just about every day at one of the middle schools, in fact, where the principal even took me aside one morning to find out what happened and that I was all right. The kids were happy to see me, too. Dang, I like working in this district.

And it could happen some more. Not long after I got back to work there, I found out that the high school had an opening for a math teacher for the rest of the year. I sent my letter of interest to human resources, and promptly heard nothing back. So a couple of weeks later, I decided to do something I'd never done before: I went to the source. I e-mailed a copy of my letter and resume to the principal, vice-principals, and math coach at the high school. A few days later, I heard back from the principal, who wants to talk to me next week (today's the last day of winter break in the district, and school starts again on Monday). I have no idea what all is involved, whether or not I'd actually be a good fit, and if they really want me or they're just desperate for anybody. I do plan to be very honest with him about my history, and what I need to be successful. But I really like what this district is doing with math reform and student support, and I've already had a taste of it subbing for one math teacher for two weeks last year. Plus, I know a lot of the kids already. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I'm also realistic enough to know that it could blow up in my face again. But I'm still in the one-ste-at-a-time phase, in that we need to have that conversation first. I will, of course, let you know what happens, but I can't guarantee it being in a timely manner.

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