Things have been strange in my world the last few weeks. Basically the whole month of April has been…off. Today I need a moment to vent about my teacher life as that is the big problem right now.
So, I was out for a bit because my heart/blood pressure started acting up; I’ve mentioned this already in an earlier post. But, apparently some major changes were made while I was out, and no one has felt the need to explain it to me. This means I’ve been doing things very wrong for a little while now, and it means the behavior of the Viking across the hall has become unbearable!
First and foremost, apparently they changed our work hours. Instead of working from 7:30 to 3:30, our work day is now from 7 to 4.
They added an hour to the work day and no one said anything to me!!
So am I going to be docked for the extra hour that I haven’t been putting in because I didn’t know about it? I only knew they extended the afternoon time because I was trying to leave on Monday and the Viking stopped me to “remind” me I couldn’t leave yet. I only realized this morning when I was checking in that everyone else has been signing in a half hour earlier. I asked the teacher a few doors down and he confirmed that yes, our workday is now from 7 to 4. I should have asked him when the change was made, since no one told me about it.
This is what I mean about the lack of communication and organization at my new school. At first, I was really glad that they left me alone and let me teach what and how I wanted, but now, I’m missing a bit of the bureaucracy of my old school.
The lack of organization is killing me. For instance, they change schedules on a whim. We’ve been on something called a Blitz Schedule for going on 2 months. It was to get the kiddos ready for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test. They took the English STAAR 3 weeks ago. We were told we were going to be off of the Blitz schedule, but instead they just rearranged it…without telling anyone the new schedule until school started on that following Monday after the test.
Teachers are supposed to submit lesson plans on Friday. How am I supposed to create lesson plans if I don’t even know what classes I’m teaching until the Monday after lesson plans are due?
But we struggled through. We’re deep into our study of archetypes and myths in order to finish out the year with one final big reading.
This week, we’ve been watching Stardust to illustrate the Hero’s Progression. I’ve taught the book before, but I personally like the movie better and they are almost nothing alike. The movie does a better job of showing the progression of the hero.
The book meanders a bit.
It’s kind of like the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, when the Hobbits first go off on their journey and they run into characters that are seemingly unimportant, like Tom Bombadil. Tom Bombadil is one of my favorite characters, and it broke my heart that he wasn’t in the movie, but even Tolkien pointed out that he was just trying to figure out where he (and the Hobbits) were going with the story.
The whole book of Stardust is like that…
So instead, this week, we’re watching the movie and then comparing it to the hero’s journey, as outlined by Joseph Campbell.
The movie has been about the only positive thing this entire week, though. We are on day 4 of no administrator on campus. The Viking has been the acting admin, but he becomes a little rule Nazi when they leave him in charge, and he suddenly forgets how to knock.
He issues orders.
He tries to take over my classroom.
He gives me these looks like he’s trying to establish himself as Alpha.
He goes the entire day not smiling, and doesn’t stay in his room.
Yesterday, I had to text the Boy because I was going to punch the Viking if I didn’t let it all out somehow. His personality, the fun personality that the kids identify with him, completely goes out the window and instead we get this grump who treats us all, students and teachers alike, like we are beneath him.
Kids are excellent bullshit detectors, and they don’t deal well with false people. The Viking doesn’t understand that his tough guy attitude when he’s suddenly in charge makes the kids disrespect him more.
He’s no Miss Nelson, that’s for sure!
And it turns me off even more. I had kind of thought that perhaps he would be someone I could grow to like. Maybe there was something there I hadn’t seen the few times we went out, but no. His only passion is to move up.
That’s not passion, that’s ambition.
And they are not the same thing.
Ambition, while a positive trait, means you’ll do whatever you have to in order to get ahead, no matter who gets hurt or what rules/code you break to get there. And sometimes the destination doesn’t really matter as long as it is higher than where you began.
Passion means you’ll do whatever it takes in order to pursue your dream. It means that you’ll put in the extra hours, even if it means no pay, and not just because it looks good on your resume. It means you’ll put yourself last if that’s what is needed to achieve your dream. It means that you might take a lesser position in order to find the right fit. Passion means you have a code that you adhere to because breaking the code means abandoning your passion.
Part of that code is being true to yourself and your passion. You can take a break, of course, but you don’t abandon your beliefs and morals to move up.
The Viking became a different person in order to prove he could be the tough guy so he could move up the ladder. He has treated the kids without compassion, and I’ve sat back and watched for three days. And it’s altered the whole attitude of the school.
This place is not about the kids like I had thought. Most of the people here are only here for the paycheck.
The Spanish teacher across the hall told me she took a pay cut to come here, but only so she wouldn’t have to deal with the attitudes of a big school. For her it was worth it, yet she is rude and hateful to the kids.
The Art teacher and the Computer lab teacher are both retire/re-hires, meaning they don’t work full days and they’ve both said they just needed to supplement their retirement.
The Math and Science teachers are both only a year or two from retirement and talk down to the kids on a regular basis.
The jaded energy in the atmosphere is stifling!
I had been so busy worrying about the test before that I hadn’t noticed how angry everyone was. No wonder the kids act out. The kids all tell me that they show me more respect than any other teacher, this frightens me some because they still think they can talk over the top of me. All. The. Time. But I think they do try to care about what I am teaching because they know that I care about them. They try harder for me, because they know I care.
And yesterday, when I was the only teacher in the cafeteria, the cafeteria worker told me she’s never seen lunch go so smoothly. The kids respected me enough to behave… for the most part. There were a couple I had to talk to, but they knew they were in the wrong and they adjusted their attitudes accordingly. I even was able to get them to clean up after themselves. Apparently better than any other teacher before.
See? They do care.
Meanwhile, the Viking has just sent out an email about how things have gotten out of control, with a list of students who have already gone to the restroom today. He’s trying to put everything on lock down. This is insane.
I will not be coming back to this place next year. No way, no how.
But my kiddos love me. And for now that is enough.