Time Marches On


The last few months have alternately dragged and sped by. The days are slow, but then suddenly it’s time to file my weekly unemployment certification again, proving that I’m still looking for a job.

November 8th felt like it would never, ever come, and now I wish it was October again (for the sake of my local races as much as the presidential campaign).

But time keeps marching on. My unemployment account shows so many weekly certifications that I have to scroll down to see them all. November 8th unfortunately happened.

And suddenly it’s Thanksgiving and the radio station has switched to holiday music 24/7 and the decorations that were up too early are now appropriate…

and it’s been almost a semester since I taught a class of kids. 

No back to school rituals. No teaching calendar routines or triple-checking how everyone goes home. No learning about the seasons or apples or pumpkins. I didn’t read Skeleton Hiccups this year and then listen to kids chant “Hic, hic, hic” all day (week) long. I didn’t teach about Pilgrims and the Mayflower and Squanto and how they planted corn with dead fish.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas was on tv tonight. I watched a few minutes of it and was reminded how my kids always loved the parts with the dog-turned-reindeer. (I’ve always loved it too.)

My DVD will stay on the shelf this year. I don’t need to bring it and my laptop to school to show it to my class.

A more cynical someone might sneer at these musings. With everything that’s going on in the world–and no, I haven’t forgotten about that Secretary of Education nominee–this is what I’m focusing on?

Well…yes. For now, anyway. In the midst of job hunting and the difficulties I continue to face with that, the part that often gets forgotten about is the time with the kids. Not the data meetings, the assessments, the push to raise test scores at the expense of everything else–I still hear about those all the time from my teacher friends. I don’t miss those a bit.

But watching my kids’ faces light up on field trips…seeing them perform their music program they’ve practiced for so long…reading a book and having them read along with me…I miss that.

Having old (former) kids coming back to visit…developing a community where you can say “remember the time when ___?” and they know the story you’re about to tell…getting to know these short, funny, never-boring people…I miss that.

I miss my kids.

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There are a lot of us who have been bullied, a lot of us who left the teaching profession altogether because of it. In the coming days, I’m going to be announcing a project I’m developing to amplify the voices of the teachers who are no longer in the classroom. Please subscribe below so you will be the first to hear about it, and if you know someone who is no longer teaching, please forward this to them. Thank you!

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47 Reasons I Can’t Find A Teaching Job

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Summer is over, which means kids are back to school (and parents are rejoicing).

I’m still at home.

I’ve completed paperwork in several districts. I’ve applied for teaching positions. I’ve emailed principals and called them on the phone. I’ve reached out to friends who have suggested jobs and let me know of openings in their orbit.

Nothing.

I filed for unemployment the other day. I’m going to try to get a teaching job for another few weeks and then… Continue reading

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

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I had been to the Lincoln Memorial before. I had visited earlier in the week, even. But on this scorching July day, I wasn’t there by myself. Or with a few friends.

I stood before the Lincoln Memorial with hundreds of like-minded people. Ready to talk. Ready to listen.

Ready Continue reading

Again

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If this were a work of fiction, last year’s job loss and unemployment might have still happened. But then things would have fallen into place, a new job would appear, and the teacher would make a victorious comeback. Last year’s reality would be nothing more than memory. Not preparation for the next battle.

This is not fiction.  Continue reading

Racing to Read

I confide to some teacher friends that I don’t think my new school’s leadership likes me very much. This surprises them, since I am generally known as a nice person.

It’s not that, I explain. It’s my low test scores.

Now they’re looking at me with confused faces. But you’re not in a testing grade, they argue.

It doesn’t matter. Regardless of the grade, it’s about a test score. In my case, it’s how much my kids can read.  Continue reading

Just Another Day

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In between the meetings…

…and the paperwork…

…and the mandates…

…and the tests…

…there are the children. Loud, quiet, jumpy, wiggly, curious, (exasperating at times) children.

This was an ordinary day. No birthdays, no teeth falling out randomly in the middle of class, no fire drills or lockdown drills.

Writing this made me smile and realize why I am so tired. Oh.my.

Here’s what I will remember about this ordinary day… Continue reading

Maestro

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The conductor holds the baton in the air. The audience waits in silence until he finally lowers the baton to thunderous applause.

The author looks over her glasses as she gives a reading of her latest work. The crowd listens attentively.

The cast and crew come back out on stage after the performance to have a Q&A discussion with the audience about their performance.

 

We view them as the experts.

We stay for the talks and read the interviews and listen to the DVD commentaries. We read other works or watch them performed in YouTube clips and put it all together to compose an image of our favorite artist or writer or musician or thespian.

We watch them at work, and we marvel at what they do. They have worked and trained and prepared and now, now they can do this. Continue reading