The Teachers’ Rite of Spring

teachers rite of spring

 

There is such optimism at the beginning of the year. No matter if it is a new calendar year or school year–either way, people convince themselves that things will be different this year. Continue reading

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Fa la la la la…I broke my badass resolutions

fa-la-la-la-la

For being such a realist/pessimist, I sometimes surprise myself with my optimism.

Take last January, for example.

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a post, which I admitted at the time was written with “wide-eyed optimism.” You can read it here if you’re interested. In it I listed my badass resolutions for 2016.

Um.

So…

Yeah. That happened.

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On the fairly optimistic side, I did follow through on some of the resolutions, and I’m proud of that. Continue reading

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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Inquiring Minds Want To Know

inquiring-minds-want-to-know

Why does this keep happening to me?

Why is it so easy for others to get a job? And keep a job?

Who in the universe did I anger so much that it is so difficult to find a job?

People who don’t like kids get (some) teaching jobs. People who shouldn’t be teachers get (some) teaching jobs. (Granted these are small percentages of the total teacher population.) Why can’t I? Am I that bad of a teacher?

Does this keep happening because it’s a sign that I’m doing something right and should keep up the fight to defend public education? Or is this one sign after another that I should have never been a teacher?

Have I spent my whole adult life living a lie?

Why am I such a failure?

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I know this is far from a positive post, but if I’m going to share the stories of losing my job, there are going to be some low points. This just happens to be a low point that got written down on my phone one night. I don’t feel like this all of the time…but these thoughts have appeared in my mind more than once.

With that said…

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Countdown

countdown

The beginning of summer vacation is an unlikely time to find a job. Teachers are still being shuffled around in the buildings; projected enrollments are uncertain.

So I applied for teaching jobs and dutifully sent emails to principals, but I wasn’t too worried when I never heard back.

There was plenty of time before school would start again. Yes, my health insurance only lasted through the summer, but Continue reading

Oh, 2015.

Sparkler, Holding, Hands, Firework, Sparkles, Fire

Or alternately:

undercoverBAT and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Oh, 2015.

It was the year I met activists from around the country at the Network for Public Education’s Conference in Chicago. It was the year I was a delegate at the NEA Representative Assembly in Chicago. Those were the two bright spots in an otherwise dark year.

Because there’s no nice way to put it: this has been a devastating year, both personally and professionally.

I thought the last few years had their low points. Little did I know what was lurking around the corner when the ball dropped to ring in 2015.

It was the year I lost my job.

It was the year I suffered a loss far greater than that.

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This blog is almost exactly one year old. I adopted the Twitter handle @undercoverbat in the fall of 2014 after the BAT Rally in DC on the steps of the Department of Education. Even then I pondered starting a blog and participated in Anthony Cody’s how-to session, but I wasn’t ready. Yet.

I’ve been rereading what I’ve posted this year, and wow. I sounded so naive and innocent in the beginning. (In my defense, I hadn’t returned to school from break yet. Things quickly spiraled downward.)

I’ve looked at the page statistics on WordPress, and these were the 12 most-read posts of 2015. Interestingly (to me, anyway), exactly half were published before I lost my job, and half were published during and after.

So…here we go. Continue reading