47 Reasons I Can’t Find A Teaching Job


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.


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


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

Badass Resolutions

back to school

The clock has struck midnight, the ball has dropped…and it’s time to return to school.

(The parents might be ready, but most teachers are not.)

I’m still exhausted. Looking at my calendar for this month makes me more exhausted. And this is before other commitments get added in, as they always do–school meetings, union meetings, special events, appointments for family members. And God forbid I get sick…*knocks on wood*.

Somewhere in all of that is my actual job. Teaching a class of young children, molding minds, inspiring greatness… 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.


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

Have Brain, Can Teach

  It boils down to this:

I’m not the teacher they want for this position. 

My reading table is not immaculate. 

Sometimes I’m a minute late picking up my kids from art/music/PE.

I can’t keep up with all of the mandates. I get one form turned in only to find out there are three other things that have to be done too. 

I am not a teacher with good data. Never mind that I teach in an urban, low socioeconomic district where most children don’t speak English at home. My test scores aren’t good, which consequently means there is more paperwork. More stress. More justification as to why I do what I do. 

Because here’s what I do accomplish:

I help get students in and out of the building safely before and after school. 

I plan field trips and conduct meetings with parents and run sessions at open house and parent nights. 

I manage a class full of small children, who each demand my attention with things they need to tell and questions they need to ask. 

I juggle all of that and so much more. 

And sometimes, I get to teach. The obvious thing that is not so obvious anymore. 

But just sometimes. 

I make children listen to stories and fall in love with reading. I teach math and make it fun, sneak it in in unexpected places. I teach about plants and animals and presidents and all kinds of topics. We write and we draw and we gasp! color and we become a little family. 

But that’s not who they want. They want good test scores. They want yes-men. 

(I’m not a yes-man. We have issues.)

The teacher they want will not question, will not think independently, will care more about data points than children. 

We’re losing good teachers every day because at some point, you have to decide whether it’s worth it or not to continue. 

I’m not sure it’s worth it anymore. 

One Day The Machines Will Teach Us All


Once upon a time, I was in elementary school. (My kids find this hard to believe. Some of them also think I am a million years old.)

In this long-ago time and place, we had this magical time once a week called computer lab. We got to walk down the hallway to a classroom filled with rows of computers and spend 30 minutes immersed in “modern” technology.

This modern technology included the most up-to-date 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 floppy disk drives and a black screen with either green or orange text. Kids today have no idea. Continue reading

Counting Up

child reading

It began as a comment made by a presenter in a workshop. He talked about how his class kept track of all the titles they read together throughout the year. The idea intrigued me, but I could also see how this could quickly turn into “one more thing.” So I tweaked it. We wouldn’t write down titles; we would keep a count of how many books we read.

I’ve kept count ever since.  Continue reading