Stupid Weather

Look, I’m a teacher. I love my job, I love working and all, but I also love snow days. They are one of the perks of the job: when the weather outside is frightful, I get to sleep in while the rest of the schmucks telecommute or, hell, even actually drive into work through the snow. If we don’t get a snow day once in awhile, I feel like we’re really not getting all of our benefits.

All that being said: why the hell have we not had a single damn snow day yet? The dustings we’ve had this winter? Pathetic. While everyone around us has had inches upon inches of snow dumped upon them in some sorta winter wonderland (for example, my wife’s uncle just mentioned that where he is in Westchester County, NY, is getting between 16 and 22 inches of snow tonight, while we will get…um…maybe 1 to 3), we’ve been sitting here, waiting to see if we’ll get any sort of snow. Nothin’ worth writing home about so far, though.

So c’mon, weather: let’s get with the program, huh?

The Job Switch Blues

Switching jobs has been, in a number of ways, a difficult transition. There’s the animosity leveled at me by my (now former) boss for leaving the week before inservice (which is actually a pretty common time for teachers to get hired and jump ship), adjusting to a new group of students (about half of whom I already knew, but that leaves the other half to get to know), and adjusting my expectations of behavior and ability in the classroom. The greatest difficulty, however, has been going the month of September without getting paid.

When I changed schools last year, there was overlap in my paychecks for September. I received my last paycheck from School A at the end of August and my first paycheck from School B on September 5th. It was great. This time, though, School B’s last paycheck hit August 20th, and I won’t get my first paycheck from School A until October 5th. Ouch.

That being said, we’re almost a month into the school year and I feel great. I’m in the groove, loving my classes and coworkers, and actually looking forward to going to work every morning. That sense of anxiety I used to experience is just gone.

Possibly most exciting is the start of Clubs tomorrow. We’re doing Music Club (meaning I get to teach kids how to play the guitar again), so I’ll basically get paid to rock out for an hour or so. It’s a joy.

The Search

I’ve been a teacher for five years. I really enjoy the act of teaching; I like imparting information and knowledge to young people, I like watching them learn how to ask questions and think critically (and since I’m a history teacher, critical thinking is basically the gig), and I like getting to do something different every day. I’m not fond of the procedural side of things; I hate paperwork, I hate grading, I’m not fond of writing lesson plans, and I wish I didn’t have to be involved in so many meetings. It’s a tricky balance to strike; while the procedural stuff is necessary and has to happen (especially in special education, where you have to have meetings and documentation of everything), you don’t want it to interfere with your ability to get into the classroom and teach the kids (which should always be the focus). And, of course, there’s the damn standardized tests that have become the bane of every teacher’s existence since No Child Left Behind came into effect (“teaching to the test” is a concern administrators have, but everyone basically teaches the students what they need to pass the standardized tests because that’s just what you have to do). But, despite all that bull, I still like teaching.

I’ve spent my teaching career working with students in special education. For four years, I worked at a school for students with learning disabilities. I loved my time there, enjoyed that student population immensely, and really only left because it wasn’t possible to continue surviving on the pittance the school paid. The sad fact of the matter was, I needed to make more money. I switched this past school year to a different private school, one that works with students who have emotional disabilities. It’s a different environment, one that is more restrictive than what I was used to. That in and of itself wasn’t a problem. Sure, I had more rules I had to know and enforce, but that’s a minor thing. I had to learn how to do restraints (or “therapeutic physical interventions,” as they’re called), and I’m only teaching one history class (which is my area of expertise; I’m not real good at math, yet that’s what I spend most of my day teaching), but I still rather enjoy my time in the classroom (even the math classes). Actually, teaching things outside of my area of specialty has been a benefit; I’ve gotten better at planning and thinking about how I actually teach, which is great.

What I don’t like is the attitude of the administration at my school. There’s a negativity there about the students and about the job we do that wasn’t present at my first school. It drags me down, makes me feel negative myself, and generally casts a pall over my time there.

So I’m looking for a new job. I’m sticking to small private schools, primarily in the special education area because that’s what I’ve got experience with and it’s what I’m comfortable with. I used part of my spring break this week to craft cover letters and send them and my resume off to a few schools, and I’ll send a few more before the week is up, I’ll wager. We’ll just have to wait and see what the effort yields.

The Strangest Damn Dream…

I had the weirdest dream. First, that’s odd because I rarely remember my dreams.

I dreamt I was at school teaching, except it wasn’t the school where I work now, it was the school I taught at last year. But the students were from my current school. And the building was the building that my elementary and middle school was in. I had taken a PE class out for a walk first period(which isn’t when I have PE), and was so late getting back to class that I missed half of 2nd period. One of my students from that class was in the principal’s office but also sitting in the classroom. And to top it off, one of my coworkers from the old school was a student in my class.

I dunno if the lack of sleep or something I ate at the New Year’s party last night just didn’t agree with me, but that dream was weird as hell.