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Monday, May 18, 2009

For the first time since November...Good news.

So... after being officially layed off...

My district recalled me.

I got a phone call today informing me of that fact.

My school is still closed, but I will be teaching the same grade at a different school.

I'm working up to true excitement. I'm currently resting in the area of relief. Or maybe shock. I'm not sure.

The excitement will come, I just have to give it a few days.

I knew the possibility existed, and when my classroom phone rang in the middle of guided reading, I instructed the class to be silent, "I think this might be a very important phone call" I warned them. "Be quiet." And I think they were, I'm not sure. I wasn't listening to them. (I do know that J--- was standing 2 feet away from me, mock listening by holding his hand up to his ear.)

When I hung up, they asked me what the phone call had been about. "You know how I said I wasn't sure where I was working next year? Now I know. It's not at the school that any of you will be going to, but I have a job." I informed them. Not that they really cared or understood, but at least I had told someone.

I went back to guided reading but was distracted. I finished my groups, gave a few early literacy reading fluency tests (it is testing season, after all) and then it was lunch time. I practically flew out the door with my class, excited to inform another teacher who will also be working at this school, that I would be joining her. My class diligently followed me in line to lunch, and waited patiently while I giggle/exclaimed to this teacher that I had been placed and would be working with her. The news slowly spread across the school. A few of the other layed off teacher were recalled, too. Not all of them, but a few of us.

I have a job teaching the same grade. I will have another year to improve and learn and reflect and work to bridge the gap between where I am now and the awesomeness to which I aspire.

It will be good.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Continued uncertainty, continued complaining

The district is trying to give out false hope, again. That is - they passed out letters last week telling us pretty much nothing, but doing everything in their power to hold on to those of us who have been reduced away, just in case they end up wanting us back. Basically, the note said said "If you wait another month or two, this time we really think that maybe we might possibly be able to hire you back, if everything works out right." By now, I have learned to not trust it.

My principal pulled me into her office to tell me that she really thinks it's going to work out this time. She really believes whatever it is that was written on that note. She really wants me to stay in the district. She reiterated how impressed she is with my development over the year, how I'm such a wonderful asset to the district, how the students need a teacher like me, and how she hopes I choose to stay in the district even though I won't be able to work at her school. When she says things like that, it is nice and flattering, but at this point it really just makes me even more frustrated. Why does she say those things? It doesn't matter what she thinks of me or my development. No one has any control over whether I am or am not offered a contract. I could have had a disastrous year. I could be the worst new teacher in the district and I would have the same chance of getting a job next year as I do now, having the full support of my principal. Yeah, if I'm offered a contract, maybe I'll stay, but first I need that one important thing to happen - I need to be offered that contract. And, ideally, it needs to be with the knowledge that I would have a first grade position. Because I really like first grade and think that right now that's where I would be strongest. Down the road, once I have more experience, I would enjoy venturing out and teaching other grade levels. But right now, when I'm still so new I need to continue to develop my teaching and practice in a grade level familiar to me.

That rant down, here's another.
We need to pack up our entire building to move to another school in the district. Much of it needs to be backed well before school is out. All checked out materials (from the library, book room, resource rooms) need to be returned a full month before school lets out. A MONTH!! I'm not sure how I'm supposed to teach guided reading without appropriately leveled guided reading books. My class ranges from mid-kinder level to high-third-grade level in reading. I frequent the book room a lot. This is going to be a new special challenge to add on to all our other challenges.

We'll also need to pack up and move our math manipulatives pretty soon. And we use a very constructivist math program, so we can't really teach math without the manipulatives.

It's going to be a "fun" last few weeks of school.

Even more fun because I am getting increasingly worried about next year, since it seems that nowhere is hiring teachers.

I'm sad that my first year of teaching, which teaching-wise has been so surprisingly wonderful, has been clouded and negatively impacted by this whole "reduction in force" thing. My teaching quality has dropped as I have had to simultaneously plan for teaching, and plan multiple possible other futures. Last year when I was applying for teaching jobs, the applications where in and of themselves practically a full time job. I was really glad I was working as an aid, so my day ended at 3:00 and I could spend the rest of the afternoon worrying about, writing essay questions for, and filling out job applications. Now though, I work all day, get home at 6:00/6:30, still have things that need to be done for school the next day, and fall asleep by 9:00 or so. That doesn't leave time for the job applications. At the same time, I am always constantly worrying about the job applications, which distracts me from trying to prepare for the next day at school. Neither is ever getting done very well. (And for this reason, and this reason alone, I am secretly hoping we get closed for a week due to the swine flu. That would be one marvelous week in which I could write the essay questions for applications, make phone calls to ask about positions, and maybe get something done.)

Maybe something magical will happen and one of the districts to which I have already sent applications will actually have a position to interview me for. Maybe my current district will get its stuff together and offer more contracts. Maybe my principal is right. Maybe she's wrong. Maybe I'll give up, run away to Mexico, and try to find someone to pay me something to teach English. Maybe, maybe, maybe. (I'm tired of all the maybe.)