Archive for August, 2012

I really enjoy reading the Freshly Pressed Blogs.  It’s how I’m learning more about people and blogging in general.

I doubt I’ll ever make it to that front page, but that’s okay with me.  This is therapy for me, not a competition.  While I wrestle with my life’s path now that I am not in the classroom this year, and my partner and I had a deep discussion today about our future plans, I thought today would be a good day to steer away from the anxiety of my life’s re-purposing and enjoy the success of actually completing a pin on Pinterest.

Everyone loves Pinterest, don’t they?  I truly enjoy the practical, home-keeping tips and tutorials.  I love learning regardless of the subject matter.  So, here’s my latest completion from Pinterest.  It’s for my daughters’ back to school organization, but I would have made one for my classroom too.  I only spent about $4.00 on paints; the remaining supplies I had on hand.  Happy Labor Day Weekend internet!!

This would be one way to save space at student tables, particularly in the elementary/middle school environment, instead of using baskets.

I gave up a home phone years ago, when I, along with other brilliant Americans, realized that there were far too many taxes on a home phone bill, and anyone who really needed to reach me would find me via the cellular phone.  I was paying a fortune for several lines for my children so communicating with them as I was the chauffeur extraordinaire, was not an issue.

Not all six children!  Of course not.  In my household, a child became eligible for a cellphone if they met both of the following criteria: straight A’s on their report card upon entering 9th grade and well…being a ninth grader.  This might seem archaic to some of you who give your offspring a cellphone in utero, as I was the supreme goddess of my house, I made the rules.

Since 2003, I gave each of my classes my cellphone number.  Gasp! goes the crowd of teachers, shaking their heads in staunch disapproval.  It was modestly featured on my course syllabus at the beginning of the year, adjacent to my classroom number.

My rationale is simple: eliminate excuses.  If a student had a question about their homework, or essay, or studying for a quiz or test the next day, they could text or call and hear the information/get the help from the source: the teacher.  Students are notorious for providing their peers with erroneous information.  I recently concluded that it must be subconsciously intentional.

This helped my case when it came time to speaking with parents as well.  It solidified my case.  When we sat down at any given parent conference, I would whip out the student’s grade sheet with all or some of the homework assignments marked as “missing,” widen my eyes in feigned innocence (as students do) and casually explain my confusion because if there was a problem with any assignments, Bobby could have called or texted me.  At that point (the best part of the conference) Bobby would sink lower into his seat, knowing his life had been clearly shortened.

Over the years I have given out my cellphone number to thugs, schizophrenics, students with a rap sheet longer than my daughter’s chain of dirty diapers that are encircling the globe as we speak, destroying the earth for her great grandchildren.  I’ve given my cell phone number to students who sat in class and never spoke a word until the bell rang, when they would quietly announce as I passed, “I’m gonna fuck you up bitch!”

But I never flinched.  I’ve given my cell number to students who hated me, loved me, and used my face for their dartboard entertainment matches on Friday nights.  In all those years (well, it’s not that many), I’ve never had a problem with harassment of any kind, until this past year, while working in affluent, white bread Chapel Hill.

See, I also liked to use technology to teach or reinforce learning in my classroom.  So every now and then, usually just once a year, I play a cellphone game.  The premise is simple: for a major unit test, like the Middle Ages, I offer extra points on the test and students whip out their cellphones and have to text me the answer to the questions I shoot out to them in class.  If a student does not happen to have a phone (exceedingly RARE) then they team up with another.  In general students love it and it’s always a refreshing change of pace for a stodgy old literature class.

Well, after several classes of this, I was wiped out.  I sat at my desk, too numb to move.  Suddenly, a text message popped up on my phone.  I knew it was a student number.  When I opened the message, it was a picture of…well, it was a pornographic position on a desk in the school.

Shocked? Horrified? Disgusted?  Yes, all of the above.  I felt violated and taken advantage of.  I felt demoralized and angry that my honest attempt to teach with enthusiasm and energy was so callously and immaturely thrown in my face.  A few hours later, I received another equally disgusting photo via text message.

Aren’t their laws about this kind of thing?  Isn’t this a serious offense these days?  I couldn’t touch my phone all weekend because of how disgusting it seemed and I couldn’t delete it because I had to show it to my administration.  Yes, it was a sad weekend.

  This is getting lengthy so I’ll try to…oh, heck, who am I kidding?  Have you ever known an English teacher who didn’t talk forever??

I narrowed it down to the class, don’t ask me how, and contacted each parent in said class, explaining the situation and giving the number so the perpetrator would come forth.  I researched the legal issue involved and the consequences, mentioning that as well in my email.  Well, the whole thing exploded on Monday morning.

I also emailed my administrators, who called me into their office first thing, to reprimand me for contacting the parents.  They wanted to be the ones to do damage control and tell the parents only what they needed to know…which was nothing. Area 51 anybody?

Well, the kid was from a very well to do family, white bread, educators, the whole package.  It was a dumb moment for him.  He apologized to me.  We were both uncomfortable  All I wanted was an apology.  There were parents who were demanding I be fired for upsetting their sensitive children with this uncomfortable situation.  It was beyond stupidity.  I didn’t do anything, after all.  The kid did.

He apologized.  We moved on.  I had my wrist slapped for even trying to utilize technology in the classroom…wait!  Did you catch that?  All the latest pressure and monetary investment in the billions of dollars has been to plug up every kid to a computer and teach us teachers how to teach more creatively.  Ahh…another sip of coffee…the contradictions of the education system.  What a mess!

About ten days ago, I received a foul and profanity-laden text message from another white bread, very high up on the food chain former student of mine.  A pretentious kid really.  I used all my Behavior Analysis Unit skills I learned from being a Criminal Minds junkie to try to piece together the identity of the student.  I have it narrowed down to two.  After all the “suck my dick” comments and telling me what a horrible teacher I was, I finally threatened to go to the police with the messages and press charges for harassment unless he lost my number and refrained from texting me anymore.

But it stuck in my gut you see.  Here I am. Not teaching, trying to figure out this thing called life and my next steps.  Maybe he was right.  I know I’m not perfect.  But perhaps I did suck as a teacher.  Maybe all those notes and hugs and post high school visits from former students was all a gentle lie.  Maybe this pretentious fool was right, after all.

I am the stupid one.  I stood up for injustice and falsifying grades.  I challenged the superintendent and did not get my contract renewed.  This week it seems to me it might have been better to keep my mouth shut, as thousands of other teachers do, and go along with the whole mess we call education in America.

Motivation.

Every teacher learns about this at one time or another, right? Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.  Elementary teachers are especially talented when it comes to providing motivational items, intended to promote positive behavior among their students.  My own children have explained the various systems their teachers used toward this end.

Let’s see, there was the green, yellow, and red apple system of classroom management. In this case, you definitely did not want to get the RED apple.  I seem to also recall a stoplight plan, along the same color scheme significance.  Elementary teachers are so creative!

Yesterday, number 5 began second grade and came home with the explanation of the Ty Beanie Baby system her teacher is using to help motivate the students to behave.  Very interesting indeed.

I may have given birth to six children and read many parenting books, from T. Berry Brazelton to John Rosemond, but I am far from a parenting expert.  I have made so many mistakes over the years (my babies range from 21 to 2) but then I ask myself who gets to define the “right” way of parenting?  The point is I have no concrete expertise to offer anyone.

But the glaring problem I worry about is this: what happens when children have become so inured to this external reward system for good behavior for so many years, and then they grow up? It’s like a person who is prescribed painkillers for an illness and then they get better, but have become addicted to the painkillers.  Medically, the need for the pills has ended, but the person has become quickly seduced by the pain-free feeling.  So the pill gets snatched away…hmmm.  Similarly, when the rewards for good behavior and good grades ends, what replaces the motivational catalyst?

At Meet the Teacher night last week, an acquaintance noticed my daughter had lost several teeth over the summer.  How do other parents notice these things?  I can barely tell if I have two of the same shoes on at any given moment, but she happened to see through the crowds of people into my child’s mouth.  Fascinating.

Anyway, she told me her daughter lost one tooth and the tooth fairy gave her $6.00.  That’s right.  It’s not a typo.  Six. Seis. I don’t know it in any other languages.  I managed to paste on a polite smile and say, “Nice job Tooth Fairy!”  My own children would be knee deep in the toolbox looking for some form of pliers to remove their teeth if they even suspected that’s what the Tooth Fairy was doing!

I digress.  By the time students get to high school, you have children that fit into one of three categories: those who want to do well because it is simply a part of their ethic, those who try to do well because their transcript is on the line, and those who will only make an attempt to do something close to mediocre if there’s something in it for them.

I gave my students a culminating activity to complete as we neared the end of the dreaded Anglo-Saxon Unit of British Literature.  You know, Beowulf, “The Seafarer”, etc.  In an effort to meet the latest wave of educational reform called differentiation, I provided several choices for the exploration to other facets of the Anglo-Saxon world beyond the literature (which is typically like a root canal for many students to read), such as daily life, illuminations, knots, weaponry, etc.

Despite having four weeks to complete the assignment, 95% of my honors students waited until 36 – 48 hours before even attempting to begin the project.  The remaining 5% were those students who pour every ounce of energy into every task they do.  Here’s a sample of the 5%ers:

An example of an illumination of the letter “P.”

This student is very talented and since he struggled learning the English language, this more artistic assignment gave him a great opportunity to do well in the best way for him.  I am sure one day he will be world famous for his art.  He’s what I call a natural.

For these 5%ers, the value of doing a job well is quite simply put, the reward of a job well done.  Those students who fall into the second category are my number chasers, whose sole goal in high school is not the benefit of knowledge and the enhancement of one’s foundation and principles.  No, for them it’s the transcript.  They calculate to the decimal point the value of completing a project, passing or failing a quiz, or even completing any homework.  So long as it keeps them in competing range GPA-wise with their peers hoping to get into UNC, then that will be the deciding factor of even an attempt.

Here’s another 5% gem:

Another beautiful effort to make a representation of illuminations created by many monks during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Believe it or not, I had the hardest time with the number chasers because I felt that they were selling themselves short.  They had such great minds, capable of exploring so much and offering so much more to their world.  Yet, none of it was relevant unless it affected their academic bottom line.  These were the children of lawyers and professors at UNC and Duke, children who were so fortunate in so many ways.  But they were so poor in understanding life.

The ones who just didn’t care at all are everywhere.  They are in every school where I have ever taught and although equally capable, it is so very hard to reach them.  I consider myself fortunate if I make even 30% progress in getting through their thick hides.

All in all, we are a nation that has become quite frightening when we consider the ramifications of continuing to offer external rewards and hoping that before the carrot is snatched away, the motivation shifts to an internal one.  In America, there are far too few 5%ers.  Although I grew up in a strict Catholic stratosphere and the motivation for us was always, “Do well or go to Hell,” I have thirsted to know more, and be better every day of my life.  Life without some internal motivation strikes me as lonely, but also the life of a sociopath.

I’ll leave you with one more piece of the Anglo-Saxon assignment because I was so incredibly proud to see the efforts of these few students.  In case you’re wondering, the majority of the other students chose the easiest project according to their calculations and when they got the appropriate grade for their efforts, they wondered why it wasn’t an A.  As I sorted through my teaching materials in the garage today, I came across these and it prompted the reflection above.

A drawing on un-primed canvas from a female’s perspective during the Anglo-saxon period; the assignment was to study the Bayeux Tapestry, which is French, but chronicles the transition from the tribal existence of the Anglo-Saxons to the sophistication of the Normans with the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Having lived in the South for more than ten years, I am just chock full of disgust at so many things.  Namely: racism.  Yes, that’s right, I said it.  Why do most people seem to freeze when the word comes up?  Have we become so terrified by the enormity of frivolous lawsuit mania in this country that we can’t call it as we see it?

Here in the “dirty South” as the rappers call it, there is some kind of polite vellum when it comes to anything remotely unpleasant that crosses over peoples’ faces.  It’s quite funny.  Perhaps you have to have certain genetic markers to have the ability to assume that mask at will, because I’ve never been able to do it.

In fact, I’m not interested in doing it.  For example, we were sitting in a small group discussion during a faculty mandatory “equity” meeting.  If you are not an educator, you may not know what this entails.  Equity meetings were established in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to bridge the gap between the elite White/Asian populace and the African-American/Hispanic low achievers.  So, according to the facilitators, we had to have these meetings, and be “transparent” in discussions of race so we could improve the education and effectively “bridge the gap.”  Sounds charming doesn’t it?

Well, my partner and I fell for this polite veneer in Chapel Hill.  It’s the veneer of progressiveness, the allure of diversity and culture that appeared to thrive in this town.  Surrounded by professors and doctors and lawyers, all of different races excited us.  We thought we had finally found the place to raise our young children. Well, we were wrong.  Very wrong indeed.

In the small break out session, we had to discuss the research by some guy who said that to truly reach the African American males in our classes, we had to go visit them in the “hood”, ask them how they thought the class should be managed, let them teach class sometimes.  I sat there thinking to myself: did someone actually make money selling this garbage and calling it “research?”

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to hear what my colleagues were going to say in the break out session.  I won’t bore or shock you with the inane comments made by the staff.  Okay, I’ll write about one.  One esteemed, Nationally Board Certified Teacher, said we should respect Black students who call each other “nigger” and we should try to join in with them so that we establish a closer connection with them.  In fact, this genius felt that it was a perfectly acceptable term to use to refer to Black people because when they say it to each other, it’s an acceptable cultural endearment.  To which the group nodded politely and mumbled their “amens” under their breath.  Again, my vellum face did not manifest.

Being the new kid on the block I had to say something because “administration” was watching and my  teacher evaluation depended on it (not on my ability to teach in the classroom).  So I said that the research was nonsense and offensive and that as the wife of a proud and dignified Black man, there was no way I would treat any of my Black students in that way.  I also told them about my child in first grade and how during recess, the white boys had my daughter (half Black) be the monkey in their game.  How cute?  From a parent’s perspective, can you imagine the rage? One administrator said, “Your daughter should not have to be treated that way.”  But that’s how all of Chapel Hill operates.  A colleague at the school where I taught said his daughter’s Calculus teacher told her father she was struggling in the course because she was African-American. What year is this again?

Why is the public education formula framed for only White children?  I’ll tell you why.  Because the framers of our constitution, the “founding fathers” of this great nation had not even conceived of an education system that embraced a variety of races and nationalities and ethnicities.  It was simply not part of the system.  They could not conceive of a day when our country would be overrun by hundreds of different groups of people, all trying to make a dream their reality.

There.  A bit of comic relief to lighten the post.

Money Magazine very recently posted their Top 100 Best Cities to Live In in the Country list.  Chapel Hill made number ten.  I was outraged.  OUTRAGED.

Why?  Because it’s all a facade.  It’s a joke.  It’s a scam and a lie.  This is ONLY the tenth best city to live in if:

You’re a professor, doctor, lawyer, student.

You’re annual income exceeds $150,000 annually (and you have a spouse who matches that).

You’re White or Asian.

You drive a Toyota, Honda, and the somewhat acceptable Subaru.

If you meet at least two of the above, Chapel Hill is truly a mecca.  There is a proliferation of organic and non-organic restaurants.  The cousin, Carrboro, is filled with cafes and the traffic congestion occurs right around 9:15 a.m. each day so that the diehard Mac users can get their best seat at the cafe, where they can chat with their friends and turn to their Macs periodically, all the while maintaining the hippie/grunge/detached intelligence that is so uniquely their own.  The question that bubbles from my brain down to my mouth is always the same:  Who the hell works around here?  How on earth do these people pay their bills?

So these four category Chapel Hill lovers drive their shiny minivans and SUVs around town, ignoring the mobile home parks right next to their $400,000 homes, they teach their kids to think within their bubble of elitism, and although the town pays the highest taxes in the state of North Carolina, it is only funneled to the “haves.”  A few blocks away, the poor Black people, the Burmese immigrants, the Hispanics working two or three jobs, struggle and their community centers are shut down.

Money Magazine said Chapel Hill has no crime.  Well, that’s only because they have an image to uphold and the newspaper keeps the news light and cheery, filled with bake sales and farmers market news, the latest wildflowers growing in the parks, etc.  It’s just happy land here in Chapel Hill, USA.

In many right to work states like Georgia, tenure means very little.  In most cases, it is a simple certificate of recognition at the end of another demanding year attempting to teach hundreds of children.  Tenure, for thousands of teachers, does not grant educators immunity from the chopping block, transfers, or all of the above.  There are some unique cases, outside of the realm of legitimate influential teacher unions, such as my last experience at Chapel Hill High School.

At Chapel Hill, if you were stalwart enough to survive the daily onslaught from parents, and played the politics well enough to survive the requisite probationary period of three years, and had previous experience to grant you tenure, then you essentially joined the ranks of the Titans.  The Titans were the tenured faculty who had taught at Chapel Hill High School for several years and their pens were forged with iron coated titanium.  These lucky dozen used their tenure like a breastplate at times, and a microphone the majority of the year.

The Titans were vociferous at faculty meetings, hostile towards administrative attempts to try to lead, and felt their jobs were secure enough to do all of that without consequence, or retaliation of some sort.  A new superintendent and staff at the district office has changed all that with sudden transfers of a few staff members, which has managed to silence the entire faculty for fear of reprisals and retaliation.

93% or more of articles where educators are interviewed usually include the word “retaliation.”  May I digress momentarily to ponder this: In the high stakes word of education reform measures, hasn’t anyone touting multiple letters after their name ever considered why retaliation is an ever present fear that comes up?  Doesn’t anyone ever ask themselves who these threatening, looming, fear-inspiring figures are in the world of education? Teachers know.

Back to tenure.

My point about the tenure Titans at CHHS in North Carolina is how the tenure might seem useful, but even the world of education has succumbed to the corporate shift in America which has denigrated the employee and labeled him/her as EXPENDABLE.  In Georgia, tenure was considered laughable.  My last principal told the faculty in 2011 that considering the state of our country’s economy, we should all be grateful that we are sitting in his auditorium with a job.

Is it any surprise why so many people suddenly explode into fits of inexplicable violence and tragedies abound from coast to coast?

Opponents of teachers contend that we are babies, always whining, when we have all this summer “vacation,” and other holidays off throughout the year.  They also argue that they don’t have job security so why should teachers?  Plus, tenure keeps poor teachers in the classroom who don’t belong.  We’ve heard it all before.  And there is truth in there.

However, unlike countries like Finland, America places no true value to educators.  They have not set up a comprehensive value on educators, and just how absolutely vital solid educators are to the continuation of civilized society.  I’ve only met a handful of teachers who give the bare minimum in the classroom.  Every other teacher I have come across or read about dedicates as many minutes as possible on any given day to their craft and they are outstanding in their drive and passion.

How can New York, and New Jersey, and Idaho, and the other states that have crippled any fraction of tenure make teachers solely responsible for the academic success of students?  What about environmental issues like the strung out single mother of five who lets them sleep on a park bench while she prostitutes herself for drug money? I taught two of those kids. Or the kids who can’t come to school every day because their immigrant parents are working three jobs and they have to take turns babysitting their younger siblings instead of coming to school? I taught one of them as well.  Then of course, there are the ones who just don’t care, because school isn’t going to give them the instant fame and success they see in the music videos, where rappers make it rain all night and they don’t need to read no Shakespeare to make it rain.  I taught dozens of them.

Check out the article in the New York Times about tenure cuts in the public schools of New York City: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/18/nyregion/nearly-half-of-new-york-city-teachers-are-denied-tenure-in-2012.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

This education beast is so much larger and complex and there are certainly no easy answers.  But the one way punitive system being adopted in state after state is destroying the future of this country’s survival.

thyblackman.com

Over a lovely cup of heaven (a.k.a. my delicious coffee), I found this article in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-failed-to-count-1502119.html and my mind was transported to my eight years of teaching in Georgia and the countless situations I witnessed where students were dismissed.  I’ve always felt my slightly abrasive and intense New York nature to be too intense for the cool, Southern populace in Georgia.  Rarely did I witness passionate educators jumping into the foray, fighting for teenagers Joe Clark style.  Whenever I expressed the urgency for a student who was in jeopardy of failing, or not graduating, I was given several different reasons why their “hands were tied.”

My partner tells me that 50% of problems with students dropping out is the parent’s responsibility, and I certainly agree.  But that’s a post for another day.

This morning’s AJC revealed that their investigative analysis has uncovered the truth about the numbers of high school dropouts in Georgia.  I distinctly remember the board of education praising each other over the past three years for the huge strides they have made in education by increasing the high school graduation dropout rate.  Now, it appears, it’s all been a lie.

Schools and the state superintendent are scrambling to fabricate prepare their official response to the nearly double increase in students who slipped through the cracks, or schools that didn’t calculate their dropouts accurately, according to the federal guidelines.  It seems all those accolades have fallen quite flat.

Of course, it will only be a matter of weeks before the blame (don’t we always have to have someone to blame?) trickles down to the teachers.  Soon enough, conversations in the office, and at Starbucks will be centered around teachers and how if they just did their jobs and motivated their students, “wouldn’t nobody be dropping out of no schools…”  I can hear it all now.

What really infuriates me is that in every school system I have worked for, I have been labeled as the “hard teacher” and had numerous complaints from parents for expecting too much from Johnny.  After all, “this ain’t college.”

Even this past year, at one of the top high schools in the nation, so called “HONORS” students used Sparknotes or Bookrags or tried to use their cellphones to cheat during tests.  They were the children of doctors and lawyers, professors and the elite of Chapel Hill;  yet they made a mockery of education with their frequent cutting of corners.

I was pulled aside by November and told, “We don’t fail Black kids here.  We have a reputation to uphold and we have to compete with East Chapel Hill.”  I was held to task because these seniors struggled to compose a simple sentence and did not do any homework, or study.  Despite using every remediation tool, and staying after school daily for tutoring (which no one attended), calling and emailing parents, giving my students my cell phone number to text me with problems with assignments, and more, none of it mattered.  All I was repeatedly asked for from students and parents was “extra credit.”

How can a teacher assign extra credit, which translates into extra work for the teacher, when students won’t do the required coursework? How dare parents allow their children to blow off an entire school year, and then when the possibility of not graduating looms in front of everyone’s faces, and the graduation invitations have been sent to Auntie Mabel in Tuscaloosa, suddenly demand extra credit to bring Bobby to the podium to collect his diploma?

Well, that’s exactly how it plays out in public schools everywhere.  Furthermore, when the children who can’t tell the difference between a comma and a period don’t pass, despite all the teacher’s interventions, the administrators and graduation coaches override the teacher’s grades and Auntie Mabel is present at the stadium with her tissue to wipe her tears of joy.

This past year, in the prestigious school with rigorous standards, a couple of my students had their grades adjusted by the administration.  And my contract was not renewed due to my “grading policies” and, according to the superintendent, I was not a “team player.”

It’s time for this country to stand up and pull the curtain back, take the handcuffs off the teachers and drag the parents into the auditorium to start looking at the truth.  It is frighteningly easy to complain and point fingers, but at this point, everyone needs to stop being politically correct and start telling the truth about it.  Everyone needs to stop making everything sound so pretty, and start dealing with the reality, if we are going to improve the health of this nation.

They say the average duration of a teacher in public education is five years.  So I feel pretty good about getting to my ninth year of teaching before cataclysmic burnout.  I don’t believe burned out is the phrase I want to attach to how I currently feel though.  How could I let one year at one school make me want to walk away from the passion I have for teaching?  How can I let one group of malignant administrators and poisonous parents, with their pretentious students compel me to actually contemplate giving up, when I know I make a difference, when I am certain that I am a strong, creative, and natural teacher?  Quitting is not in my makeup.  Yet that’s exactly how I feel right now.

My stomach cramps up as I contemplate the interview I have tomorrow at a different school.  What if I get the job?  What can I do to cleanse and purge my psyche of the painful experiences and the stress that accompanied each and every one?  I have prayed all summer.  I have reflected.  I have tried to make light of it, and even apply some Eastern karma perspectives.  And still it lingers.  Still I feel a distinct sense of panic when I envision myself unpacking my beloved supplies and books in a new school.

Will the students be like the last school?  Will the same approach of “let’s pretend we have high expectations, but don’t make them realistically high expectations” be the mantra at a new school?  My sister has been teaching happily at a lovely school in California and she has been at that one school for almost twenty years.  She is an absolutely amazing teacher and puts her heart and strong soul into every unit and lesson.  However, she is protected by a viable union that will not permit her to be harassed by parents, threatened by administrators, or told by coaches and special education chairs to pass their kids along.  She is provided with professional development workshops in areas to help her become a better teacher and she gladly embraces the great ideas, or alters what she finds to suit her own particular situation.  I want that too.

Why don’t teachers have that kind of protection in all geographic regions of the United States?  I don’t mind old buildings; they have a certain charm.  I can make do with limited resources.  I have learned to improvise and still be able to teach within standard limitations.  But who stands up for teachers when parents threaten, harass, and blatantly lie to give their child the edge or ensure their child doesn’t receive a low grade?

So I decided this would be my year to stand up for injustice.  And that’s exactly what I did.  Lots of people I didn’t know patted me on the back, shook my hand and praised me for my courage.  But they equally faded back into the wallpaper when given the opportunity to support me.  After all, they had mortgages to pay and kids in the schools… Nobody reached out to me when I was notified I would not be receiving a new contract.  The baseless and vague superfluous reasons were simply twisted around from the administrator’s actions and loaded onto my dossier.

I want to do something different, explore my talents and make a living in an entirely new way.  I just need to find a way to come to terms with my frustration.  The corrupt and defunct system continues and I feel like a coward for not raising my voice and demanding someone take notice.