Our little non-traditional school will complete its fourth year tomorrow, making it the second-longest I have stayed at one school. I've never been fired or non-renewed, although at one school they made it so uncomfortable for me that I chose to leave. I just tend to move on to new things. The toughest school I have ever been in was the one I stayed in for 8 years. Go figure. I finally told the principal there "the inmates are running the asylum," a statement she didn't bother to contradict. I probably won't break the 8-year record, as I only have three more years until I'm eligible to retire. While I MAY continue to work a year or two past eligibility for retirement, especially if I can find someone with whom to share my position, it ain't likely.
But I digress.
I went back to that county when they opened the first non-traditional school much like the one where I teach now. I loved the concept, loved the fact that it was computer-based, loved the fact that I would be working with a math teacher I had worked with before, loved the fact that we didn't have school on Fridays. [That actually sounds a lot better than it turned out to be. You'll just have to trust me on that one.]
The drive to school, however, was about 35 minutes, so when they opened a similar school in the county where I live, only 7 miles away, I jumped at the opportunity. The principal was glad to have me because the whole concept was new, and she was thrilled to hire someone with experience in that setting. When I interviewed with her she told me, "The job has not officially been posted, so I can't offer it to you today. But I'm not interviewing anyone else." I was flattered at the time. I have since discovered it was because she's lazy. What a blow to my ego.
She is also the principal of our district's punitive alternative school, which is a bargain for the county because they get two principals for the price of one. We are housed in the same building as the alternative school, but on the other end of the building, and our students don't have to wear uniforms.
Our school is in an old elementary school that probably wouldn't meet any codes of any kind today. We do well just to keep the fire marshal off our backs, and sometimes we don't do a good job of THAT. Our end of the building was renovated for our program, and each classroom was outfitted with 15 brand-new computers, computer stations, office-type chairs, and new equipment for the teachers.
But we had to share the building with a staff that was already in place, the staff of the other program.
They seemed nice enough.
However, on our second day there, we arrived at school to find that some of them had spray-painted their names on parking spaces.
What a way to make the new folks feel wanted.
I remember the guy who was our electives teacher at that time standing in the parking lot, looking at those spaces and saying, "What a bunch of idiots!"
Turns out that karma, however, is a bitch.
In one of life's great ironies, it occurred to me the other day that out of the six people who marked their territory not with urine but with spray paint, this is the only one who is still there.
And rumor has it that she may be on her way out due to some recent conflicts.
I didn't get to know this guy very well. I think he moved on to work for the State Department of Education or something like that. I've heard that's where teachers and administrators go to die at the end of their careers.
This lady was a paraprofessional who died from a brain aneurysm. In a very strange set of circumstances, she told everyone (including her family) that doctors were trying new treatments and procedures but she had to wait for blah blah blah, but after she died her doctors said they had told her there was nothing they could do for her. She kept it even from her family. So sad.
This one left the alternative setting to return to the traditional high school.
This one was another paraprofessional who may or may not have been stalked by her ex-husband but disappeared for days at a time, and then altogether. Rumor has it that her stories of being stalked may have been clouded by her use of controlled substances. She has since abandoned her son (who is now enrolled in the alternative school, surprise surprise) and reportedly moved out of state.
This one may take the all time irony prize, however. He was summarily fired only days after the parking space painting incident. Apparently, in addition to being particular about his parking spot, he was conducting business with a prostitute USING HIS SCHOOL COMPUTER AND EMAIL ACCOUNT. The prostitute with whom he was communicating, offended by such a blatant misuse of government property and time, forwarded his emails to the superintendent. She was referred to on at least one occasion as the "hooker with a heart of gold."
Pardon me if I seem smug. It's just that I feel so much more.......................welcome.............now.