Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm not as insane as you'd think

When I'm frustrated, I do what everyone does: I vent. I've been very frustrated for the greater part of the year. We've had a very rough batch of 7th graders, who are sort of settling in...but may I please point out that 5 of the originals are no longer with us, for various reasons. Makes a lot of difference. So did rearranging their class schedules at midterm. Divide and conquer, you know?

And a lot of times, when I'm venting to people about work, I get suggestions that I move on to another school. Not at the moment, but the next school year. And I was with them on that until after the redistribution in January. However, I also ended up dropping my morning duty, which I'd had every morning for first semester, and traded out one of my 7th grade classes for one of the 8th grade classes in drama, which is a quarter-long course. This meant I now taught 4 8th grade courses and 1 tiny 7th grade writing course. Which, bonus, means in a few weeks when the 8th graders graduate, I will teach...1 class a day! WOOOOO!

Not only that, but I felt the administration take a large proactive swing. Some children, as I mentioned before, are no longer with us. Others were shifted around to levelize the classes.

My quality of life went up...even though the accident in January brought it way down.

And still, people kept telling me to get out. Go somewhere else.

But the day of the accident, I told my vice principal that I had thought about not returning, but feeling their support and having my own personal support network at work made me change my mind. I wanted to come back. And I meant it. I still do. I plan to. I didn't send any résumés out, which I had been planning to do come January. I decided to stay. And people think I'm crazy for it. I got my certification this year; I could make a lot more money in public schools (but I don't wanna get shot at work...) or many other Catholic and private schools. Yet, I decided against it, even though we desperately need more money right now. So I'd like to make a list of the things that are making me stay, because I feel like people need to understand.

1. The administration backed us. They generally do. They were proactive, and things have vastly improved.

2. I have a support network of coworkers, without whom I could not have made it through the last 4 years.

3. We have a kid who, while in the 5/6 classroom, was isolated from his peers because he has proximity issues. He would growl at kids and push them. He's probably our lowest performing student, to boot. They kept his desk away from everyone with a no-fly zone around it. The kids stayed away. He tried to do it with us, and we did not allow it. He now will sit next to other people and has stopped growling. He makes conversation with me almost every day. He doesn't wear his black leather gloves to school as often as he used to. (Yes, even on hot days....and I thought I had germaphobe issues!!!) He hasn't made much progress academically, which is not good. He has, however, become more functional for the real-world. He came with us to the Inauguration (the post is still coming) and stayed in a hotel room with three other boys, stayed with his chaperone at all times, and actually got to the point where he "snuggled" up with a group of kids in order to stay warm while we were waiting for the Inauguration to begin. He beat my foot at one point, but he didn't realize it was me and thought someone was trying to step on him, when in reality I was blocking him from being stepped on. But when I showed him whose foot it was, he mellowed. Point being, I am part of a team that really accomplished something major with this kid. That's an amazing feeling.

4. Back to my support network, these teachers have made every day worthwhile. Melissa (B)K (broiler?) helped me through Katrina. We both lost the same amount of stuff, and when I was paired with a God-awful she-beast after the storm, she and Kelly helped me cope. I can't thank her enough for what she did for me. Melissa B. helped me deal with the God-awful she-beast as well....because she also shared a room with her and helped me put things in perspective. She's also such a kind and gentle soul. I miss Sabrina dearly, especially her e-mails detailing her life in Japan (AHEM! I know you'll see this at some point!!!). We had a lot of great, goofy times, and she and Mark were like two peas in a pod. I had a hard time going straight home from Rock-N-Bowl without having to drop her off Uptown first. I also miss coercing her to just accept a ride home and shove her bike in the back of my Rav. I loved dragging Gal around New Orleans with Jen. Charlotte cracks me up sometimes...she's a bit ridiculous, no? Dawn I can talk to for hours about many subjects, including Sabrina. I've loved every minute I've spent with my new incarnation of my work posse. I've managed to suck New Jenn in to the JCC world, bwahahahhaha.... Kristin and I think alike a lot of the time... Michelle H.H. has reluctantly joined my #5 reason why I love my job.... The three of them are the greatest group to eat lunch with (more than likely that lunch is an Amy's organic vegetarian meal or peanut butter from my "grocery store..."), share a pint with, spend 3.5 hours in a book store with, attend a party with, blow off steam together after work, go to a festival with... Bernie turns everything innocent into something dirty. Terry is fun to make afraid of me, hahaha... Brendan wore a kilt on St. Patrick's Day...Nick tells amazing stories about the wrestling team...Michelle McM is hi-friggin-larious....Coach cracks me up, even if I can't understand half the things he says in that thick Mississippi accent....Chris was awesome until he left...Candice is a phenomenal thinker and has really helped me see things clearly....and Len is goofy as all hell, when he's not busy being principal...

5. We started a book club at work!!

6. Since we don't have a sub pool, we sub for each other. And when we don't have enough people to sub, Len does it. As principal, he shouldn't have to. But he makes sure to get in the trenches and help out.

7. My first 8th graders are going to be seniors next year. I want to be there for them.

8. We may be moving next year to a new campus. Superficial, I know, but I want in on it.

9. It's where I got my start teaching.

10. I love seeing what these kids accomplish. Some of them come to us so broken and beaten down from other scholastic experiences. To watch them

11. Teaching is tough and demanding no matter where you are.

12. I'm established there. People want to be in my class. Or to not be, in some cases, hahaha.

13. I've been promised the stuff I have really wanted to teach these last four years as my areas next year.

14. I had an e-mail from a former student, who moved on to another school this year...he's been in touch off and on all year. Anyway, his last report card was all A's and one B. I taught him for two years, and I'd like to think that I had a small hand in that success.

15. I focused a lot on a lot of superficial things and adult-related things. But I can't even begin to properly detail all of the kid moments.

16. It's been really exciting building a school and establishing traditions.

17. I enjoy the small-school atmosphere a lot of the time.

18. I found something that many people strive for: a job that satisfies me (most of the time) with people I love working with, in a place that makes you feel appreciated most of the time. Parents are a different part of the equation, but once in a while, you get that parent that really backs you, and everything is amazing. Why would anyone give up the happiness quotient?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Aimee. I really enjoyed reading this. Aren't you glad now that you made this decision? I was downstairs today speaking with Terry and Jen Harris about how happy I am this year. I share many of your reasons and I'm so glad that we are still there together!

Ditto on enjoying every moment
with you and the gang.