Sunday, May 16, 2010

Defeat or Success?

For me it's the time of year when I have to decide if the glass is half full or half empty. Do I make lemonade in tall frosty glasses or ugly faces at the sour taste of the unsweetened raw fruit?

I haven't posted for some time because I was waiting. . . My school district delayed notifying "laid-off" staff for a full month -- from April 15th until May 15th. They had up until last night to tell me I would not have a job next year. I think I would have been surprised to learn I had been released -- but I wouldn't have been shocked out of my socks. I am, I am now fairly assured, gainfully employed for next school year at which time I will have worked for the district five full years and be granted tenure.

But with that news, I have to decide how to position myself into a whole new and unanticipated change in my status within my school. I'm still a SPED collaborative teacher but all my lovely classes, so thoughtfully and diligently developed, planned, and structured to meet district standards have been summarily canceled. I am thrown back solely into collaborative mode, depending on the whims of the general education teacher -- and I am vastly disappointed.

I really worked to develop what the district called my "triangle" classes. "Life skill" students take basic remedial educational classes -- how to tell time, count money, wash clothes. Gen ed students take "benchmark" classes. My SPED students who could learn the benchmarks but just not as quickly and wade through so much material were called the triangle kids. I loved teaching them. I have a real knack for it. My test scores have ranked with the gen ed kids this year.

My local school was also on board with my classes -- in fact, they developed them for me. Another high school in the district liked them so much they adopted our approach. Then the ugly head of bureaucracy got involved -- with anger that "she" had not been consulted and did not have control of what we were doing on the local level. The district director got more and more worked up throughout this year, until she finally had a show down with the school principals and all the triangle classes were canceled at a meeting that was rescheduled twice to make sure than none of the affected parties would be in attendance.

Now I have no idea what I'm going to be doing next year. I'm hoping that as my school department chair assures me in gentle, dulcet tones, we do have some wiggle room and things will work out. I think, the reality is, that due to all the current budge cuts and with the new "curriculum" procedure the district has mandated for next year along the federal scrutiny we are under, I'm probably going to be facing a very, very difficult year. And my kids are going to have it even tougher.

Meanwhile I've got the end of the school year to get through -- two more weeks. "Will I have you for English next year, Miss?" the students ask me as they watch the schedules being made. Last week I assured them they would. This week I've got to tell them, "No." This will be hard on us all.

On a very sad note, Hubby was informed early this morning that Sister, the lovely woman in D.C. who had hosted us at her spectacular Chesapeake Bay house, died late last night. She was funny and smart and generous to us. She was Hubby's closest tie to his family and we shall miss her greatly.


Donna said...

I'm sorry for the loss of a family member.
I do hope things work out for you next fall.

Margaret said...

I'm so sorry-was she the beautiful and very young looking woman in that photo I saw? Give hubby a hug for me! I don't know what to tell you about the glass except that we have to drink our "lemonade" in different shapes and sizes of glasses at times and not necessarily the BEST lemonade in the appropriate size glasses. If this makes any sense!I guess--take control over what you can, let go of what you can't and do the best job possible for you and your students under circumstances that are not of your own making or choosing.

snugpug said...

I'm sorry for your loss. And I hope things work out in school, for both you and your students.