Monday, June 13, 2011


Each new e-mail brings more news of change and I'm beginning to really get stressed out. I wasn't thrilled about the ending of this school year -- in fact, I began to feel so overwhelmed by my professional community, English, that I chose to withdraw from it and join the social studies community for next year.

After all, my three year collaboration with the social studies teacher was the longest and strongest one in the building. We had actually reached a true c0-teaching status that included daily planning and actually working as professional equals inside the classroom. So it just seemed to make sense, even if I'm not nearly as strong academically in World and American History as I am with literature. I thought this was a very balanced, well-thought out decision and my administration agreed to the change. The vice-principal in charge of the inner-school social studies group was thrilled I was joining her group.

I also knew that my collaborative English partner was resigning, She had twins at the end of the school year and she now has four children under five at home. Of course she needed to resign! She and I hadn't gotten along very well -- she wasn't an easy person to communicate with, though I thought she was a fine teacher. However, the second semester, we really hit divergent paths and our collaboration was actually pretty much non-existent. I hated nearly every English lesson she introduced, most of which I had no idea were coming my way. Her resignation, though, puts me at a distinct disadvantage for English collaboration for the fall semester -- another reason why I though switching professional learning communities was a very good idea.

On my third floor the other SPED teacher finally decided to retire after 47 years in the district -- she's actually a year younger than I am. Sometimes our relationship involved butting heads but I really liked her and respected her commitment to the job. And I could always count on her for the inside "dope" around the school and the district. I will miss our working relationship very much. I hear that the person replacing her, only one year with our district, brings quite a reputation for absence, being difficult to work with, and late to nearly every class / meeting.

At the end of the year, our district SPED head announced she was resigning to take a new job. Frankly, this woman had been a thorn in every side and I think nearly the entire district heaved a sigh of relief to know she was leaving. Of course, it's always out of the frying pan and into the fire, because the next thing we knew, the dreaded functional district SPED head had simply absorbed the collaborative teachers. The district was on a "cost cutting spree." It's the functional curriculum that has been laying me low for the past semester -- I am NOT at all a person cut out to teach life skill classes. And this new woman has a rep that is far worse than the one leaving us.

Then Friday I got the e-mail that my three year collaborative social studies teacher was resigning to take an ESL position with the district. Our three years of working closely and successfully together is over. Also I will not know any of the staff I am supposed to co-teach with next year. Every co-teaching class I'm with will have a "new" teacher, probably new to the district and no idea that they are walking into a classroom that has been designated at "collaborative." Dear god!

Finally, today came the e-mail today that our lead English teacher had resigned to accept a new position -- lead English teacher for the entire district.

Hubby and I have just had the retirement talk, yet again. I look at the economy and I cower with fear. I worry that we simply won't have enough money to make it through another 30 years. If I could just make it five more years, I could nearly double our retirement funds (we're socking it away hard and fast but the stock market and economy is doing us no favors here). It's just that physically and mentally I don't think I can take much more of these changes.

Hopefully every problem I'm envisioning for the upcoming fall will not be nearly as bad as I fear. I know that as we age we accept change less gracefully and with more trepidation. I know I have resilience. I know I love the kids. I know that Hubby will be supportive -- if his health holds. I know that my friends will continue to support my efforts in the classroom. Now I just have to find a place of serenity to get me through the unknowns of this summer . . . and I've got finish writing these two god-awful papers. Heaven help me!


Donna said...

Heaven help you indeed. Cliff and I know we won't be able to keep our place in the country very many years; we don't have a huge nest egg. But he was close to death five years ago with his heart issues, and I told him he deserves to retire. When we have to sell the place, we will deal with it.

Margaret said...

Retirement is so scary! It's not just the bills, it's the HEALTH INSURANCE. Ack. I would like to do so when I'm 62, but I'm not sure how that will go. :( I'm facing lots of changes too, both personally and professionally, so I know how stressful it is.