Wednesday, June 14, 2017

things are looking up

I've already had three interviews for my dream job.  I'm not going to say too much more about it, except this comment from a different perspective: It's not your plan, it's God's  plan.

So many people told me, on the terrible day when my contract was rescinded, that things happen for a reason, and that I would find something even better, and that I would be OK.  I have never, perhaps in spite of my faith, bought into the "everything happens for a reason" philosophy.  On the other hand, I do think God has a plan for me, I just don't always know what it is, and I'm fairly certain that there have been plenty of times when I haven't followed the path that would have kept me closer to that plan.

I don't think God is a manipulative jerk.  I have noticed, though, that at certain times in my life, I've made the same mistake repeatedly until some shocking event wakes me up to the fact that I am, in fact, doing something less-than-good.  I can't tell you how many times Pride goeth before the fall has echoed through head these past few weeks. All I can do is nod my head in agreement.

So I'm waiting to hear from the dream job, and holding off on completing my other applications for a little while.  I'm waiting for a letter of reference from my old principal to be able to complete those applications, anyway, and she just returned from her maternity leave and I'm sure she's swamped.  It's OK, there's still plenty of time before the next school year kicks into gear.

On a completely different note, this was great news today:

And finally, Goodwill came and picked up a ton (almost literally) of stuff we've purged in advance of getting our floors re-done next week.  We'll hit peak household disruption on Sunday, but the work should be finished by this time next week, and we'll begin the process of thoughtfully putting everything left back into the upstairs rooms. 

It's strange to be in AZ at this time of year, but I appreciate having the time to get this work done on the house, and I really appreciate not having any homework or classwork or any other sort of schoolwork to do!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Now I get it

I asked for, and received today, a copy of my final performance evaluation, so I could understand why my contract was rescinded.  I really shouldn't have read it before bed, because of course I couldn't sleep afterwards.

I have never seen so many lies about me!  Things they said I did, and things they said I didn't do -- it's enough to make me wonder who actually wrote it.

Since it's much too late to talk about it, I took the time to write out my refutations.  I will think about how to send them in, too, since it pains me greatly to think of that document as part of my file, unanswered, as if I accepted it.

It seems to me as if it were purposely written so they could get rid of me... a hatchet-job, a witch hunt, whatever you want to call it.  But anyone who knew anything about my classroom practices would laugh to see some of the things they said, like I didn't enter my grades, or I didn't communicate with parents, or I didn't promote self-assessment among my students. My advice-to-parents succeeding in math letter is all about the need for self-assessment.  Clearly whoever wrote that performance evaluation had very little actual knowledge of my practices, which is not surprising since it was a rare day when we had anyone from admin show up in the junior high wing. They were too busy dealing with problems elsewhere in the building, and they knew we were fine, because we are all excellent teachers, including me.

Friday, June 02, 2017

reject

In light of recent events, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on job boards and recruiting websites and all that.  I have an interview set for next Thursday for a job I actually want, too.  I feel a little better knowing that's coming.

On the other hand, I had a screening interview today for another job that I might actually want (the commute is a challenge) and was faced with having to discuss why I'm even looking for a job right now.  I wasn't exactly prepared for the question, although I should have been.

So I was completely honest and probably talked myself out of that job, even though I won't be teaching math.  The math scores did it, apparently, but why anyone was surprised about those math scores, I'll never know.  They were completely consistent with the work my students did all year, in spite of my best efforts.  It is not possible for an average student to learn math without actually doing math, and the vast majority of my students treated homework as if it were optional.  Which is why most of them failed math the entire year.

So I was asked, what did I do about it?  I offered tutoring multiple days a week.  I found online tools so they could bring their math facts up to where they needed to be.  I found other free, online resources and assigned adaptive practice to address specific skills gaps.  I gave out countless worksheets and packets to do the same.  Grades did come up, but when you are starting in the 20-30% range (or lower), even an increase of 20-30% is still not going to get you to passing.  So I said most of that, to what effect, I have no idea.  The call ended with the recruiter letting me know they would contact me if I was still a candidate after they had talked to other qualified candidates.

Then I worked on an application for another school district which asked, have you ever had a contract not renewed? And I had to answer "yes", which led to another "Please explain if you had to answer 'yes' to any of these questions," most of which were horrible things like being arrested. That was a drag, and made me feel as if I'm un-employable, which I should most assuredly not be.

My thoughts take dark turns and I ponder things like, did getting my master's degree make me unemployable? Am I too expensive now?  Will I ever find a place where I feel like I fit in?

The MIT degree supposedly helps, and it does open some doors, but overall I've got more flak about it than I have positive comments.  "Wow, you must be really smart," isn't always a compliment, especially when it's followed by the unspoken question, "What are you doing here?"  

I want my job to make a contribution that's more than economic.  I want to make a difference in people's lives.  I believe I can still do that, I just have to find the right place.