Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I might get fired tomorrow

Bit of a setback yesterday.

I was doing well, didn't even raise my voice last Friday despite a near-riot in my homeroom at the end of the school day when I came quite close to being trampled by a group of eighth graders. But during my advisory class the last period of the day yesterday, they were being so obnoxious -- throwing pillows at each other, talking over each other and me, not of them was even throwing milk (don't ask) I raised my voice to show them I was serious and meant business. But the special education director and the principal made me meet with them after school and told me that an adult who was also in the library at the time thought I lost my temper. Both the elementary school music teacher and the librarian were in there, so it could've been either of them. I really felt I just raised my voice and was firm. I didn't think I lost my temper like I did on the two occasions last week -- I didn't feel out-of-control enraged or anything. But I guess that was the librarian's or the music teacher's perception. And who knows, maybe all the stress of working in that place is making it impossible for me to distinguish between raising my voice and yelling. I have no idea anymore. :(

Anyway, it was such a frustrating meeting because every concern I tried to voice, the principal twisted my words around to make it my fault, and that that's why I shouldn't be working there anymore. When I said we haven't gotten lesson plans for advisory in weeks, she said as a professional educator I should've been proactive and realized I had to start creating my own. I said, "I would've been happy to do that -- I *have* been doing it, on the fly -- but it was never communicated to us." She said there are so many creative lessons I could create with advisory, and if I can't, maybe this school isn't the best fit for me. When I said the behavior in the hallways is scary-- the pregnant math specialist was knocked to the ground in the stairwell last month by kids running wild, pushing and shoving -- the principal said, "Oh, those were just students being careless. The math specialist knows that. She's not afraid of the students. If you are afraid of them, you can't work with them effectively, so maybe this school isn't the best fit for you."

Then it dawned on me what she was trying to do. I let her talk for a while and just yessed her to death. When she asked me what I was thinking and how I was feeling, I wanted to say, "You shithead! You're trying to force me to quit three days before February break so you don't have to pay me over vacation week! THAT's what I think!" But I behaved myself and just repeated back what she'd said to me, that we have to be positive with the students, respect them, be role models, etc. Then she insinuated that I would be happier teaching in a school for juvenile offenders. "In schools for juvenile offenders, you walk the halls and can hear a pin drop, it's so quiet, because they're so boxed in they can barely move. Here at CrazySchool, we want to give our kids more freedom than that," she said with her enigmatic smile. "But this isn't for everyone, so maybe this school just isn't a good fit for you."

Anytime she asked me what I was thinking, I said I completely agreed with what she was saying and that I was committed to staying. It was actually pretty comical to watch her try to hide the disappointment on her face every time I reiterated my commitment and refused to quit. In the end, we finally left it that I would take today (which ended up being a snow day, thank God) and "reflect on whether this school is a good fit for you." Such B.S. I mean, is losing your temper a couple of times -- not swearing, not using berating language, not hitting a kid or anything -- really a fire-able offense?

So now my decision is made for me. I was doing my best to stick it out, but I can't work at a school where I feel like the principal is going to be gunning for me, just waiting to catch me doing something wrong. That is, if she doesn't just fire me tomorrow. She'll either have to terminate me so I can collect unemployment, or wait for me to quit after I've found another job.

I'm very curious what will happen tomorrow.


  1. It's like sitting under the Sword of Damocles. What a terrible situation! Your loyal blogosphere friends are pulling for you, Artichoke!