It was tough coming back to the classroom after trying most of the summer unsuccessfully to find another job, I was grateful to have a job but I had mentally closed off ties to the school. It was like starting at a new school but familiar faces. It was great to have the old staff back except one teacher who found work and had signed a contract and had moved away already.
I knew at the start of the school year that this would most likely be the last year the staff would stay intact strings were pulled and loop holes used to get everyone possible back. Knowing in the back of my mind that the district was 60 million in the hole that I know for sure that the team would be broken again at the end of the year.
This year we had three new to this school teachers, all are veterans of the district (they all had more seniority and interviewed into this position. The math teacher was very jaded in terms of teaching he had a rule of threes and believed that there was a bottom third of the class who was a waste to be in the program since they either did not care or too academically behind to be able to participate in a meaningful way. The english teacher who was not there enough of the time to teach effectively, she was diagnosed with a host of illnesses and could not be there. Sadly there was a patchwork of subs for the majority of the school year and the students learned little. The science teacher was a push over she was one of the group of teachers imported from India by Cleveland years ago to fill vacant teaching positions (what a difference a few years makes). The one teacher who did not come back was an engineering teacher who we did not get a replacement and we got a long term sub to help out instead. I was very frustrated that we did not get an engineering teacher to take up the missing position the engineering teacher was a central thrust of the school we could have done so much more with an engineering teacher in terms of interdisciplinary projects.
Despite all this we did plan some interdisciplinary projects and worked well with some of the staff members but in the final analysis the staff did not work as well as in years past. The staff had a hard time staying united and I think there was some built up resentment from issues that were buried and never dealt with from the previous year.
Of course our test scores improved modestly and saw measurable gains in achievement. I think we will rate as an effective school when all the numbers are crunched, as a whole our students did remarkably better then the district average. However I think the student could have achieved so much more were we able to work more effectively together.
Have tried all summer to find work at other districts, really the jobs aren’t there. Tried looking at the ODE jobs page and K12jobspot.com, I even looked at individual district websites, however most of the districts around Northeast Ohio use Applitrack so instantly any open jobs are bombarded by 70 to 100 applications. The Applitrack system is really nice since you can fill out one application and then reuse the data on other applications, so it is easy to mass apply to like all the districts and if you already have a generic essay that is easy to reword you can apply to all the districts in 2 days. The ODE Jobs Page is like an online post board where district can post positions but just like any community postboard where people can post ads at a store there are lots of OLD postings and other so generic they are asking for everything.
For One week things looked bright. I had two job interviews.
I had a interview in Elyria for High School and it was a out of the blue since I had learned earlier that the position I was interested in was filled. I had an interview and I was first called so I was hopeful for a hire. Walking into the school I was excited because of the renovations and new construction I could smell the paint and drywall. I thought I interviewed well, I would say I interviewed with awkward ease, my answers may have been awkward but I answered the questions with ease. However a very quickly placed call literally 3 hours later quashed that hope. They loved me but gave the position to someone else, the interviewer said he knows of positions elsewhere and would put in a good word, but the district is very far away and I don’t want to drive an hour to and an hour back for a half time job.
The day before my interview with Elyria I walked an application to East Cleveland instead of faxing their application and my resume. I happened to meet with the head of HR and his eyes perked when I showed him my application and resume. He asked me to wait and he went back to his office, when he came out he asked if I could interview tomorrow (the day I interviewed with Elyria) I said I could not tomorrow but the next day, and we quickly set up an interview for the day after tomorrow. Got suited up and I mentally prepared myself I replayed my interview with Elyria in my head and remembered my strong answers and weak answers and how I can improve them. I walked in early but had to wait at least 45 minutes for the interview to start.
During that time I totally lost it I was spiraling into despair. I don’t know why maybe the gravity of the situation sunk in my mind. I realized that this was likely my last interview for the season as jobs were drying up. Maybe the despair of the neighborhood permeated through the walls of the school board trailer I was sitting in. There were a few moments where I was tearing up.
I was finally called up to interview and I was not focused as I had hoped in the end I was verbally told that I had the job if I wanted it. They had me talk with the Superintendent of the district right after my interview and explained the situation that they were gun shy of hiring cleveland teachers because they have hired some and they left as soon as they were called back. I told the superintendent that I would commit if offered the position. I ended up waiting for several hours more as they tried to get my paperwork completed. I ended up asking the Head of HR about what my wage and benefits are and he reluctantly gave me that information. I had to leave because I need to discuss with my wife and get all the other paperwork completed to get the letter of intent.
I was in contact with East Cleveland for several days trying to keep them abreast of my progress in getting the necessary paper work in line but the Tuesday after the interview they told me that they gave the job to some one else. I was furious, after this my wife discussed with me Plan C.
So looking at my plans
Plan A: Wait it out for a call back (Pro: Stay in district have same salary, Con: #34 in Seniority in my subject area and 30 Jobs for my subject area)
Find work elsewhere NO jobs left anywhere, had a job offer that was given in bad faith and got screwed!
Plan C: Go to Grad School (Pro: More training and more pay, can get a big chunk in loans and grants that will be forgiven, time with kids, Con: money tight)
So the past several weeks I have been working on Plan C getting transcripts and working to complete my application to Grad School and taking a test for placement.
Now I wait again, hopefully I will be accepted.
So I got a call back to my old job last Thursday, on the provision that it may be necessary to be laid off thirty day later. Of course i said yes even if it is a thirty day stint. With plan C in my back pocket, I finally got accepted to CSU today but I can’t enroll in classes because someone has to change my status to student to trigger that this is major bull shit, but at least I have a plan C to fall on.
So over the weekend I started feeling a sense of normalcy and started to try to get life back in order getting my kids and myself ready for school. I actually went to my school building and visited and tried to haul some of my stuff over to the school. I’ve been getting mentally ready to be back to school back to teaching. Planning on what to teach for the two courses that I will be preparing for. Was hearing some chatter on Facebook about layoffs tried to keep it out of my mind today. But as the day went on I found out that the CMSD School Board was voting for over 300 teachers to lay off again this time including the recalled teachers and into teachers who have continuing contracts (tenure) back to starting hire dates of 2001. Quite literally any one who has joined the district anytime in the past 10 years are laid off. So I am on the layoff list again.
What a fucking head trip. How can any teacher be professional about their work when they were left hanging in the wind the who summer only to be called back next to the last week of school starting and then only to get laid off again in a weeks time the night before they were to show up to start preparing for their classes.
I’m starting to get tired of this. At least I can try to register for classes tomorrow.