Some of you have asked why I have not written anything lately. Well, I have written things for my blog this summer, but I have not posted my writings. It was a rough summer with my mom and that is what I wrote about mostly. Those things have settled down and all is good right now. So it seems unimportant to post those things. Maybe I will go back and take a look at what needs to be posted, maybe not, or maybe I will move on. Moving on at the moment seems right.
Last year in August, I was asked to teach art at Comanche High School. It was a big decision. I worried and fretted about it. I worked to get my OK teaching certificate. Finally I took the plunge and did it. It was a fairly good year and I was happy that I had done it.
This past spring I started worrying and fretting about teaching for a second year - lots of issues flowing through my head - my mom, my time, my art, etc. I figured they would want me to sign a contract for the next year although I could not remember signing one for the first year. In May, I got a contract in my teacher mailbox. The odd thang was that it was a contract for the 2015-16 year, not the upcoming year. Ya mean I was not under contract (one eyebrow raised)?
When I turned in my grades and finished my first year, I went by the principal's office to turn in my stuff for the end of the year and sign out. I started to turn in my keys, but he said I could keep them for the next year. Maybe the look on my face was questionable, but he asked, "You are coming back next year?" I replied that I did not know yet. He said he really needed to know if I was not coming back. We talked a little more. As I left, he said, "I hope I don't hear from you this summer." meaning that he hoped I would come back.
And so I worried and fretted for the first couple of weeks this summer. Then I decided that I could teach another year. I did enjoy my coach buddies in the annex building. I had not made any lasting ties with the other teachers in the main building, although I had tried. I did enjoy the kids. I did enjoy the art. I did not really enjoy the prep time and planning, but it would be easier now that I had year under my belt. And besides, I only taught four classes and was out by 12:00. I could do this! For the rest of the summer, I thought and planned for my art classes and raised money for my little art department. I actually raised close to a thousand dollars.
Friday was the teacher's first day back at school. Of course, it was in-service where we all met in the elementary cafeteria for some instruction. I had heard that the bell schedule was changing and I knew that school was going to start 15 minutes earlier. Starting early was not a problem for me, since I normally arrived at school by 7:30 in order to prepare for the day - getting art material ready, planning, putting grades in the computer - all those things teachers do in their planning period, which I didn't have.
Anyway, I was enjoying my coach buddies and my one friend, Armida - it was good to be back at school. Then Friday afternoon while in conversation with the school secretary, she told me that I would be teaching four classes, which was nothing new, but that fourth hour was now after lunch. WHAT? Although I would still be teaching four classes, I would be at school an extra hour a day - part of it being more teaching time and part of it being lunchtime - all without any compensation or anyone telling me or checking my thoughts.
Compensation was not my issue. Getting out at 12:45 instead of 11:50 was my big issue. That was the principal's big selling point when he offered me the job the year before. It was the main reason I had chosen to go back. I could teach public school and still have time to teach my homeschool art classes and my ladies class. Best of all, I could have lunch with my husband or friends and still get home to let the dog out. This was a big issue for me!
Friday afternoon in-service was a blur. I had serious problems focusing. I was so upset. Over the weekend I was upset. Toby encouraged me to go in and talk to the principal and tell him why I was upset and see if we could work things out. I was pretty sure the principal would do nothing. He had to have known how this would effect me, yet he chose not to mention it to me over the summer. The secretary even said she had asked him about my schedule. So he knew and chose not to talk to me.
On Monday, I went to work - setting up my classroom, working on my computer, learning the new gradebook, visiting with my coach buddies, etc. And I went over to the main building to get supplies, check my mailbox, and visit with the principal. Just as I thought, he acted like it was not big deal. He said he didn't expect it to be a problem for me. He blinked his eyes and acted innocent. At one point, he threw out that maybe I could get compensation for my extra time...but he dropped that thought quickly. I told him that I would really have to think on this whole thing - that if he had talked to me earlier, I would have chosen not to come back - that I did not like this new schedule - and I felt betrayed by his not bothering to mention it.
I went back to work in my classroom. My thinking was that I would continue on. Maybe the new schedule would be okay. Maybe not. Maybe I would turn in my resignation, but stay until the end of the semester giving the principal time to replace me. At lunch we all met to eat and have a little instruction. I carried on as normal. Then after lunch while I was working in my room, the principal called me. He said he had talked with the Superintendent and wanted me to come to his office to talk. Okay. On my way over to the main building, I wondered if they were going to shorten my day, switch lunch and fourth hour (like it had been last year) so that I would be done by noon, or maybe offer me compensation for the extra hour of work. But no, that is not what happened.
I walked in and sat down in the principal's office. He said, "If you don't want to be here, we can find someone who does. I need to know now." Wow, and ultimatum. It sure didn't seem like he was trying to work with me. In that few minutes, I had lots of thoughts going through my head, but the big one was, "He is offering me my freedom, and I don't have to put up with any of this anymore." So I answered him, "I don't want to be here." He said, "get me a letter." I told him that I had thought he would need me until he could find a replacement, but he did not take me up on that. Just, "Get me a letter." Okay.
So, I went back to my room and packed the stuff I had set out earlier. I carried it to my car. I wrote a quick letter on the computer. I walked back to the main building and gave it to the principal. He said that I had done a good job for him and that there was no hard feelings. Then he said something odd. "I really wish you had given me more time." Really!? This was his doings. So I said, "I really wish you had talked to me earlier." And I left.
Janice Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" was running through my head: Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose / Nothin', don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free,