I gotta move out of this neighborhood

(That’s a BB King song)

Today was fucking awful.

We had … I dunno, six fights in the building today?  Let’s say six, it was close to that one way or another.  One kid caught what I think is probably the worst ass-whipping I’ve ever seen short of Rodney King.  I hope to hell the other kid is in jail right now.  I don’t know why they don’t take you to jail when you attack someone at school; school is the only place you can just beat the shit out of someone and then expect to go home afterwards like nothing happened.  This kid should be in jail.  He should be there until he turns 18, frankly.  But he’s not, because he attacked someone at school and not out on the street.  

Go ahead; there’s six plus years of damn near daily blog posts around here.  Hell, the running average is probably still more than one a day.  I wrote a whole-ass book about teaching that you can look through too if you like.  See if you can find another post where this kid needs to be in jail for what he just did is the topic.  I can’t think of one.  That rough of a day.

And I do not have a hard job, guys.  I really don’t.  There’s a lot of moving parts but I don’t have a hard job, not compared to what everyone else in the building is doing.  And today was damn near too much for me anyway.  I don’t know how the hell any of these people get up and go to work every day.  I do know that there’s no way in hell I return to this building next year.  Not if my life depended on it.  Which means I get to start jobhunting again.  There’s a chance to do the same job just in some other school but for various reasons (which I’ll probably get into eventually, but not now) is not as likely as I’d like it to be, so the best move is to start looking for alternatives now.  Because I can’t be in a place with this rotted a culture any longer.  I’ve never worked in a school this bad.  Not even close.  And I’ll make it to June, but I need to be gone after that, and if something good turns up before then I’ll jump ship.  I’ll be burning this bridge for the last time, but I think it needs to be done.

(Then again, for fun, especially if you know me in the real world, think back over my life since graduating in high school and count the good decisions.  Other than marrying my wife, there aren’t as many as I used to think there are.  I’m actually not very good at this being an adult nonsense.  I remember when I thought I was good at stuff; it was a while ago.)

And tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all over again.  Six more days with the kids and then I get a couple of weeks off.  I can manage this, I think.  I don’t have much of a choice, one way or another.

Hmmmm

I have a number of activities that I want to perform this weekend, and am even bringing in my parents tomorrow to watch the boy so that I might finish several of them.  Right now all I want to do is play video games– which, believe it or not, are actually on the list of “things I want to accomplish”– and then go directly to sleep for a hundred years, which might derail most of the rest of the list.

Some stuff happened at work today that I could talk about, but I can’t think of a way to make any of them funny which makes me not want to discuss them all that much.  It has, generally speaking, been a very long week.  I’m looking forward to getting a chance to relax this weekend.

How are you?

That wasn’t supposed to happen

Had my interview at the other school in my district today.  I know this principal, having worked for him in the past.  I had forgotten what a magnificent salesman he is; the guy had me thinking hey, maybe I want to stay in this district after all after like ten minutes.  There’s a rant in here somewhere about the inequality among our schools; his place has facilities my building simply cannot dream of, which is incredibly frustrating but will be awfully nice anyway once I’m actually there.

Anyway, long story short; if I want to teach fifth grade math and science in his building next year, I’m golden.  On the plus side, for various reasons that I’m not going to go into he can’t actually officially hire me until mid-July, giving me some time to keep looking around at other districts without actually screwing him over.  Then again, if there’s ever been a guy who would accept “Hey, I found something better,” without getting pissy or taking it personal, it’s this guy.  But whatever; I actually prefer having the time before it becomes official.  I’d rather not jerk him around if I don’t have to, y’know?

But, yeah.  An hour of talking and being shown around the building again and he’s got me excited about teaching again all the sudden.  Who knew?

(There will almost certainly be more later.  I’m supposed to be writing, so obviously I’m going to be doing almost anything else.)

On my future

Higher_learning

This is going to be my twelfth year of teaching, and my fourteenth year of thinking of myself as a teacher.

It’s time– it may be well past time, honestly– to start seriously figuring out what the next step in my career is going to be.  This is the weird thing about my job; unlike basically every other career out there, there isn’t really any way to get promoted as a teacher.  While I’ve spent my career in middle schools and I’ve often sort of thought of the eighth grade math teacher as the apex predators in the building, I don’t actually think that for any real reason.  The person who had my job last year was a second-year teacher; it’s not like you have to prove yourself to get into that end of the building any more than you do anywhere else.

I can change jobs as much as I like, but short of flipping school districts somehow (and I suspect the other districts around here actually pay less than mine does) there’s no way to actually increase my salary that way.  I can increase my marketability for other districts in various ways and I can shift my own focus on my teaching in some ways, but precious few of them will lead to a whole lot of change.  Let’s run through the possibilities, shall we?

  • Go back to school and get my doctorate.  This will not actually increase my salary so long as I live in Indiana, whose wise Republican government decided a couple of years ago that there’s no point rewarding teachers for getting education.  It will also cost me money unless I can manage to get someone else to pay for it, and while I haven’t actually looked too deeply into this I don’t really think that there’s a whole lot of money for funding out there.  I cannot acquire more student loans.  I currently owe nearly ninety thousand dollars for student loans as is.  That number will not be increasing under any circumstances.  Further issue:  there is no college offering an Ed.D or a Ph.D in education within non-pain-in-the-ass distance of my home.  Online degrees are a bloody joke and there are any number of obvious issues with, say, trying to commute to Ball State (nearly three hours away) for classes.  This takes something that already had major issues and nudges it thaaaat much closer to impossible.  That said?  I want a doctorate.  I know lots of people with advanced degrees and goddammit I want one too.  I know it’s irrational; shut up.
  • Administrative certification.  This would require classes, but not necessarily another degree.  That’s kind of weasel-talk, though, since most of the time admin prep programs are meant as Master’s Degree programs anyway, and I already have two of the damn things (that’s where 89 grand in student loans came from) and don’t want a third.  Becoming an administrator would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, increase my salary.  I would also probably hate the job, as principal jobs– and, especially, the Assistant Principal job I’d certainly have to spend a few years in before becoming a principal– basically mean you spend all of your time doing precisely the parts of this job that I hate and seek to minimize at all costs.  I posted “Do I want to be a principal?” as a Facebook status the other day; damn near every single person said I did not.
  • I can always get certified in additional subject areas, which widens what I can teach and ensures that I can continue job-hopping every few years for the rest of my life.  This does have its attractions, mind you, but I’m already one of the more heavily certified teachers in a district that employs thousands of them and it ain’t like it’s putting money in my pocket.  You do reach a point where you hit overkill, y’know?
  • National Board certification.  This provides flexibility in that it instantly certifies me in most of the states across the country, meaning that I can move somewhere where having your National Boards actually matters.  Most states provide financial incentives– some of them quite sizeable– for teachers who attain National Board certification.  Indiana, naturally, is not one of them.  Board certification is difficult and moderately expensive, but cheaper than an entire degree and, frankly, it would probably be more helpful.  Effect on my day-to-day life as it exists right now: zero.

Noticing a pattern?  I’m kinda stuck, and I don’t like it one bit.  The best answer appears to be “move to a state where people actually give a shit about education,” and that would be great if, oh, I lived by myself.  It gets rather more complicated with a wife and a baby in the picture, particularly when moving means taking both sets of grandparents’ only grandchild away from them.

Seriously?  The only thing I can think of that might be workable is to start writing books.  I can’t make myself write fiction to save my life; my struggles with that have been amply detailed in any number of blog posts since forever, but I can sure as shit talk ad nauseam about teaching.  The weird thing is, while I can’t actually make myself write fiction, I have tons of ideas for stories, and I can actually get myself to sit down and knock out a thousand words of nonfiction at the drop of a hat but I have absolutely no idea what a book about teaching from me might actually look like.  Like, none.  I’ve fiddled with the idea from time to time and gotten nowhere with it.

Although I WILL SLAP RAFE ESQUITH IN HIS STUPID LYING FACE would be a great name for a book, wouldn’t it?  And its sequel, MAYBE YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE BECAUSE YOUR PANTS MADE THEM THAT WAY, YOU ASSHOLE, due a year or so later.

Bah.