Okay, this is real now

I’ve started telling people I’m leaving— just a couple, so far, who have direct need-to-know reasons. I haven’t decided how long I’m going to wait to tell everyone who doesn’t need to know.

I think the plan right now is that the 19th will be my last day in the building. That’s the day before fall break, and it’s a Teacher Record day. I have sick days and personal days left, so I’ll start burning those the next week, and take that week off from both buildings. I’ll start at the new place on … Halloween, which seems to fit how this year has gone so far.

Here we go.

Na na naaa na, na na naaa na, hey hey hey

giphyYou have probably forgotten, because my life is not actually all that important to anyone outside of my immediate family no matter how much time you spend on this blog, but I did myself a bit of vagueblogging a couple of weeks ago.  As of yesterday morning, the need for vagueblogging has passed!  I can stop holding onto this goddamn secret that has been making me nuts since IndyPopCon!

I put in my notice at my job yesterday.  As of August 8, I will no longer be a furniture salesman, and I’ve got another week of paid vacation between now and then.

Thank Christ.

I will say, to be fair, that I like the people I work with a lot, and despite my frequent complaints about it there are a lot of much worse jobs than selling furniture.  But after a hair more than two years of three 11-hour days a week and working every. single. fucking. weekend I have had enough.  My son will turn 7 a few weeks after I quit.  He is starting to notice that Daddy is not ever around on the weekend.  And regardless of how I might feel about any other aspect of the job, I can’t have that.

What am I doing, you ask?

I am returning to education.  I’m not returning to teaching, or to administration, however.  I won’t be working directly with kids, at least not much, although I will be working in a school.  The job is primarily tech related, meaning I get all the advantages of being a teacher– including the pay, which should be substantially more than I’m making now– and very few of the disadvantages that drove me out of teaching a few years ago.  I am not a teacher, though.

I have known about this since the Saturday of IndyPopCon.  I applied for the job on that Thursday, had a number of email back-and-forths on Friday regarding scheduling an interview, and on Saturday the principal called me, cancelled the interview, and hired me on the spot.  After two years of applying for half a dozen jobs a month and getting no interviews at all, to be hired without one was immensely fucking gratifying.  It’s almost like I have skills that are useful in certain circumstances!

At any rate, I’ve been waiting for a few ducks to get their lazy asses lined up regarding the job becoming a bit more official before quitting and announcing it here, and considering that I started getting emails from my new employer today, I figure that’s as official as it needs to be.  I also needed to make sure I got that second week of vacation scheduled on a certain week where my wife will be in Boston without me and it will be much easier to make it through life if I’m not at work, so today turned out to be a great day to make everything official.  I figure I’m giving just under five weeks of notice; finding someone to replace me in that time shouldn’t be that hard.

(That said, if you know me in my Clark Kent guise and know anyone who would be good at sales, we’ve got a couple of open jobs.  No particular education or experience necessary other than a high school diploma.  Hit me up.)

So.  Yeah.

*tremendous relaxed exhale*

Feels good, man.

On what’s next, and #Hugoawards eligibility

open-window.jpgLet’s start by ripping the band-aid off: after spending the entire day convinced I was going to throw up at any moment, I went in to school yesterday afternoon after the kids left, resigned, and cleaned out my classroom.

I’m done.  It’s over.  I’m no longer a teacher.

(Five minutes of staring into space.)

I’m still in much the same emotional place where I was last night: part of me wants to call everyone I know (especially the teachers) and have a huge party, and the rest of me wants to crawl into a corner and cry for a week.  I let a lot of people down yesterday.  Knowing that didn’t prevent me from doing it, and I don’t precisely feel bad about it, but it’s definitely a thing I did and I’m cognizant of it.

I suspect what I’ve done is gonna hit me really hard sometime next week.

Until I have another job, I’m a full time writer.  I’m still looking; nothing has changed since my most recent #Weekendcoffeeshare post except that now it’s Tuesday and I’m really hoping for that phone call.

Anyone wishing to provide me with financial support during my period of unemployment is welcome to buy and/or review a book, obviously.  🙂  I highly recommend the print editions!

(Have I mentioned that The Sanctum of the Sphere is eligible for a Best Novel Hugo this year?  No?  It is.  And Warrior Jayashree and the Young is eligible for Best Short Story!  Neither of them have a chance to win but it’s fun to play pretend sometimes.)

But book sales aren’t going to pay the bills– well, maybe they will, but I’m gonna have to abruptly get really lucky.  Maybe I’ll get nominated for a Hugo somehow.


Until then:  this is a thing now, (he said, burying the lede) as of right now this exact second.  The website is still bare-bones, but Prostetnic Editing Services is available for anyone who may happen to desire book, story, or essay editing services.  At the moment I’m just offering copy-editing and formatting, but if you need something else, let me know.  I work relatively cheaply!  And since I don’t have a damn thing to be doing right now, turnaround is pretty quick too!

What major life changes have you made lately?

In which see if you can make me

whuteverFirst things first, because this post is going to be a bit of a downer and you deserve something at least a little funny:  I somehow managed to make it through the entire day with a massive hole in the crotch of my pants that I didn’t notice until I went to the bathroom during my last-hour prep period.  I assume no one else noticed it; I can’t imagine a universe in which I don’t get the hell mocked out of me for it if they did.

I did something I’ve never done today:  got pissed off and stormed out of a faculty meeting.

(Second disclaimer, and lemme put this right up at the top of this post so I’m not misunderstood:  I am manifestly not blaming the people who brought me the information that caused me to storm out of the faculty meeting today; I am not shooting the messengers and they were just doing their jobs.  Nor am I pissed at my boss.  The fact that at least two of the people involved may well read this is in no way related to the early disclaimer.  🙂  )

I’ll try and nutshell the background for those of you who aren’t teachers:  Every three weeks our students get a math test and a language arts test.  The tests are the same across grade levels– in other words, every seventh grader takes the same math test– and are supposed to be the same across the corporation as a whole, although I’ll admit right here and now that the math team at my school has altered individual questions that we thought were unfair or poorly written in some way and we didn’t bother getting permission for it.  We’re required to display the results of these tests on what are called data walls, because us educators like having complicated names for things.  I generated an Excel document for everyone that takes the test results and spits them out into pie charts that are broken down for the test as a whole and each individual math objective (generally, three) that is being tested.  The data is genuinely useful; I can keep track of where my kids are at relative to each other, to the grade as a whole, and I can see where my instruction doesn’t seem to be working– if my kids bomb one objective that the other teachers did well on, that may be an indication that I’m doing something wrong.

The data, again, is displayed on a class level in the classroom.  No individual scores, no names.  Just how each whole class did.

Apparently some lord high muckety-muck downtown has decided that that’s not good enough.  We’re now required to do “student-centered” data walls; the charts aren’t enough.

A “student-centered” data wall is one where the kids are posting their results on the wall– supposedly thinly veiled by using student numbers instead of names or some such shit like that.  The idea is that the kids are “aware of” and “own” their results, which somehow isn’t the case when I give them their tests, discuss them, and then discuss the class results with them, which I do every time I give a test.  We’re supposed to create some sort of bulletin board somewhere in the room where we can have the kids put their little name-tag thing up in the band (red, yellow, green) where their score landed.  In case it’s not obvious, green kids did great, yellow kids passed, red kids… didn’t.

I’ve talked about him before but I can’t find the post: my freshman year Algebra teacher was the worst goddamn teacher I’ve ever had in my entire life, and a large part of what made me hate him as much as I did was his practice of rearranging the seats after each test– by test score.  The kids who did the worst would be in the front row, all the way back to the kids with the highest scores, who ended up in the back.  The very worst score in the room would end up right in front of his desk.  And you’d stay there until the next test, when, more than likely (because he was a shit teacher) you’d get planted back in the front row again.

I spent a lot of time in the front row my freshman year of high school, and over twenty years later I can still feel the humiliation.  Note that I teach freshman algebra now, so this clearly wasn’t a result of my poor math abilities.  I literally teach the same class I flunked when this asshole taught it.  And I do it better than he did.


Here’s what this means:  you fail a math test in my class, not only do you fail a math test in my class, but you are supposed to get up and move a doohickey (that is supposedly, but not really, safely anonymized) so that not only do you get to be reminded that you failed every fucking time you walk in the room but everybody else gets to know about it too.  If you’re the only kid in a class who failed?  You get to be down there in the red zone all by yourgoddamnself and if the class doesn’t already know who the one kid who failed was they’re sure as hell going to do their best to find the fuck out.

I’m not doing this.


Fuck you.  And fuck that.

I put my hand up and said, out loud where everybody could hear me, that I don’t like this goddamn job enough that I’m going to humiliate kids in order to keep it.  And then I left the meeting.

I don’t know what happened after I left; I don’t know if there were further riots or not.  But I’m putting my foot down on this one:  I will not do this.  Not under any fucking circumstances, period.  And if they don’t like it they can fire my two-time Teacher of the Year ass and I’ll go to a district that isn’t fucked in the fucking head.  Or just get the hell out of this demeaning fucking career altogether and leave the public school system to fucking rot like the Indiana public clearly wants it to anyway.  Fuck it.  My job isn’t worth this.  No.

In case you can’t tell, it was a long fucking day.