When you’re trying to project confidence but on the inside you’re screaming

Had a job interview today.

A two hour job interview today. Not, like, interviews with multiple people in a row that totaled up to two hours. One interview, with one person, that lasted two hours.

I was interviewing for two different jobs– math at two different grade levels, basically, so it’s not like the questions were going to be different and that’s why the interview ran long– but I got the feeling that the principal was definitely zeroing in on one grade instead of the other by the end of the interview. Which is fine. I’ve been teaching middle school long enough that grade levels don’t really matter all that much to me any longer, although I do have a preference for one curriculum over the other, for whatever that might be worth. I gotta feel like if you sit down with me for two damn hours then you’re probably pretty serious about bringing me into your building; a red flag at any point could have ended the interview a whole hell of a lot sooner.

And here’s the thing, right? If you’ve been around here for a while, or if you’ve read Searching for Malumba, you know good and damn well that if you ask me questions about education you’re gonna get answers. I’m better at talking coherently about classroom praxis and education in general than I am at almost everything else. Which means that I interview really goddamn well for teaching jobs, and the number of teaching jobs where I’ve made it to the interview stage and not been offered a job is frankly pretty damn small.

At any rate, I think it’s probably reasonable to believe that I’m gonna get offered a job at this school in a couple of days. Not guaranteed, certainly, because shit happens, but I think it’s reasonable, especially since I was applying for two different jobs. Which will mean that I’ll be back in the classroom this fall.

Which I have … mixed feelings about, as you well might imagine, if you’ve been around here for a while. And those mixed feelings made honestly answering questions like why are you applying for this job a bit more … I dunno, fraught than they might be? Because I really do have mixed feelings about the idea of leaving my current position. It’s just that after being placed irregularly into a classroom over the last half of last year, at least until ILEARN hit and then my life went to hell, I’m pretty goddamn certain that I’m gonna be teaching this year on at least a part-time basis whether I want to or not, and I’m absolutely going to get asked to write lesson plans for classes I’m not teaching, and, well …

Here’s the thing: something has to change, one way or another, because of reasons having really nothing at all to do with me or the job I actually did. I know where I’m at right now is probably not tenable, so there are a bunch of available moves that represent improvement over my current situation, and one of these two jobs would do that. And … that’s basically how my answer went? That, honestly, returning to classroom teaching wasn’t ideal to me, but that if that was what was going to happen anyway (and I think it will,) I would rather be in control of the where and the when and the what than where I think I’m gonna be if I don’t make some changes.

And, well, the principal talked to me for another hour and forty minutes, so it must have been an acceptable answer, I guess.

We’ll see how it goes.

In which I am in the presence of excellence

Just a quick note today again, because while I made it to work today and got through the entire day I’m still feeling pretty shit: we had a parent-teacher conference today. It was prescheduled, mind you, as it’s the time of year for these things, so it’s not like it was one of those YOU MUST COME IN NOW AND DISCUSS YOUR CHILD WITH US sorts of things.

I think the highest compliment I can possibly pay to my son’s teachers is that they make me miss teaching. I mean, in general the quality of the staff at Hogwarts is pretty damn high, but I am going to seriously miss him being in first grade with the teachers that he has, and– and I say this without even knowing the names of the second grade teachers, so I could very well be wrong– we are going to seriously have to prepare for a letdown next year, because there’s just no way he’s lucky enough to get people this good in charge of his education two years in a row.

I mean, yeah, it didn’t take that long of having a non-education job for me to miss being around education and around kids, but moments in the past two or three years where I missed teaching itself are vanishingly rare. And every time I sit down with these folks I spend the entire conversation thinking yes, that’s exactly how you should handle that and yes, that’s exactly what I tried to do on my best days in this job and yes, that’s exactly the sort of mind-set I want you to have about my son, who is smart as hell but who is manifestly not perfect and absolutely has any number of things that we want him to try harder and do better with.

And it’s every single conversation I have with them. I just hope he realizes how fucking lucky he is. I wish everyone had teachers this good.

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.

Another thing I just realized

5104389f26c12.image_.jpgMy kid’s school is cancelled tomorrow– not because of the weather, which is supposed to be absolutely outstanding, but because nearly 40% of the students in some grade levels and a not-inconsiderable number of teachers and subs have been sick lately.  The email from the principal named no less than four different diseases that had been running rampant in the building lately, and apparently the janitorial staff will be boiling the building tomorrow.

It’s probably good that this happened, because the email also made reference to the “four-day weekend” that the kids were about to have, which made both my wife and I realize that he actually does have Monday off, which neither of us had really realized because we don’t have any idea how the hell to check a school calendar.

So here’s the cool part: I started the Current Occupation in June, right?  And it’s mid-February now, as insane as that might feel.  During all that time I have not missed a single day of work due to illness.  I’ve come home and died a couple of times, and had some less-than-fantastic days, but I haven’t really been sick in months.  And that’s after fifteen years of missing, usually, around a day a month every single year I was teaching.  I was rarely if ever able to carry sick days across from one year to the next and had to dip into the sick bank twice.  And not one illness worth any serious consideration since June, despite constant contact with the public throughout that time.

Add that to the pile of reasons I don’t miss teaching, I guess.

Friday grab bag (ALSO: 1500th post!)

  • 510Cy7ZwEHL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_This is my 1500th post.  The blog came into existence in June of 2013, so that’s a rather ridiculous number.  Clearly the place was appropriately named.  I’m closing in on my 200,000th pageview, so I probably ought to start thanking people every day for bothering to pay attention to me at all.
  • Speaking of thanking people for paying attention, how about a free book?  It’s #SilerSaturday again tomorrow, and Skylights is the book of the week.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how it does, since this is the first time it’s ever been free other than a handful of little contests and giveaways.  It’ll probably go free sometime late tonight and will be free until the wee hours of Sunday morning.
  • It hit me today that I don’t really have any funny or interesting stories from school yet.  The dynamics of my classes haven’t really changed all that much, although I’m starting to get the afternoon dialed in a bit better (don’t tell them.)  I just don’t have anything memorable to say yet.  That’s really surprising.
  • That said, our district has in its infinite wisdom decided that on Monday and Tuesday of next week every math, language arts and special ed teacher in seventh and eight grade in the entire district is going to be at a training, and that furthermore all teachers new to the district should also be at a training on Tuesday.  These two things overlap, of course.  How people are expected to attend both is an open question, and the fact that we appear to have no subs at all even on a normal day means that they may as well cancel school.  We have 22 people scheduled to be out on Tuesday, plus one of the administrators, and that only because they rioted and insisted that one of them be allowed to stay behind.  Yeah.  They thought they were pulling 22 teachers and both of the administrators.  From every middle school in town, plus the high schools.  You understand why I don’t want to work for these people any longer.
  • We played a fun game at lunch, called “Try to come up with a way for this plan to be more stupid than it is.”  No one won.
  • Our zoo acquired four new tigers this week.  Four!  Omg zoo zoo zoo zoo NOW.  I’m going this weekend tigers tigers TIGERS!!!
  • I was all psyched about starting to watch Dr. Who this season.  Apparently Dr. Who was not all psyched about me starting to watch it.  Doing it anyway, show!  Screw you!
  • That’s all I can think of.  Watch Sourcerer tomorrow for another Fear the Walking Dead post, though.  And remember: Skylights is free on #SilerSaturday for the first time!  It’s a great book!  Check it out!