Fifth year – second semester – almost free

Monday February 2nd,

I must be either pre-menstrual or seriously depressed. I just want to cry all day. Maybe I’m depressed and psycho and unable to keep a job. And I don’t know why. Three little words hurt me so much. A stupid girl who has been failing all year and is a mess of a student in all her classes was mad today. I felt badly later that I acted stupid too but 8th period Spanish class talking all the time and I was trying to get them to be quiet and they wouldn’t shut up and then Sunshine had to ask to go to the bathroom twice and I said no. I ripped her pass I was so mad. So she yelled “Fattie” and I said she had a referral and later she deserved a real one for hitting and saying “fuck” to another student.

 

I just wanted to cry. Tired of kids verbally acting up, not listening and, obviously, I’m an awful teacher since I can’t control them. I really dread every day knowing I totally suck when I really shouldn’t be there at all and I should have taken a risk and taken the job at the after school program and been the boss like they wanted. God must be punishing me for taking the wrong job just for the so-called money, which doesn’t even help with my overdrawn bills or groceries.

 

I was hoping I’d open my email and find an interview but I know my skills are nothing here with all these other videographers in the near by town. It just hurts so much that I didn’t follow my heart – just went for the money that never lasts anyways.

 

Today there was a new 7th grade Language Arts teacher. Who did she replace?  Did someone else leave? Like I want to. They don’t really need me.  They just need a body.

 

February 3rd

Another snow day off. But this time I find out after I took a shower!  I  went back to sleep and still felt tired.  I am eternally tired.

 

I wrote one paragraph of my book. I dream of staying home and writing and exercising but in reality I don’t do that. I just wallow in pity about my sucky job.

 

February 4th

I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to face 8th period Spanish class where I acted so weird the other day. I miss the school system in the Midwest where we’d switch classes by now for the second semester. I don’t like suffering with these kids all year. It’s amazing how a few kids make a difference. That negative girl Puttanesca left 2nd period plus the do nothing and wander around the room kid – DJ left too, and that class went from my worst to the best but DJ and now that loud mouth kid from 1st period, Wild Child, switched to the last hour. I guess I should’ve known it was the lost cause class when these kids transferred in and it’s always been the lowest performing Spanish class. At least January went by and now that’s one less month. I am going to the media job fair on Saturday and that’s my goal – get another job.

 

February 5th

I had a dream where I was going out with actor Matt Damon. We went to a little café and talked with Jennifer Lopez about tabloids. I glanced at my big mug on one of the magazine covers and was worried.  Matt Damon said I shouldn’t worry about it and he loves me the way I am but I was distrustful of him especially when he didn’t even know which car was his.  I wondered if I was being set up to be humiliated. And I wondered about my husband and where was he and why Matt didn’t notice that I was married. The alarm woke me up. Is it because I feel exposed by writing an email to Sunshine’s parents about what she said to me about being fat? And I called and left messages for other parents of kids that are failing.   Am I worried about the attacks now from parents and the students?

 

I really don’t like this school and community but I’m not the only one – one teacher left!  Up and left!  She had the guts to do what I dream about, well my daydreams, not my Matt Damon dreams. But her husband makes money and she didn’t need the job. She also has been teaching 30 years. Wow. And they drove her out with their negative evaluations and non-support. One teacher said they figured she wasn’t going to stay because she lived an hour away so they attacked her. Sounds similar to me – trying to attack and get rid of me.  So now I can just coast, give a frick about noise or discipline and just say, “well you want me out so I’ll just enjoy my paycheck”. Of course that’s not totally possible.

 

Yesterday the Language Arts kids were horrible and we needed one of the assistant principals twice!  Still didn’t stop some kids from ripping up a picture of my son and putting it in the picture frame all ripped up. Then dropping another picture so the frame broke. Teaching is so hard. We should get paid more than doctors. Or at least get the same respect.

 

Last night I just lay around and watched TV. Too burnt out to move!

 

February 6th

Yesterday at work I thought it is okay to hate work because at least I have a nice social life – unlike before in theMidwest. I was so bored there and had no pals or anything to do outside of work.

Yesterday I wasn’t nervous as I was observed because a) I don’t care and b) it was only thecountySupervisorofReadingand Language Arts which made me mad – do I have to do it all over again since Dr Principal wasn’t there? And I did a reading lesson that I had planned just for Dr Principal! Apparently she had a tooth problem and didn’t show up. Whatever.

 

Another supervisor from the county. A new bureaucrat on the scene. Never met her before today, even though she and everyone else should have really been helping to teach me how to teach Language Arts all along.  What are these administrators and bureaucrats paid to do anyway? Isn’t it to help the students learn?

 

Febraury 9th

One of the assistant principals reviewed my lesson plan and said:

 

Your Spanish lesson plans reflect:

An attempt to address different learning styles through the group work stations

Opportunities to activate prior knowledge and for independent practice

 

Your lesson plans do not reflect:

Anticipatory sets

Direct instruction for new information

Guided practice

Assessment

Closure

 

Suggestions:

Your lesson plans must include assessment and anticipatory sets

Presentation of new concepts

Guided practice

And closure

 

You may want to include more details about each of the station activities to give a clear picture of what students will be learning and doing. This will also help to see how well the lesson components meet the objective.

 

An email was sent a few days later for me to get a copy of “The Spanish Essential Curriculum Guide.” This district was really together on the communication front, obviously!  Sending me the county Spanish guidelines now that the year was over half way through!

February 10th

Yesterday I woke up at 6:20 in the morning and somehow made it to work early!  I rushed through. Work was okay – just let the kids do their work and I sat at the computer. Ah!

 

But that last Spanish class is awful. The kid that bothers me the most isn’t the loud mouth, or the farting kids, or the emotional girl but the girl whose mother came in to make sure she gets an A.  I knew she’d be trouble. Now she’s always rolling her eyes and mocking the rules and is being argumentative and, of course, won’t take responsibility for her own talking and mischief. I don’t want to call home because I have a feeling her mother will try to bully me. And she’s a teacher. They are the worse – just expecting their kids to be perfect and not like these “problem” kids. Anyways last night I tutored the school tutor’s son since his last period class of Spanish is a wreck at the high school. So it’s not just my last class of the day. He was nice.  I like teenagers one on one but in a group they are terrors! 

 

Later that year my son started “acting up” at his Montessori preschool. I took it seriously and told him to respect his teachers, in front of the teacher. They did say they were repeating the lessons and he was bored, but I wanted him not to be a problem like the kids I was having a problem with. So, I guess some teachers try to get their kids to behave, but the truth is, once the kid is in the classroom, they are on their own, no matter who the parent is.

 

February 11th

Yesterday I was tired at work – physically and emotionally. I just don’t care anymore. It’s like being a soldier – seen and been through too much. 8th period was easy because I just give them a handout and let them do the work and fail on their own. That snotty girl with the teacher mother got more upset when I told her and two other kids to re-take a test because they are all exactly the same, surprisingly so. I can’t stand the snobby type.

 

But I was more bothered by something else – race tensions between students and teachers. I hear the kids accuse teachers of being racist. I hear them say bad things happen to them because they are black. The victim mentality is sad because it just makes people stuck. But now I have a feeling I’m being accused of it.

 

I was frustrated in Language Arts yesterday. Loud Mouth wouldn’t shut up – Loud Mouth and Loud Mouth’s advocate talk and talk loudly, walk out everyday to go to the bathroom and are generally rebellious and horrible with me and the teacher’s aide. I said to Loud Mouth’s face that I want her out of my class (she’s white). But later I was upset to see a new girl being embarrassed by LaToya – another rebellious type and won’t do anything in my class kid. And I said to her and her cooperative learning group, “You are the group that does the least amount of work in this class.”

 

I hadn’t even realized that all the kids happened to be black in that group so later I realized they probably went to the counselor, (black too), to say I’m racist. And the worse part is the counselor never tells me anything – only takes students’ and parents’ words as gospel and tells the principal.  I hate the lack of communication in this school. They complain about discipline problems when we really know they originate from the neighborhood conflicts. We have tough kids mixed with college bound kids. And the administration divides, isolates, blames teachers, and lets parents whine and dictate. It’s pathetic. And I know it’s not just me – that other Language Arts teacher is frustrated and another walked out. On the new listserv I joined there are lots of job openings. Set me free!  But I also think I can survive because I just don’t care anymore. I like hanging out by the computer and giving worksheets. Why should I care anymore?  The school broke my passion – what was left of it.

 

For the record, some of my best students in this class and in Spanish were black.  But, unfortunately in this school of mixed black and white, most of the black students didn’t want to “act white” and to them, being black meant not listening to teachers or doing class work and homework.  This is common in schools with mixed races but less so in all black schools, so I’ve heard.

 

February 12th

Yesterday was actually incident free. Amazing. I talked to the teacher who replaced the one who left. She just graduated with an elementary school degree. Wow!  She’s trying to be tough but sees how hard it is with big classes where half are behavior problems and calling home does nothing.

 

February 13th

Yesterday went smoothly. I didn’t even notice when Language Arts was noisy because they were on task – we were playing jeopardy. The problem is they read silently for fifteen to twenty minutes next door in Mrs. Braggar’s class and we disturb the suffering honor roll kids. It’s just disgusting!  They need more doors and stronger walls because I hear other classes on the few occasions we are quiet too. Also these kids are younger and some of the cultural background is louder. I just don’t care.

 

When the countySupervisorof English, Foreign Language, and ESL came to talk with me she was actually pretty nice.  She said she was here anyways on that fateful January 13th day and that Dr. Principal had asked her to drop in on my class. Yeah, right. I still think it had to do with my evaluation and getting more “evidence” against me.  Plus now I know that there is another county supervisor for English or Language Arts for this grade level, and I’m the only foreign language teacher in the building, and there are no ESL teachers, so why else would she have been in the building except for Dr. Principal calling her here. 

 

She said five years of me teaching is still the beginning a teaching career.  Yep, but for me, it’s the end.

 

Is reading quietly for 20 minutes really a good use of a school’s time?  Maybe since kids only watch TV, play video games, or do organized activities after school and few read anymore. Just reminds me that “best teaching strategies” is somewhat of an oxymoron when the only way they test these things are in traditional schools where kids are “forced” to learn something at the teacher/state/country’s pace, not their own. 

 

February 15th

Yesterday was worse than Christmas with all the candy and wound up kids. I just yell and don’t care anymore that I tell them I’m sick of their behavior.  So my kids have Fs and don’t do anything. Stupid school that is so anti-teacher instruction where I can’t do my story telling in Spanish which is about input but the trend in education these days is output, which is fine for most topics but not all. Whatever – it’s easier for me.

 

February 16th

I had a nightmare where Mrs. Braggar took over my directing of the play Annie because I’m bad at discipline and I yelled at her and the school.

 

I was a bad classroom teacher but was actually pretty good as a drama coach after school.  One teacher said my production of Romeo and Juliet was one of the best theater productions she had ever seen. The principal in the Midwest asked me to take over the after school productions after the music teacher had a hard time (again not her field or studies but somehow that is part of their music licensure).  Our production of Annie was great and when this middle school did the same production it was horrible – and they had more students and resources than we did in the Midwest.  I know where my talents lie – creativity. Even as a public school student I was frustrated on how creativity  is not honored in the classroom very often, at least not after elementary school.

 

 

February 19th

Yesterday I did it. I finally turned in my rebuttal letter. And it felt good. I really don’t care anymore and really don’t like Dr. Principal (and the counselor). I like one of the vice principals but he doesn’t seem to do much – yesterday three girls skipped my class and he didn’t tell me what the consequence is for them. (In the Midwest the school was so small that it was almost impossible for kids to skip – we knew all the kids and where they were supposed to be, but here with so many kids and different lunches, it was easy to skip class.)

 

Anyways Dr. Principal was finally around so I asked if she turned in my evaluation since I never signed it. She said that was my responsibility and just back date it. She treated me like dirt so I felt like she’s a jerk and deserves my letter on her record, along with that other teacher quitting. Shows that it’s not just me.

 

I also was mad at her earlier when I saw her walk by. I was trying her methods again in Language Arts – checking portfolios. The kids weren’t doing their work instead they were throwing things, throwing their stupid cups and decorations (they ruined all of them). And she walked by when my 6th period was doing their work and talking a bit which wasn’t too bad. But she gave a mean look. I thought I didn’t like the principal last year but at least you could talk with her and clear some things up.  I’ve never disliked a boss so much until now. We only have to suffer together four more months. Maybe what the janitor told me the other day is right – Dr. Principal is on a power trip.  Feels that way.

 

So I put in my letter for my file and in the awful case that I have to teach again. But I feel like I am kicking the corpse of any desire to teach teenagers in public school. I thought Middle School would be fun with Spanish story telling and it was till this system made it clear that the “kids can’t handle it”, “my class is too loud,” and now they only do the textbook and the High School wants them ingrained in the book and ready for Spanish Two.  Well they can do the bookwork and all my creative energies are now elsewhere – not in lesson plans.  Maybe I should’ve never gone into teaching because I wrongly thought I could be creative in teaching lessons but the public school is all about squashing creativity. Anyways I came home feeling tired and that same conflict about having to work where I hate and being the breadwinner.

 

 

February 20th

I come home completely tired and worn out from work.  And yesterday I was out of the loop again. This school is horrible at communication.  I missed Tuesday’s meeting about the state standardized test (because I had the day off for doctor and official appointments.) So I was off on doing the state standards practice test yesterday. At least I learned during practice. I talked to one of the vice principals and she told me that teachers could  lose our licenses if we mess up one little part on the real state test.  It’s tempting (to mess up on purpose to get fired) but I shouldn’t shut a door that hard! 

 

I’m frustrated how I always get burned by not knowing what is going on – some mornings there’s a meeting, sometimes not, or a one time notice, no emails to tell you about a meeting – even getting email is a long process (super slow, no broadband here!)  The school in the Midwestsure had it a lot more together. (And the sad thing is this school lied to parents and the community calling itself a technology school so the white parents wouldn’t freak out when they changed the district and added more black students.  Truth is my Language Arts class had no real access to computers, and if so, it was only for typing  programs, whereas in the Midwest, all the teachers had cell phones, fast computers, and plenty of computer access for students.  Plus filmmaking programs on the computers and plenty of TVs, music, etc. Real technology, not fake propaganda to ease the racial tension which no one would discuss in this community.)

 

ButMidwestor not, anywhere you go – teaching sucks.  And I hate the fact that I feel stuck – only thing I can do for the most money.  I guess I gotta bite the bullet and be paid less to get out of teaching. I need to apply for other jobs.  I don’t think I can handle this queasiness and stress and the student monsters – they were crazy after the practice test!

 

February 21st

I just got out of the shower bursting with ideas for my teacher book and wrote them down.  I gotta keep at it. It’s my only escape from this purgatory.  I’m like a convict – being judged by my peers. Yesterday the countySupervisorof Language Arts and Readingpopped in to watch my Language Arts class. I told her I’m a Spanish teacher and then continued to read a book to the students that they don’t like. Of course Loud Mouth kept talking and acting out. I really can’t stand her.  Then there was chaos and I couldn’t even find my lesson when we divided off for the kids to go to their separate rooms. (To make the class more manageable, the teacher’s aides would bring groups to another room to work on their level reading activities.) Then it was just me and a few kids and they still were off task – like always. We read more of the book round robin and I pointed out stuff and we discussed some stuff. Then Mac and Cheese (as I like to call the duo) still talked and didn’t pay attention and she took Cheese in the other room to ask him stuff. Oh my Goshness!  The kid with five percentage (out of 100%) for a grade, who does nothing even when you nag him. She asks him about the book???? And the kids complained about the book but it’s what the Instructional Resource Teacher said I should use. I just felt like this county is so evil. I do lower level books because I have a lower level class.  I do as I’m told in a field I know nothing about and get totally burned.

 

Then it got worse. 8th period was good because they wanted to watch the Spelling Bee which the wicked witch next door (Mrs. Bragger) told them to watch earlier in her Language Arts class. So we turned the TV on then off  because the spelling bee for the county had not begun yet.   It was exciting watching some of my Spanish students, and one from the class was a finalist. But just as it ended and I was having the students switch plazas (working tables, since Dr. Principal told me they should work in groups, I gave it a Spanish name – plazas), guess who came by- the evil prison Guard – Dr. Principal Apparently one of my students walked out into the hall to welcome the spelling bee students back into class. Dr. Principal came in yelling at her for being out in the hall. Then she stayed in my room just as the chaos began. Kids took someone else’s plaza/table.  Kids wanting to go to the bathroom or for water. I told the sweet girl who is fluent in Spanish not to ask to go bathroom while the” jefa “ (boss) was there in the room. But she wouldn’t leave. She never left!  Poor sweet bilingual girl never got to pee, but it was nice of her to go along with my Spanish plea.

 

The kids got settled and most got to work. I even said to Dr. Principal we just finished watching the Spelling Bee and she said meanly “There’s twenty minutes left of class.”

 

I was like “I hate you! Leave my room!” 

 

She hates me and vice versa. I don’t see what we can do. She squashed me in November with that ridiculous Spanish Inquisition and now it’s her problem to deal with a burnt out teacher that doesn’t care and lets her kids run wild and ruin her precious BS discipline policies (which they’ve switched a few times already this school year which is the kiss of death. Choose one policy, bad or good, and stick with it or the kids know that it’s ridiculous and that you’ll change with pressure). She had one teacher leave already and I want to also.  But after crying and taking a walk with my husband, he reminded me not to fall into her trap – we need the money and benefits. She can’t make me go – I’ll just enjoy my paycheck.

 

The book, chosen by the county that the bureaucrat told me to use in Language Arts was supposed to be interesting to these kids because the character  in the book has ADHD, but they still found it dumb. The only good option that the kids actually liked  to read was the sports page of the daily newspaper.  They loved that.

 

February 22nd

How did I get so moody? Is it early menopause?  Stress? Or am I just plain nuts?  The grief process because I lost my dog? I felt so depressed at Grad school. I had horrible thoughts. And seeing all the people walking their dogs made me cry as I drove through town. I just feel so sad and trapped. I saw a friend before our Grad class and she said, “I’m sorry” when I told her about work.  She said maybe I’m not burnt out but in the wrong place/situation and maybe Dr. Principal and I could just call a truce. We’ll see.  I realized at lunch that I can’t quit till after my husband gets settled into a new job, whenever he gets hired. Then I could be free or just survive one day at a time by writing books and doing my Grad school homework.  Sometimes it seems I’m more creatively productive out of spite and as a reaction to jobs I hate. So I better let it work for me to justify why I made this contract with the devil.  I kinda feel like a snake – blind and in pain as I change skins. Leave the secure hours and paycheck of teaching behind for my creative dreams. I feel a breakthrough coming soon. I just hope it’s before my breakdown.

 

February 23rd

My husband laughed when I said one good thing is if I’m pregnant (we’re kinda trying) is maybe I can get disability and get off of work – if I get preclampsia or complications again. I doubt it, but I would be worried if I was pregnant now, about the baby developing with all the stress and me standing up all the time in this job.

 

I didn’t finish grading Spanish tests but I don’t care about that. Work is my last priority. My email friend told me to get to know Dr. Principal as a person.  Might as well since we’re stuck for four months. I don’t know if I’ll care or things will get better but I gotta hang on for the paycheck for awhile. And I just have to admit I’m a failure as a teacher but something better and should be coming, I hope.

 

Good suggestion but unlike other jobs, teaching is very isolating. It’s hard to get to know anyone, especially this  principal who was always out of her  office. In the Midwest one principal, the greatest one I ever had ever, ate lunch with us in the lounge. That’s the only time you really get to know each other – the fifteen to thirty minutes in the lounge, or the department office if it’s a bigger school like in California.  But I couldn’t stand Mrs. Braggar so I stopped eating lunch in the lounge – this school had so many lunches that there were only a handful of teachers eating lunch in that lounge and my handful included her.

 

February 24th

At work I was busy with all the standardized tests and everything. Now today I just have to stay awake during dumb standardized tests. Lots of caffeine and no potty breaks. Torture!

 

February 26th

Yesterday was harsh. Ash Wednesday and I couldn’t even find a church service – everyone goes on Shrove Tuesday here in this weird town. I was mad at the Big Guy – why am I suffering so much?  But I know Jesus suffered more and I’ve gotten through bad times before so I know I have the inner strength to get by. And I know God is good and doesn’t want me to suffer. But it sure is hard. These horrible No Child Left Behind tests are brutal!  (Ironically I get religious here when rumor has it Bush called the law “left behind” after the rapture novels with the same name.) Three hours with snarly teenagers.  They can’t talk, read, nothing but do the test. Purgatory!  And that first period sure has some mean personalities – Everaldo, the loud fluent speaker who won’t shut up, Sheniqua who talks to herself and was recommended for Alternative Learning Center, Verna who says rude things, Charles who always wants to argue and comes in late everyday, Kelly who plays dumb and copies off of Everaldo, the Drifter who is always in trouble, and Max who easily gets angry and starts pouting. Ahhh!  Three hours with them!  Even Dr. Principal couldn’t get them quiet and their attention at the end of the period when she came to collect their tests. 

 

But I’m disappointed in the school – they are going to ignore the offenses that took place to the standardized test. Just as well I guess cause it’d get us in trouble, not the kids but the school.  Politics! 

 

And yesterday began with another “I have to talk to you” morning from Dr. Principal.  This time because a precious “honors” student got a referral from the sub yesterday while I was busy preparing the standardized tests in another room. (Everaldo said she’d get out of the referral– he knew her mother would call angrily)  Well she did get out of it but they are mad at me because I accused her of cheating even though I already told her I was sorry when I re-looked at her test and saw it was just Kelly and Everaldo’s that were identical, not hers. Her mother thought I embarrassed her in front of the whole class but I kept it discreet – I called her over to my desk and quietly told her to retake the test. It was her “honors” daughter who said she wouldn’t retake the test and told her friends that I had accused her of cheating and then Everaldo told the whole class about it – he’s always talking loudly. Dr. Principal said I had to tell the student that I’m sorry, again, and tell the whole class I’m sorry that I wrongly accused a child. Yeah, right. I did talk to the student later and she didn’t seem to care (all controlling mother, huh?  It’s not the child who’s upset, but the precious parents’ egos. I’ve been down this “cheating accusation” road before.)

 

When I mentioned the sub was there yesterday, Dr. Principal said, “You should always be there during an assessment.” I was used to people giving tests since it’s hard to have lessons during a sub in Spanish (and I gave tests for other teachers when I subbed in theMidwest) Whatever!  Whatever I do she’s there to tell me how awful a job I did. 

 

She later came into my room to tell me to think how I’d feel if it was my son who was embarrassed. Again, I didn’t say anything about cheating in front of the class, the kids did it themselves. And she said for the future in my teaching career to talk to the principal first. Whatever. I got the message – kids can do all they want – cheat, destroy property, but if they are out of control it’s really the teacher’s fault for lack of discipline (not the administrators for backing down to bossy parents). No wonder I’m burnt out.  No morality in the schools. I just came home and cried and cried and went to sleep at seven in the evening – didn’t even want to talk about how I hate my job and life these days.

 

A few weeks later, this mother came into talk and laughed how her daughter had some mean name for the sub – like Ping-Pong head or something.  Thinking about it now makes me realize how parents like this encourage disrespect of the schools, their staff, and ultimately any of the rules they do try to enforce.  And she did get out of the referral for whatever the sub wrote her up on  – maybe, ironically, it was disrespect and talking back. Wonder where she ever could have learned that?  Not dear old mom? 

 

Later when my son started getting time outs and not listening to his teacher at preschool, I had harsh talks with him, made him apologize to the teachers, and told him no matter what, I will always side with the teachers. Teachers do make mistakes, but isn’t it best in the long run to listen to what they say and not always bail your children out?  The larger lesson is worse- no rules, no respect, do what you want, cheat, embezzle  money and go to jail a la Enron.

 

HERE IS THE PRECIOUS DAUGHTER’S REFERRAL

Looks like it happened the day the sub was giving the test that I accused her of cheating so trouble was brewing anyways.

2-24

First period Spanish

“Student refused to do assigned work after repeated requests to begin working.”

Signed, Justin – (the substitute aka Ping Pong Head)

Consequence: one day in-school suspension

 

February 27th

Thank Goodness it’s almost the weekend.  This horrible workweek is passing. Yesterday was better 1) because the kids knew the drill about the test, 2) Dr. Principal wasn’t hanging around my room the whole time and had no horrible things to say about some other horrible I’ve done, and 3) I wrote down what rude things the kids say and described each of their personality and worked on my teacher tell all book as they took the test. And I didn’t tell them what time the testing time would end since it was up in the air anyways. I even put in a movie and gave them an assignment. They didn’t like that but that was easier than chaos.

 

The rest of the day the kids watched movies and I even did my Grad school homework. But as I was planning for my observation next week I realized it’s not planned for Spanish class but for Language Arts!  She’s totally trying to see me at my worse. She’s from hell!  I don’t even have a lesson planned. And I’ll have no time to work on it since we have to do a meeting after school about the state math test.

 

So at home I called the Union Rep and we’ll have her at the meeting tomorrow (the pre-observation meeting where they look at your class plans). She said that once Dr. Principal knows I’m not here next year she’ll be too busy to bother me anymore. I hope so. My days are so less stressful without her. My email friend says I should try to win her over with humor and asking about her life but in teaching you only see the bosses when there’s a problem – a two minute talk here and there and big staff meetings – that’s it. Or pass in the hall. Otherwise it’s just you and the kids. Rotting away.

 

At home my son was creating imaginary games as always. My husband says our son has a noble heart like me. I hope he won’t get as hurt as I do.

 

WHAT I WROTE DURING THE STATE STANDARD TEST:

 

Inferno is adolescence

 

Morals really taught in the schools – it’s all about my kid, my grade, me, me, me.

 

What are they really learning?

 

What I see of your precious student:

 

Everaldo:

He puts his face under his shirt.

He throws tacos (folded papers in the shape of tacos) and candy at other students.

He doesn’t raise his hand ever and yells out comments or questions.

He’s impatient.

He says “You’re racist” if I don’t answer his question immediately even though I have ten other students with questions.

He lets students cheat off of him since he’s fluent in Spanish then gets mad when I accuse him of cheating.

He talks when he’s told to be quiet.

He gets angry when he doesn’t have an A.

At the end of the year he won the award for outstanding model of a student.  I think there would’ve been some other better examples.

 

Drifter:

He wears huge combat boots.

He can never stay in his seat or quiet.

He gets mad and curses.

Throws paper.

Argues with kids and teachers.

Spends each of his classed kicked out of the classroom for disrupting.

Can’t control anything he does.

Farts – loudly and disgustingly.

Doesn’t care about getting referrals.

Harasses girls.

He’s paranoid and just said, “You’re writing a letter to the principal!”

 

February 28th

My prayer was finally answered. It wasn’t how I expected but it worked for me. Yesterday morning I met with the Union rep and we waited for my pre-observation meeting. She said administrators wear down teachers all the time with their criticisms.  We were about to go in when Dr. Principal wouldn’t let her.  She said she talked to so and so and found out union reps were not allowed in so the Rep said she could since I had a negative evaluation but they went back and forth in front of everyone. Embarrassing!  The rep finally said I should just could go in and not talk about anything but the pre-observation.

 

Mostly the Supervisor forReadingand Language Arts talked and she gave some good suggestions. People who studied Language Arts can think of these things better then I can!  I was frustrated when she said on her visit to my class last week I had gone over “every detail “in the book.  I thought that was showing “pre-reading” and “during reading” strategies and all the BS I read about in those books Dr. Principal had me read on how to teach reading skills. I felt like I just can’t ever win.

 

I got out of there cause the kids were arriving (two hours late) and I just felt stressed – still no resolution or end in sight. 1st period were their nasty selves and Everaldo can’t get it through his head to raise his hand – he just yells out. Second period was fine as always, ever since Little Putanesca left.  But Language Arts was divided by lunch because of the two-hour delay schedule.  I told them Dr. Principal was going to be here on Monday and they’ll get candy for being good and I tried to practice a lesson similar to Mondays (which I whipped up right before my pre-observation meeting, since I was on the go all day yesterday.  Another Language Arts teacher who already read this stupid book leant me her old lesson plans. (At the pre-observation the Supervisor of Reading and Language Arts said I obviously now understand how to write a lesson plan and I felt half like I fooled them but half like they’ll just never understand – it isn’t my lesson, I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t like getting compliments on accomplishments that aren’t mine.)

 

Next I ran around all during lunch – doing the reading test with one of my Language Arts students since they, and I, can only do them during lunch, then getting newspapers ready for the second half of class that would be after lunch.   I saw the Instruction Resource Teacher and complained to her about my observation next Monday in between all these state tests and at the end of the quarter when grades are due. She said she’d keep her kids as long as possible. (By this time we divided the class into small groups for at least half of the long block period and she took the smartest kids.  I still think those who know this reading teaching stuff should have the tougher kids but she knew she couldn’t discipline them either)

 

Then the Language Arts students came back after lunch. They were all over the place and wouldn’t settle down; asking me questions, walking around the room, LaToya brushing someone’s hair, no one would get quiet. (Oh, at lunch the nice vice principal said we had to do something about the furniture in my room since these kids threw chairs on Mrs. Braggar’s precious walls in the room next door.  I told him I saw Mr. Destructo do it but he denied it.  At least the nice vice principal agreed to get him out of my class every day.) 

 

They were already wild about lifting those chairs as I got the computer ready only to find out I don’t have the computer program they promised for this class – all that work for nothing. They set up the computers during Winter Break and now we find out we can only do word processing. Again, this school is not technical at all even though they made buttons and a whole promotion to the community that they were.

 

Anyways they were wild and it looked horrible and that’s when Dr. Principal came by.  What made it worse was she talked to my Language Arts Teacher’s aide who at least knows what’s going on and is my ally.  When I watched them talking, in my mind I saw it all full apart. I saw my evaluation being scratched with words of disappointment and incompetence again!  I saw everything going to heck.  Worse I imagined me breaking and quitting or being fired and having no job offers or requests for interviews. I saw my son starving. I couldn’t hold it back anymore.  I could feel those tears coming again and I decided to share.

 

Once Dr. Principal left I took a picture of my son off of my desk, the one they didn’t tear up, and I told the kids I have something to say, something important and I’m going to be honest. My voice was cracking. I held up his picture.

 

I said “This is my son and if you don’t behave on Monday he is going to starve.  I’m going to be fired because of this class and we’ll have nowhere to live. Now, I’ve never been too harsh and you’ve been crazy but if you could just be good on Monday – that’s all I ask.”

 

I was crying as I imagined my son starving. They were quiet like I’ve never heard them.  They passed around his picture and looked intently at the child I told them they were going to kill.  I was crying. I didn’t really know what else to say so I just went on with the lesson. They were great and even LaToya was on task.

 

They read the book round robin as I continued to cry. I pulled myself together by the end of class only to cry more in the bathroom in between classes.  Then in the hallway on my way to my next Spanish class, I saw my Teacher’s aide and she rambled on about some event in the main office with the police arriving to get rid of a yelling parent. I asked what Dr. Principal talked to her about and it was about the chairs hitting the wall (they should be advocating for me not the veteran teacher next door).

 

Then she asked if I was alright and that question always makes me lose it. I started crying again. She told me to go to the bathroom and she’d sub my class. I just howled in the bathroom – praying for all this pain and entrapment to end. I got myself together – with just red eyes leftover. (Earlier I saw my Spanish class students talking to one of my Language Arts students in the hall and looking at me so they all stared at me as I walked in.)  I found the nice vice principal teaching a lesson on how adjectives go after the nouns in Spanish.  Funny sight. He actually stayed for most of the class and taught a whole lesson.  Interesting and they were so quiet. I guess that’s part of his job – jump in when a teacher loses it.

 

When he left Mano asked, in Spanish, how I was feeling and then more kids asked.  I said I was fine.  Peligrosa patted my back and said, “It’ll be okay”.  They are sweet kids.

 

Class ended and I went on the computer to email my husband about how I was feeling.  There was only one phone in the teacher’s lounge and it wasn’t very private at all. At least in the Midwest each teacher had a cell phone, and privacy.

 

Then Dr. Principal was at the open hall back door and asked if I was alright. I said I was and that I just wanted to tell her that morning that I’m not coming back next year and I just need a good recommendation so I can find work elsewhere.  She asked if we could talk without the union representative and I said sure. She said she never said my Spanish instruction was bad and that I misinterpreted the evaluation and that she hadn’t changed it to unsatisfactory. She asked about my past discipline and I said it was at smaller schools, high school kids don’t run around, and I only had a few minority kids who were quiet and from different cultures than African American culture.  She said she knows some of these kids are tough and she wouldn’t be able to come to work everyday if she had a class like my Language Arts (aha!  She does understand). 

 

She asked where I’m applying and that of course she’d write a good recommendation saying “I’m not cruel.”  I think she finally understood her effect on hyper-sensitive people like me. And I realized I built more into everything with all my imagination and self hate. She even said, “I’m sorry” as she left. Then, feeling finally understood, I cried quietly from relief and happiness.

 

So I do think it’s over. I’m not completely thought of as incompetent.  The pressure of bad write-ups is over. Now it’s just me and the kids.  The ironic thing is now I feel like I can care again and really teach – not retreat into my “leave me alone” shell. And the kids were spreading rumors like wildfire – even made a petition for me not to be fired and suggesting which teachers should be fired instead. 

 

Even Sunshine of 8th period hugged me. It was weird to have the world see my little meltdown.  But Language Arts saw the nitty gritty human side of me. For once they each saw their personal responsibility in that class. My husband and I picked up my son right away since his school called to say the power was out in their building. We enjoyed the Outback appetizer gift certificate that I won at the auction thing they had at the after school meeting since they knew we needed prizes from all this state standardized stress!

 

 Reading this again and writing it for this book makes me want to cry again.  Just seeing how much was going on and feeling that sense of pressure again – observation in a class that was horrible and out of my field, in between giving standardized test for the first time  which was more stressful than I ever imagined, and having to give reading tests during lunch (since I was now a Language Arts teacher too). Makes me remember how overworked teachers are – no time to relax!  We had meetings after school about the standardized tests so I had no time to plan for this observation.  Plus having to get grades ready is always a stressful time (then when they are posted kids complain and show you all the assignments that they swore they turned in – I learned that first year to put a stamp on them so they can’t just do the assignment weeks after it was really due, and then, parents calling to complain when they see the grade.)

 

Writing this  makes me realize how teachers are set up to fail, at least that’s how most feel – like failures. Wouldn’t it help kids to learn if the teachers felt they knew them, knew what they were doing, and were supported by their administrators and parents? Better yet, small classes, get to know the kids, and no administrators, just school secretaries!

 

I don’t know about you, but I feel like reading back.  The principal did say she would give me an unsatisfactory. She did insult my Spanish instruction. And now she was manipulative enough to make me feel like she understood me and made me start to blame myself and “self hate.” She was a true bully and a horrible manager of people and was manipulative.  At this moment, she is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.  But I didn’t figure that out till a few weeks later, as life went back to normal which meant horrible.

I also should point out that with my Drama background, I can be a little dramatic. I don’t think my son would have starved, but in my wild imagination that day, I thought he would.  He’s fine and even a bit chunky now!

 

March 4th

Getting these kids settled and into the state standardized test was horrible. But once they started the test it was okay. And the math part kept them busier.  I was bored and wrote to do lists. Anything to keep me awake. I felt guilty when I saw other teachers preparing real lessons after the test.  Yet they all left once we finished until someone in the hall made them all come back into my room since one class was still testing. They stayed only five to ten minutes, so  I didn’t feel baldy anymore about not having a lesson.  And they saw the warm up and groaned that they didn’t want to do anything. So a movie was perfect. And they love the black and white footage part of the film.

 

I got to relax at the computer and plan for the next real class after these horrible tests. I also checked out that film professor teaching job – they want 30 credits and I’ll only have 18-24 credits by summer’s end in that field.  Dr. Principal, when she picked up the tests, said to give her the information and she’ll write the recommendation for that job. I knew she’d be happier once she knew I wasn’t coming back!

 

March 9th

Yesterday work was fine – even Language Arts.  That is until 8th period. I was frustrated because some kids were talking and cheating on the Spanish quiz.  They wouldn’t quit talking for the lesson so I had them do it alone and corrected the answers on the board. One student was upset that I took his test after he asked everyone around him “what is “arbol”?  Sounds like cheating to me. He said he was gonna tell his Mom. Great.  More cheating problems. Seems easier to just let them cheat – it always causes problems if you catch them.  If Martha Stewart can cheat, then why can’t everyone else?  That’s what the message seems to be, especially when the parents get involved.

 

March 13th

I took the day off, then took lots of Dayquil and throat medicine to survive work.  Now this is what I wrote about the experience:

I didn’t feel much better yesterday and today my throat and ears are still bothering me. I should’ve gone to a doctor yesterday. Now I’m stuck till Monday. I even have a rash on my chest. What if it’s strep or scarlet fever?  And I was so tired yesterday. I played with my son a bit in his room but almost fell asleep. So I did go to bed and felt guilty – being sick and sleeping all the time. I don’t get to see my son at all. Work tired me out yesterday too. It was hard with a soar throat but nice that the kids welcomed me back. The adults are cold and awful and the main reason I hate the job. Only the “bad” teacher welcomed me back after being out sick. Otherwise one of the assistant principals left a message on my computer to leave detailed plans and class lists for the substitute teachers. I gave the class lists to the administrators the first week of school! They love to blame everyone else for their disorganization. Then one student thought the counselor; my arch rival, said they wouldn’t be ready for Spanish Two next year but the counselor could’ve meant just the kids who are failing my class anyways, not all the kids.

 

March 15th

I don’t want to go to work.  The medicines aren’t working that much. I went to the hospital, it is strep and the rash that kept growing is Scarlet Fever. The hospital staff were super nice and it didn’t take long. But today my throat still hurts, I have a headache and my son jumped out of bed and when I jumped after him I pulled a neck/back muscle. First the mental breakdown, now the physical.

 

 

 

March 16th

I felt so tired and out of it at work and wondered how I could just leave. My wish came true. Daycare called – my son’s neck glands were all swollen so I made him a doctor appointment and I left (after most of my Language Arts class which wasn’t so bad since lots of kids were gone). We went to the doctor’s office. We went in and he has strep too. Poor baby. At least we got his early and he doesn’t have to suffer like me. We got home and I was exhausted. I could sleep more but I’m tired of being sick – I want energy to be with my family.

 

Ironically, all this illness came from the one student who I truly did not like. Even all the ones who bothered me as a teacher, I really did like them all, except this one – Mr. Destructo.  He had strep throat a week or two before I caught it.  Maybe on some cosmic level he knew I didn’t like him and used chemical warfare.

 

 

March 19th

I’m feeling better with the medicine but still had a headache at work. The kids were terrible from the get go. In first period Spanish, Max blew up and pouted because I “accused” him of throwing paper on the floor. I’m sick of acting out kids but I know not to take it personally, I just don’t want to cave in. Then after class I went to the bathroom as I normally do, especially with the medicine giving me diarrhea lately. I came back and was telling my kids to sit down and do their warm-up when I heard a weird noise by Mrs. Braggar’s door. I realized it wasn’t normal loud talking but a fight so I tried to get over there but was blocked by the kids running to see the action. The science teacher got there and grabbed a girl from some other class but I had no way of knowing that since the rest were Mrs. Braggar’s students, not mine.  The science teacher yelled, “You’re hurting me.” Mrs. Braggar dealt with the girl from her class. That was the first time there has ever been a fight right outside of my room.

 

But what upset me was a minute later the science teacher slammed my door shut very angrily – like it was my fault! The girl went there specifically to fight, no one ever told me to stand there between classes, and it was the first fight there. How is it my fault? I’m so tired of this school not taking personal responsibility all the time. They always find a way to blame me.

 

Okay, fine, I got the hint. I’ll stand by the door now. No more peeing.  Mrs. Braggar said nicely before lunch that I should stand there so things like that won’t happen. It just pisses me off how she’s always the angel – it was her room, her student, but my fault.

 

The first year Social Studies teacher, who the administration loves, is in her room at the computer and she never gets blamed for anything. No one ever blames the kids. I guess that’s why they are “good” teachers and I’m burnt out and outta here.  I can’t take the blame; I can’t take the students, anymore. Each school is so different.Californiadidn’t even have hallways – everything was outside – the lockers and the cafeteria tables. TheMidwestdidn’t have hall duty in our one hallway, just lunch duty. And this school wants you to know how their crazy system works right away, without any orientation at all.

 

Plus if I was there, what could I do? At the beginning of the year, Dr. Principal said she doesn’t want us to get in, to let them fight and burn their energy not to grab the kids like the science teacher did. So I would’ve been blamed by the teachers again for not jumping in even though Dr. Principal said it was her policy for teachers not to get hurt (unlike the teachers who did get punched last year and when it made it to the newspapers, it made the school look criminal). It’s no win so, just like the “bad” students, I don’t care. I gave up long ago.

 

Language Arts was one of those shell shock days where I was just burnt, unable to deal. I think teachers are born, not made. And teachers are strong if they last enough to still care through all the bullshit.

 

March 20th,

Yesterday was nice to be away from the kids. But the teacher in service was such caca. The keynote speaker said the same stuff  I’ve heard since college – let them do things, so they will learn. Duh!  But the problem is implementing.  If I do have fun in my class the kids are “out of control” and too noisy for the precious English class next door. Besides they are doing lots of work now and it’s boring and they’re off task most of the time.

 

I was excited to go to the workshops but the first one on African American males didn’t teach anything – only that everyone has a part in changing the system that locks them away – even starting in school detention.  Scary statistics but I feel I can’t do anything at this school. And I realized this county’s system is run by old white people – some with big hairspray towers for hair. No wonder its all talk and nothing new about race issues.

 

The afternoon session was great and interesting and with a smaller group of mostly women. It was on prejudice. But again it wasn’t much help in the classroom. Daydreaming away in boring classes (just like students) I started to wonder – I have only two months left as a teacher, what do I really want to do and teach? In Spanish I’d like to have them reading the Spanish level one readers and to do more comprehensive input. In Language Arts – poetry and rap songs, acting,  making movies. I have no idea the purpose of Language Arts anyways and how it fits into the world except to spell, write, and possibly talk correctly.

 

The best part about today was that I got to go home for lunch and it was just me and my husband since baby was at daycare.  We can never afford a babysitter.

 

March 23rd

Yesterday at school I realized these kids started excited and interested like children and now they’re truly ready for high school – uninterested teenagers!  They are true 8th graders now ready for high school.

 

After school I tried to call that job that a friend fromGradSchoolset me up with but had to leave a message. I was surprised by my professor’s email.  She said to take the job because they work with all the film producers. I don’t know. I’ll have to talk to them and then decide. Because I’m almost at the best part of teaching – a paid summer. Two months of just being with my son, enjoying the pool here at the apartment – one reason I made my decision to move in here in the first place – for the pool!  I would’ve jumped at the job one or two months ago. Ironic!  I really don’t want to work outside the home.  I want to be my own boss and a good mother.

 

March 24th

I have such a big mouth. I hate it. I can’t keep my own secret.  I get angry and defensive and start saying dumb stuff, and, therefore, I suck as teacher. First period really has a bunch of jerks. Mrs. Braggar is even fed up with one – Drifter. He spends her class sitting in “time out” in my room since it’s my prep, and then in her room for time out when he’s supposed to be in the Social Studies class.  Hence, a drifter. Also in that first period, Everaldo is macho and thinks he runs the world. Some other kids yell out rude comments from time to time. And now there are seventeen students who don’t want to go onto Spanish 2 so they do nothing in my class! 

 

Everaldo and Drifter were more obnoxious than normal and were saying I never wrote any movies (when I was a filmmaker) and that I was going to cry and have a nervous breakdown again.  They said something about me being fired and I said I might take a job working with film producers. Of course they said they’d love that. I just dropped it. No use getting into it with mean, stupid hormone imbalanced middle schoolers. I’m so obviously not meant to be a teacher. I just need to keep my mouth shut and ignore all complaints and coast for 2 more months. 

 

But this morning I realized I made a big mistake. In the last hour Spanish class, Angel came up to me and said the Little Religious Ambassador said he’d pay her six pesos for a bathroom pass and he hadn’t paid up. This is the only kid that mentioned religion all year (except for the one girl in Language Arts whose parents opposed Harry Potter so we started to read it once she was on a prolonged absence.)

 

I called him over and asked him “What does the bible say about loans and keeping our word?”

 

He said “The bible?” 

 

He just laughed. I told him to keep his word and pay her. He gave her one peso.

 

Later I called him over and told him to act according to his beliefs and not seem like the stereotypical hypocritical religious leader. He barely listened and instead began arguing with a girl about something she said that weekend at his party. This morning I realized I shouldn’t have said that stuff because it is a public school.  I’ll apologize today.

 

I gave each student four bathroom passes at the start of each grading quarter and if they didn’t use them, which was the point, they got more of the fake pesos to buy things at the quarter’s end auction where they’d buy little Oriental Trading toys and candy and nachos.  The bathroom pass idea I got from a teacher in the Midwest. Like everything, I had mixed success with other’s ideas, especially with bribery for behavior methods.  I know kids have to use the bathroom but this was one way to curb the abuse of power of using passes just to get out of class. I hated being a police officer – managing bladders or second guessing if they were  full or not!

 

March 25th

Yesterday the kids were really quiet and good because I could barely talk.  They listened. Weird. Not much else happened yesterday. My throat still hurts and I’m congested. When will all this be over?  Seems like when I have a very stressful job, I get sick more often and severly. 

 

March 26th

My son has some childhood virus with bumps. Doc says he’ll be all right and it’s not Chicken Pox, just some “garden variety rash virus”. Makes me worry to see such an awful rash. But he has medicine to stop the swelling.

At home I made packages for the stupid school fundraiser that I have to help my homeroom/first period with.  All the packages were  wrong because I was rushed to eat lunch, pick them up, and make sure that the annoying assistant principal gets me a sub – and this school treats you like dirt if you need a sub.  I just wanted to take care of my son- I’m a mother first and a rash worries me.  Then my son broke one of the dumb fundraiser trinkets. Now I’ll have to  pay for this dumb thing from another stupid extra duty. I do everything wrong at this school and I hate it.

 

March 27th

At work the fundraiser mistake wasn’t a problem- I just had to re-order it. And turns out the box my son shook didn’t break anything. So all worries were gone. I’m less stressed at work now that they know I’m gone, there’s no pressure now. I can suck all I want.

 

March 30th

Yesterday work was easy – kids just need to do worksheets and study for midterm. My teacher assistant has to create and give a unit in Language Arts for her evaluation or licensure or something. She is freaking out about it– taking forever to create it and saying it won’t be ready or that we have to divide up the class. She knows a lot and is a good teacher but her indecisiveness drives me crazy. Luckily I’m good at making decisions. (They say teachers make more decisions daily than in most jobs, especially more than CEOs – so why don’t we get their salary?)

After school I made people laugh during another boring waste our time staff meeting.

I don’t think I’ll take that producer job. I want more time AWAKE with my son.

The video producer job was a graveyard position.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have taken it and started working in that corporate culture but soon something else helped seal the deal that there was no way I could have worked all night long.

 

March 31st

Hump day!  Half way through the week. Today will be heaven or hell with half of the kids on a field trip.  It’s crazy with all these schedule interruptions. Yesterday the girls had an assembly so the boys were horrible in first period (all the obnoxious kids doing burp and fart jokes as they did their worksheets) yet second period were angels.  What different worlds of boys!

 

April 1st

Yipee, March madness is over!  Yesterday was icky about teaching.  Of course Language Arts was hard with teachers gone and some kids, but not enough, gone. Spanish was fine. They loved watching the teenybopper movie I found off TV, which I find dumb but these tweenies are into. After school I only had time to drive and pick up my son and then go to the New Teacher’s dinner (either beginning teachers or teachers new to this district). It was hard to leave my son at home but I played with him a lot when I came home at 7:30.

 

The dinner was so-so but the discussions and pamphlets were more of the same old condescending things. The table from my school was awful and negative (at least my side of the table).  Maybe that’s our problem – we don’t help each other or encourage – we criticize and fight for power under Dr. Principals’ tyranny. The woman next to me was a Language Arts teacher who said she studied English literature and had to learn how to teach reading and writing to kids and forgets how difficult her first five years were.  (So if she admits she didn’t know how to teach reading and Language Arts, why is there a teacher license for such a thing?  In my studies to be a Spanish teacher, I had at least one course on the best ways to teach a second language.) The other was a special education aide who said my special education kids did fine last year with her. Then she bad mouthed the replacement teacher for that teacher who walked out. I really can’t work in this environment.  What negative people!

 

Earlier at work, as I just started showing the movie, the nice vice principal visited Mrs. Braggar (the darling of the administrators) and came out asking me to put down the volume. She’s too good to ask herself.  Then she really pissed me off. At another waste of time meeting after school it turned to registration and for some reason she asked about Spanish and how the math teacher who taught one unit of Spanish in the past was making an exam to see if the students would be ready  to do well next year. He’s also making one for Algebra but she kept saying Spanish. I just felt invisible and maybe she’s giving up on me in front of everyone.  Fine, I won’t be here next year, but I’m not that dumb, I can make a test. I’ve done all the other belittling hoops and jumps they’ve asked of me at this ridiculous school. Two more months and I’m free.

 

On a good note, I’m glad I told the counselor about a suicide poem that one sweet girl in Language Arts wrote. The student was very mature about it when I told her I turned it in.  We talked about it and her family life. This is what I wanted when I became a teacher- to help kids. I thought I’d be more of a counselor, not always being pushed to just stick to the academics.

 

College courses that prepare teachers over emphasis the social work element of the job so much so that it was a shock to become a teacher and realize that people don’t really want you to “butt in” on the social issues.  Yes, a lot of kids come from horrible backgrounds, but you are paid to teach. They should stop selling it as a “do-good” social worker job.  That’s what I thought it’d be but it wasn’t.

Later during the final exam in Spanish a student stopped writing in Spanish and wrote, in English, about how she takes drugs and her parents have no idea. When I turned it into the counselor the reaction was “Why did it take so long for us to get this?”  Since she was in the last hour class I had graded their exams last and it had lapsed a few days.  Talk about denial, who cares when you found out, be glad that you did.

 

Another time I butt in when Sunshine yelled out in class how she had tried marijuana. Now I know how I felt in high school when no one seemed to acknowledge that I was in the “wrong” crowd and respected the one teacher that did ask me why my grades had plummeted, and since I’m a parent, I figured her mother might want to know. I went to her mother’s work and told her, just to let her know. She did seem appreciative and said they’d been having a hard time with her in general and that summer she’d be sent to her grandmother’s in another part of the country.

 

 I often wonder what parents really do and don’t know about their kids. I think I see the worse when they are “being cool” with their peers. At this school, parents seemed so frustrated and helpless to fight this peer pressure, even though they wanted their students to behave, study, and achieve goals.  Earlier in the Midwest when I saw the rude, drug taking boys behave badly I wondered if someday that would be my son.  I don’t know since he’s not a teenager but I know one great effect of home schooling is that you spend more time with your children, get to know them more, and don’t throw them to the wolves of peer pressure and a caste system  for thirty to forty hours a week in schools.

 

April 2nd

Yesterday was pretty tranquil since my kids took their big test to see if they know enough Spanish in order to take level two next year plus most of my Language Arts did their big writing assignments. Of course the adults were jerks. Mrs. Braggar shut the door behind her as she went to talk to the science teacher –not a good sign. A few minutes later she came in saying she can’t have the days she’s been having with her first period – kids acting up. And that when I’m watching her class in the morning before class begins, to have them just sit down and stay seated. Again, it’s my fault. What was the difference when no one was there, a few weeks ago?  Whatever. I tried to keep them in their seats but the first year social studies teacher’s kids are all over the place too.  Why don’t they give a warm up?  I do and my kids do sit still except for the 3-5 that don’t won’t do the warm ups and are failing anyways.

 

April 2nd

The tears I’ve wanted all day are on the verge. Again it’s work. Dr. Principal said we’d meet at one to finally do the post-conference about my Language Arts observation. I felt like, okay, let me adjust my pants so I can get a new butt hole ready. I knew it’d be negative.

 

Actually in writing it looked fine but they used more “prior knowledge” and went on past events like the first surprise visit and just basically said my discipline problem is huge in Language Arts.  Duh!  That was it. Silence. No solutions.  Dr. Principal and the Supervisor of Reading and Language Arts just said that not all populations are for every teacher and I said we had rural poor in theMidwest. The Supervisor of Reading and Language Arts said these kids are more inner city and bring their problems from home into the school – their fights since they live near each other unlike true rural areas. They were happy I’m going to resign (me too). So the next two months who knows? 

 

The supervisor ofReadingand Language Arts said one teacher in the bad feeder elementary school (she admitted this school had a lot of problems and these kids come from there) put his foot down and it worked. So I can be Miss Tough for the next two months but that takes effort. I don’t have any energy.  I’m beyond burnt out. I’m beyond belief. Beyond belief that 60% of teachers leave within 5 years because of discipline problems and administrative problems – lucky me, I have both.

 

Interesting how with the first principal in theMidwestI never felt so bad. How someone with straight As in teaching classes can fail so miserably at being a teacher? As a student you take control of your own life but as a teacher you have no control over who you get in your class, which classes you teach (26% of English classes are taught by people out of their field) and that most other teachers don’t help new ones.

 

Of course Mrs. Braggar came up during the post conference – her big complaint now is about the books that were pushed under the door during my Language Arts yesterday from a student who is now expelled. She could care less about the education in my class but only her precious honor roll kids (even though she is the English Department Chairperson). It just was depressing again.

 

Okay, I suck. I wasted five years sucking in a public school system that sucks for many reasons. But it worries me that smart people don’t always make good teachers. That public school is wasting taxpayer’s money on dumb administrators and on people who let their kids rot in school.

 

The “good school district” where I went was bland and boring but I liked the after school activities yet that’s where too much focus of education goes and it shouldn’t. Really education is up to the individual student and their parental influence.

 

I felt very depressed that the next two months look bleak and I already called and declined the producer job. My heart tells me it’s time to be my own boss. Write. I have so many stories in me – least of which is a teacher tell all book. I also have ideas for teenage novels.  Won’t that be the best revenge?  Mrs. Braggar teaching my teenager novels!!!  Speaking of which, I’m going to write right now.

 

April 3rd

I wrote till midnight. Just editing my 8th grade diary. See what the kids think when we read it along with Anne Frank’s Diary during Language Arts. See if they like hearing that their teacher had the same feelings as they did when she was thirteen.

 

I felt like I had to come up with some good teenage book ideas but I already have them from when I was a teenager. If I write them all summer – plus my teacher tell all. Write from nine to five. Then start hitting publishers, I could get it published before Dr. Principal and Mrs. Braggar retire!  Ha! 

 

Truth is they won’t care. But I will. Because that’s what has always been in my soul – a writer.  I stupidly thought teaching would be easy and fun and social work and in the summers I would write. But I know from making movies that sometimes you have to forego the day job and just concentrate on what you really want. I like producing movies but not all the time – long hours and it’s a total business. I really prefer the solitude and creativity of writing – I like writing everything – books, diaries, plays, screenplays. The only thing that will fulfill my career problems is to be honest – it’s time for me to be a full time writer.

 

April 5th

I tossed and turned all night. Why do I lose so much sleep over this dumb job?  And lose money too by spending too much on stuff for this dumb auction, which apparently doesn’t do much for their discipline. It’s really a reputation problem and that Dr. Principal relies more on rumors. Mrs. Braggar doesn’t give a hoot about my students – nobody does.  She just doesn’t  want her precious honor roll students disturbed. I chatted with a friend on email about it.  She said I can’t be that bad a teacher just in a bad situation.  See, nothing has changed with the kids – it’s the adults again.

 

FORMAL TEACHER EVALUATION FORM – 2ND AND LAST ONE OF THE YEAR

By Dr. Principal

Dated April 5th

 

Teacher displays a solid content knowledge of Spanish.  She continues to work on lesson plans for reading Language Arts as this is an area out of her certification.

 

Teacher’s classroom procedures for entering the classroom, using materials in the classroom, appropriate times for conversation and movement have still not been established with her students. Students are very loud and disruptive during the day. For example, students have been found throwing objects against the walls in her room. They are found coming in and out of her classroom without permission. As in the last evaluation, teacher must set classroom expectations for behavior and these standards should be clearer and stronger and the consequences for misbehavior must be articulated and posted with follow through on each incident.

Unsatisfactory.

 

Her classroom management continues to have serious problems which is affecting student achievement both in Spanish and in her reading/language arts class. Her students are disruptive to the point that it impacts on other classrooms surrounding her room. Because of her unsuccessful attempt to make significant changes in this area, I am recommending that her contract not be renewed for the following school year.

Overall rating:  Unsatisfactory

 

 

April 6th

Now it’s official that I suck. Another evil evaluation came and it said “unsatisfactory” and not to renew my contract. I wouldn’t care except that’s a kiss of death. Luckily Dr. Principal briefly talked to me and said she talked to the Human Relations head and they said if I get my letter of resignation in first, the review won’t be part of my record. That’s good. Just another nine-month job – reason for leaving?  Moved.

 

Reality is I’ve known that I hated teaching since day one (or year one). But pregnancy and raising a child lead to sacrifices – bad jobs for the money. I made a miserable choice. But also the unsatisfactory is a release. See, I suck, I can’t even phantom the idea of being a teacher anymore. I’m kicked out of this profession by the official board of education kick out of the system. And a good kick in my butt. When will I realize that I’m 100% creative and will never survive in other environments? So I may never learn classroom management but I also found out there was a lot stacked against me. The leaving principal was pissed and scheduled kids in classes to make the teachers suffer. And she knew they didn’t have enough Spanish One “honors” students but wanted a full time teacher because the other middle schools have one.  I was right, this county sucks.

 

Reading this just reminds me how babyish and “middle school” like the teachers and administrators were – the other schools had Spanish teachers so the leaving principal wanted one too.  And to sabotage everyone, she placed in students who were not ready for an “honors” course.

 

April 10th

The nice thing about spring break is I’m not talking about how much I hate teaching. It’s a real break.

 

April 13th

I had nightmares of going back to work. My classroom was in a freezing cold basement room. At least I was alone – no neighbors worried about their precious honor students. But the kids hid and skipped class in some fog. 

 

I feel like in a fog – scared to go back. I hate it!  But I want that money all summer. I’ve survived spring madness before. I can survive again. I just need to focus on Grad school and give my work as a teacher my minimum since that’s what it’s given me. This county screwed the kids and me months ago.

 

April 14th

 

Yesterday actually went okay. Kids were absent so that helped. The kids liked the Spanish cultural videos so that worked well. And in Language Arts my poem introduction went well. They liked a “Boy named Sue” and even La Toya liked Jennifer Lopez’s “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” (music is a form of poetry) and the basketball poems and my movie clips of people wooing others by poetry like in Il Postino and the Cyrano Seinfeld episode. Then they wrote poems about themselves using the letters of their names. When I do the planning for my own classes (not borrowing others) and it incorporates creativity it usually goes well. They also listened to me reading from Jurassic Park. Forget the kiddie books that bore them. I’m thinking outside the box.

 

April 15th

Where is my period? Maybe I’m on  a 35-day schedule now? Or is it stress? I never have missed one, okay, only that once in December 1999 but I think it was a Y2K glitch, otherwise I’m like a monthly calendar.  But I didn’t have a day of depression that usually comes along once a month and then surprise – menstruation! Instead my throat hurts from talking and yelling at work.

 

I don’t get this school. When kids are working on something, are they not allowed to talk at all? Well it’d help if I had a door!  Some teacher in the hall came down to tell us to be quiet as I passed out papers in Language Arts, of course.  In theMidwestschool I was the mean teacher who wouldn’t let kids just do projects and chat. Now I’m the bad teacher  for letting them do just that. I hate this school.

 

In the morning Mrs. Braggar and the social studies teacher walked by and Braggar said, “They’re hiring a Spanish teacher at the college.”

 

I asked where she saw it and she said her husband did in the newspaper. That made me mad. She talks to her husband about me and now they probably joke about me. No wonder her son who goes to this school won’t look at me anymore when he comes to her room  after school.  And saying it in front of the social studies teacher! The whole world knows I’m not coming back. Braggar’s been talking about me forever – to Dr. Principal. But I talk about her to my husband. Whatever! 

 

They say you become like your environment.  They’ve been in middle school too long – they forget how to act like adults – gossiping and forming popular groups like junior high. Or teachers become so mean and yelling that they lose their humanity and they are awful at networking and team work – good at blaming. Anyways I just gotta survive 40 more days – like Noah!   Focus on Grad school!  Forget my pride. I don’t ever want to teach anymore or have that word near me – just “writer.” At home we ate dinner and I was tired. I don’t like sleeping all the time. I want to play with my son. I can’t wait to stop working.

 

April 16th

Today is one of those days I’ll never forget. It’ll change the future for me, my husband, my son and our extended families – I’m pregnant!  This period isn’t late from stress, it’s just late. I woke up and tiredly found the last of the pregnancy tests and peed. The test mark came out strong and I thought it’d be negative like always. But then a faded other line appeared.  I was in shock. I wrapped it in a baby blanket and woke up my husband saying I have something for him (pause), in nine months. He was immediately happy.  I almost cried, worried just worried.  But I know everything will be all right.  It doesn’t always happen smoothly or how I like – like with my job but that has a purpose too – money to go to Grad school, and health care through the summer. I’m just worried that I never got disability insurance and what if I start to get really morning sick? Yipes!  And who should I tell first, besides family? The social studies teacher at work so she can cover the hall so I can go pee?  Now I’ll try not to get stressed at work. Let it roll off my back. Don’t let them hurt the baby. I’ll take care of the baby inside. So many things to think of and plan but I’ll take it one day at a time cause we have nine months!

 

April 17th

Yesterday was a special day. I was happy at work and couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I told the social studies teacher right away so she’d know why I run and pee during hall duty. She said congratulations and we talked about the things that make parents paranoid. It was weird to tell her first (besides my husband of course) but important since work will be key to being less stressed. Classes went fine but after 6th period I was exhausted and so worn out by 8th period since they’re so wild. Oh well. I’m already fired and fried. 

 

April 19th

Wrote in school, to vent

I have to vent. I hate this school. It’s morning.  Kids aren’t even here yet. Found a lovely note from the nice vice principal to clean up the big pieces of trash on the floor for the janitors. I do. I always do.  Maybe I missed some since I ran out to have a parent teacher conference yesterday.  Ugh. I hate the notes. I hate the cold shoulders. I then asked the librarian about the book fair and she said she put it in my box. I never saw it.  Maybe it was mixed with something else. But she was convinced she put it in there and wouldn’t give me another flier. Ugh! 

 

What’s the point?  Why pick up all the papers in my box?  Why care? Why do anything?  Everyone knows I’m gone.  How am I going to survive two more months, with morning sickness even?  But I got to.  For the summer in the pool. The health insurance, especially now for all the prenatal care.  There’s a reason why I choose this school and this stressful year. I just hope I’ve learned my lesson from this horrible school.

 

April 20th

I had a strange dream and I’m a bit scared. But I felt good waking up to the part with the happy ending. I needed that since yesterday at work was so bad – stupid kids, co-workers another useless in service, this one just put salt in my wounds about discipline but it’s all too late now. I wanted to just cry but never did.

 

They had us listen to a panel of teachers from our school talk about how great they are at disciplining. One was the science teacher who has years of experience and as far as I can tell 1) is a man who the kids always respect more in this field and 2) I hear him yell a lot.  The other was a first year teacher who admitted lying to the students that she wasn’t a first year teacher. This district loves to condone lying which might be alright for some but my mom would kill me if I did that.

This morning in the shower I realized I can’t change my situation – I have to work and no disability will pay if I get sick from this pregnancy, but the one thing I can change is my attitude. Not yell at kids but help them or something. Or not let it bother me. Roll with the punches. Forget what the staff thinks, they hurt me the worst anyways.

 

 

 

 

April 21st

Sweet justice!  God does love me. He gave me a good day in Language Arts yesterday – after I prayed. First off, one of the worst girls came in for her work because she’s suspended for stabbing a boy with a pencil (not in my class, see, they are not all my fault, some of it is the nature of these kids – even in “perfect” teachers’ classrooms). 

 

Then class was normal – talking and telling them to be quiet. But when the other classes came in after lunch yelling and being loud in the hall (which I don’t have any doors to shield us from) my Language Arts class was yelling “hi” to them and trying to get their friends’ attention. It took a minute and they were quiet again.

 

The secretary came to the door and asked if an administrator had come. I said we didn’t call one but she said there was a buzz to the office. The kids put it together faster than I that Mrs. Braggar had called for the administrator (later I realized she had buzzed because the yelling must’ve sounded like a fight but when there was a real fight months ago no one helped or buzzed.) The administrator did come and I said we were fine. But then the kids were mad -saying Mrs. Braggar is a tattletale. One girl said to me that Mrs. Braggar is the one trying to get me fired and they asked why I don’t yell at her. I said they’d have to teach me how to do that for the last days of school since I don’t know how to yell like they do.  They liked the idea of teaching me some “street” skills.

 

Then they tried to be loud and yell and annoy Mrs. Braggar next door because they, like me, are sick of her complaining. And they’re starting to see how the school works unfairly – everything for her sweet honors kids and no one gives a crap for the black and poorer kids by giving them the Spanish teacher. But they were saying all the kids coming out of her classroom to use the bathroom were disturbing them and they again were purposefully loud whenever Mrs. Braggar’s door was opened. I told them to stop, be quiet, and it’s not the students’ fault. But I was just so proud of them. Finally fighting for their rights!  And Mrs. Braggar made her bed so she can lie in it – she’s the one who gossiped all year – tattling to Dr. Principal and yesterday I saw her talk to the nice vice principal and again she didn’t tell me what she was talking about.  The social studies teacher is smart – she comes in after school to talk to me if she has a problem with my class’ noise level.  She doesn’t embarrass me in front of my class, or hers, and she doesn’t tell the bosses – ultimately getting me fired for the Language Arts class which then poisoned the Spanish.  Mrs. Braggar has poisoned Spanish by embarrassing me in front of her honors English class, which has some of my Spanish students in it.  They told me that she talks badly about me, no wonder they are starting to be disrespectful after hearing that from her, now they have doubts about me as their Spanish teacher.

 

I did my normal best to keep control of this wild Language Arts class but she started the divisions and rumors and bad feelings and not much I can do if they want to get a rise out of her – they do have rights to their own feelings. And if she’s having a tough time with her precious honors class because of us she deserves it for never helping, caring, and for backstabbing.  You reap what you sow. And the school deserves it because I’m already fired and have no motivation, which they halted long ago. Karma, its all karma. I’m sure I’ll still suffer but it’s nice to share. And it’s true that if you don’t help your neighbors and the communities next door – the noise, wildness, or crime it will effect you. It’s a good lesson in social studies for the teachers and students. Now I feel like there’s hope for the world and the baby were bringing into it.

 

April 23rd

It’s been a good week. For some reason the Language Arts class and others have been good. So it’s been easy. Maybe I can survive 35 more days!

 

April 27th

I’m so tired. Yesterday at work was tiring. Language Arts class was their old selves but I tried not to let it bother me. And it didn’t.  It doesn’t’ matter. I’m already the “bad” teacher and I don’t want to get stressed. I just have to protect the baby inside.

 

And yesterday I was scared. Derek had a football. I said if I saw it out I would take it. Another kid started playing with it so I took it. I gave it to the social studies teacher next door so no one else would steal it (why did his mother, who supervises the suspension room, let him bring it to school?  It would have caused a lot less problems – no theft, no discipline issues.  No one needs a football for English class).   Well, he was mad and threw his desk and was talking about taking my stuff.  I didn’t like his anger and throwing and I was worried about getting hurt. The kids laughed. I sent for an administrator and they took him out. I said he was threatening.  It seemed threatening to me. I should write a referral.  I was a zombie the rest of the day.

 

THE REFERRAL I WROTE FOR DEREK

April 26th

being disruptive

refusing to cooperate

leaving assigned area without permission

other: throwing a desk

 

I told student if I see his football I would take it. When it was out and I took it he became angry, threw a desk and chair, demanded I give it back, threatened he would take one of my things. I told him to sit down and I would give him the ball at the end of class. He walked around looking for something to take. I had the vice principal take him out of the class because his behavior seemed threatening to me and dangerous to the class

 

Consequence, given by the administrators: 2 day suspension

 

April 28th

Work is so tiring. I could sleep all the time. I don’t care if the kids learn or not anymore. I just try to get by.

 

April 29th

Yesterday the pregnancy hormones made me sensitive and moody. I felt down at the beginning of school because the kids were acting up in the hall and I’m sick of them. Then in 6th period I know the group of straight A boys said something bad about my teaching but I don’t know what – I heard the whisper. Then 8th period I was mobbed by kids and one girl wanted her grade. I said no because there were too many people to help at that moment.

 

 She got all mad and said, “Well if you’d teach the class.”

 

I’m just tired of it and they’re right – I stopped “teaching” long time ago.  Burnt by this dumb career. And this horrible school.

 

The band teacher said he’s leaving – that Dr. Principal only listened to hearsay about him too. Then after school – Mrs. Braggar and the math teacher were talking about how the administrators don’t really discipline or let us have control because they let the authority questioning kids back into the classes right away.  There are no consequences.  So if these veteran teachers have problems, what chance to newcomers have???

 

May 4th

What a weekend!  We took a road trip that ended up being longer than we expected.  The car made horrible noises just as I missed our exit. We got off and went to an auto repair parts store which only helped in getting a tow truck. There was a hotel next door. So I checked in since I knew the car seat couldn’t fit in a tow truck. My son loved watching the tow truck and me climbing up into it.  The service station was right down the road and they said they’d look at it on Monday

 

So I didn’t have any work – no papers to correct, no phone numbers to call, nothing to write on. Just relaxed. Lots of family time and watched TV.  I must’ve needed a total break.

 

Sunday we took a walk and found an African American church. The music was so powerful. The preacher so animate and interactive! No wonder I am such a failure as a teacher here with African American students. But the administrators wouldn’t let me do story telling and be animate. So frustrating. The church volunteers convinced me to go up front and the music made me cry! How embarrassing. Then they took me to the back room where a nice lady just prayed with me for the baby to be, our car and my family. Was it the hormones? Music? Or tired of being a complete failure?  What made me cry?

 

5 de Mayo
There must be a God because yesterday went okay after a rough morning of sickness. First off the loud mouth obnoxious girl in the hallway every morning was suspended for fighting in some class yesterday. Then I found a withdraw strip from the student that drove me nuts – Pencil Stabber– the one who always bad mouthed and tried to skip class. Apparently she did skip someone’s class (not mine!) and was having sex in the suspension room. Was Derrick’s mom on duty?  In Language Arts I even had some leverage because if they get a referral now they can’t go to the 8th grade dance.  They are so excited about the dance that they even bought prom dress magazines.

 

8th period was icky though – Betty Lou and Glasses were at their worse. So upset about the class in general that they say that they just can’t stay in there. No problem – they make ½ the noise and get on my nerves and are really mad about other stuff. So I’ll make a deal where they can leave everyday I don’t care. I’ve always been annoyed by Glasses for some reason anyways. Is it because she looks nerdy and reminds me of me in Junior High?  Or just one of those personalities that gets on my nerves?

 

May 6th

It was a nice 5 de mayo. A girl from the college who is studying to become a Spanish teacher (and observes my class from time to time) came with a 5 de mayo artsy lesson – making paper dolls in the shape of revolutionary figures.  The kids loved it. And we had a little food in each class – even nachos to keep 8th period under control. So it went well.

 

May 7th

Yesterday started off tough and stayed that way. Language Arts were monsters but what made it worse was having to talk to the suspension room supervisor about her son, Derek.  The nice vice principal was there but just stayed quiet and let her ramble on. Some of the things she said were okay and valid, other was the same old attacks and excuses parents use for their kids. 

 

She said I never called – I told her a few times in the lounge that her son was acting up (she told me to call his father but that didn’t make sense to me, like she couldn’t deal with it.  I don’t know why I never called him. I guess I felt uncomfortable since I had already talked to her and she works in the school, with the kids who are suspended – she should know how to talk to these type of kids, including her own.)

 

She doesn’t like that he’s not in class getting instruction.  What instruction?  But I didn’t say that.  And she doesn’t think I should have written, “throw” on the referral but I said I felt threatened and when a chair and desk are lifted off the floor and pushed elsewhere I think the only verb to use is “throw”.

 

It all put me in a bad mood. I’ve hated the class since day one – way too much craziness and stress and not fair to put me in this position (especially with parents!)  I should write a letter to the editor or just shrug it off.

 

I found out that 8th period might be all catty because the dumb sub said no one does anything in my classes. Great. Again, she made that assumption based on the Language Arts class where they don’t do their work and I don’t know what I’m doing or what instruction I am supposed to be giving.  I’m a Spanish teacher – I teach a second language. These kids already know English. Grr! 

 

After school some kids from the college presented some book on racism they had studied in their “Introduction to Teaching” class. Same old theories about teaching but they never get to the heart of day to day and it wasn’t the discussion I hoped. This staff doesn’t talk.  They don’t communicate, and it’s not safe to be open. I tried to talk about the racist issues in the school, but no one else said anything.  So I felt badly afterwards.  At home, my head was still killing me since Language Arts. I finished the stupid Language Arts grading. Now I better get ready to survive more through this dumb school.

 

May 8th

After school my body was so tired. I hope the doctor will say that I don’t have to work anymore – too dangerous for the baby.  Language Arts worries me. Mr. Destructo and Juan, who both got referrals for throwing the day before, yesterday decided to throw batteries. I don’t want to get hurt because this school never expels kids except for having sex with each other!

 

May 12th

Yesterday morning I felt tired. I took a 15-minute nap and then was late for work. But as I sped down the road a squirrel dashed out. I tried to avoid it but “thump.” I felt awful. They’re so fast and move around so much. I don’t want to jinx the baby.

 

Then in 1st period a student called me Mrs. Braggar by accident and said that when he called her my name by accident she said, in front of the whole class, “That lady, if she could get her class under control, we could do more in here.” 

 

She’s such a snot.  Only cares about her precious honors students.  And so unprofessional – saying things like that -in front of my Spanish students!  And she’s done it all year. I was mad for a while but then thought that Mrs. Braggar has to stay at this miserable place. Who is she going to blame and backstab next year? I just hope she teaches my books and plays!  Whatever. I’ll move on and follow my dreams. Backstabbers get their own.

 

May 13th

Mrs. Braggar strikes again. She should go to Gossips Anonymous. Or Complainers Anonymous. This time I heard her as she complained to the science teacher about the kids in her 1st period acting up while I was on hall duty. She then peeped in at the copying machine, realized I was there, and stopped abruptly.

 

I wish I had her eye contact so I could’ve said, “Talking about me again?” 

 

Well I just won’t watch her kids this morning and if she complains to me, which I doubt, I’ll just say that I didn’t want to give her one more thing to gossip about and it’s her problem anyways. She asked me to stand there because her kids were wound up and tough to deal with in the morning. That’s her problem.  The social studies teacher’s kids and mine are fine. She’s never helped with my Language Arts hell, in fact, she has just made it worse. There. That’s her consequence for complaining. 

 

And what are they going to do, fire me? I’ve never been told to do hall duty. Only to watch the social studies teacher’s class to protect one kid from teasing. I can check on them.  Besides, most of the kids don’t care that I’m there anyways.

 

Otherwise the day was easy. But I was in a bad mood at the end of the day.  Running around trying to find paper to use to photocopy since this school has no supplies, especially now near the end of the year. It’s amazing I go to work everyday. Who else could stand a class out of your field with discipline problem kids? a backstabbing teacher next door? A principal that won’t let you teach with the research based best methods? No supplies? And a counselor that hates you and only listens to kids and parents? Wow, shows how strong I am, especially after that job offer in the field I really want to do. But I just want the paycheck, the nice summer by the pool with no students nor Mrs. Braggar. Just the money since I chose to get paid all year even though it’s a ten month contract.   I did it all for my son and the baby inside of me.

 

May 14th

It’s hard to discipline a class when the principal won’t back you up. Thank God for the nice vice principal.  He does his job. But Dr. Principal is a dud.

 

Yesterday I freaked because LaShawna was trying to say I hit her when I tapped her shoulder when I asked her to move away from the printer.   It sounded like she was joking but I was scared she was going to tell the police and I’d be arrested for hitting when all I did was tap her shoulder instinctively to get her to scoot over.

The nice vice principal helped out right away. But someone suggested I tell Dr. Principal and the union.  The nice vice principal told me to tell the parent to gage their reaction. It was iffy – could go either way.  I left a message at the union.

 

At the end of the day Dr. Principal was finally around. I told her and all she said was “I showed you that video at the beginning of the school year – you should never hit a child” Thanks a whole lot.  She didn’t even listen to me.  I didn’t hit her and I never even touch kids.  This was an innocent reaction to get someone to move, whereas I have seen teachers grab kids when they are in a fight, like the science teacher did. 

 

Then Dr. Principal still didn’t look me in the eye, walked out of her office, told me to write it down and started babbling to the nurse about how she can’t remember anything unless she writes it down. I guess I’ll write down the things I wanted to ask her since she shrugged me off as I tried to discuss a serious matter.  What a jerk!  But they make me feel like it’s just me – since I’m so bad as a teacher. I know it’s their communication though. And I still deserve to be heard since I do work here one more month.

 

In the lounge, another teacher talked about how Dr. Principal listened to a kid and didn’t even ask the teacher about the situation. You don’t know what you got until it’s gone – at least the first year principal in theMidwestasked us what happened.  And the retiring principal was the best – automatically supported us, her teaching staff.  Anyways, I don’t trust Dr. Principal. I hate this school and feel even more like “fuck them” – I won’t even do their stupid policies since they’re not going to support me. I’ll just do my best in class. Not write up anyone with referrals. Not shake the water and get in trouble since kids are liars and parents believe them. They can run the school like Dr. Principal wants. They already hate my lack of discipline might as well not try.

 

Here I thought nothing could get worse after Braggar. Hah!  And on the way home as I was deep in thought a car started crossing the yellow line and on my side was a pond. Luckily it went back. So there is worse. I’ll just count my blessings; take care of my son and the baby growing inside. I’ll coast through these next few weeks – maybe with lots of movies. Who cares? Not the boss it seems.

 

May 14th

I have to write to record what happened in the lucky case I ever have a lawsuit!  Mrs. Braggar came in during Language Arts, of course (luckily the LaShawna stuff seems to have blown over) and complained about the kids sitting on the wall that we share and making noise by bumping it.  Then she saw the open electric thing and said I should tell the nice vice principal. Of course she did right away and he fixed it (wow, only Braggar notices things – the janitors didn’t for days even though I cleaned around the area trying to get them to notice – I didn’t know how to report it at this school – forms for everything, and just figured it was the janitors duty and I kept my kids away – even though they were the ones who peeled off the cover to it in the first place) I guess Braggar is the boss.

 

Anyways at the end of the day I wanted out because I called payroll and found out they’re taking my $1600 of tuition reimbursement back. How ironic – the main reason I took this horrible job was for the money towards my Grad school tuition.  Since they got my letter of resignation, they say they’ll take the money back. Would I be able to keep the money if they got a “we don’t want you back” letter and evaluation from the county instead? 

 

So I was almost out when my Language Arts teacher’s assistant caught me for some of her “I have to make a decision, what should I do” problems. But then came monster Braggar lurking around the corner and from the other corner, after just talking to her, was Dr. Principal needing to talk with me immediately. It should’ve come right from Braggar’s mouth. Dr. Principal said my class is too noisy, that the boys can’t sit up against the wall and someone could’ve been electrocuted. She said my kids in 8th period can’t leave class. Oh, they’re gonna hate Braggar more now.  Why does she care? She doesn’t even have a class that hour – already admitted she made sure to have her prep last period since she knows the last classes are the worse. She’s such a nosy busy body). 

 

She said there’s only one month left and keep them under control. I said “okay” but wished I could have said something better like, “Mrs. Braggar should just take your job and get your pay.”

 

I go in yesterday to talk about a serious matter and she says “told ya so” then turns her back on me and laughs with the nurse about how she needs everything in writing. But Braggar goes in with her whining and gets her full attention and she doesn’t need it in writing. I guess Braggar’s got Dr. Principal where she wants her. I just hope karma doesn’t hurt too badly.

 

 

May 15th

I barely slept. Tossed and turned thinking about evil Braggar and that jerk Dr. Principal. I woke up at two and couldn’t sleep. So I got up at three to try to sleep on the couch and thought maybe I could get answers to my problems on TV. There was an informational about how to succeed in life. It was just what I needed – motivation to kick me in the butt!  Obviously this year I was a terrible failure and I hate that feeling. I want to succeed at my real dreams and I know that trying to take a simple life just makes things worse. If I’m gonna suffer might as well be for my art. I called the 800 number and bought the CDs and went to bed.

 

This morning I realized I’m like a kid with a learning disorder – all the teachers yelling at me but I can’t do anything about it. They just make me feel worse and I fail more and care less just like the kids trying to do catch up. I just can’t discipline especially with no motivation at all. In a few years I hope I learn the lesson from this.  What was the point of all this suffering?

 

May 17th

Another week in hell. I’m so excited!  What’s on my “to do” list.  Keep a log of every grumpy thing Braggar does and of her kids coming through my class. And tell 8th period that she’s controlling their bladders and they should have their parents call.  We’ll see. Or maybe I’ll just lay low and let the rainfall like always. I’ll stick to my computer and write and plan for my summer. Only one month away. I had to volunteer my time to my son’s preschool yesterday.  It was fun talking to the other parents– especially a teacher who worked under Dr. Principal briefly.  Interesting that this woman is now sending her children to private school.  She said that Dr. Principal is “all mouth.” True.

 

May 18th

Yesterday started off sadly – they told all the teachers a 7th grader had died of Asthma.  Lots of teachers started crying.  I didn’t know who he was – I only have 8th graders.  Later I found out he would always curse out the teachers a lot.  Even so I guess we still love our students, at least when they are taken too soon. 

 

But the 8th graders were as obnoxious as always, especially 1st period and 6th – trying to keep them quiet during the whole exam was a disaster. It’s stressful like during the No Child Left Behind exams. Thank goodness for 2nd period – they were angels – not a peep!  (Ever since Little Putanesca of the Spanish Inquisition disappeared)

 

Then last period I had to give out report cards which meant homeroom/1st period had to return for the last twenty minutes. 1st period is really obnoxious and rude. I really can’t stand a lot of them and dealing with them pregnant is even worse. This homeroom duty and all the extra duties with that first period are awful. Why can’t we just hand out the report cards tomorrow, first thing? Why hand them out at the end of the day? Oh, I guess early in the morning would be bad – kids yelling at teachers for “giving” them certain grades. I guess this way they are sent on the bus and home and it’s all their problem!

 

I survived and felt good about Language Arts where La Shawna wrote down everyone who left Braggar’s room that day – more than mine!   So why is she complaining about students leaving my room, especially when it’s during her prep.  8th period is mad at her, even the quiet kids, when I told them they can’t go out of the room at all anymore, not even for the bathroom because she complained to Dr. Principal. She made her bed.

 

May 19th

I just realized as I took a shower that one reason this year is tougher than my first is that  theCaliforniakids had study skills and cared about their grades. So even though it was my first time (besides student teaching) it wasn’t so bad.  Now I don’t know anything about Language Arts, have no passion or interest in it, and the kids have no skills. Teachers are always being told how inadequate they are – by complaining parents, whining students and administrators. It’s a thankless career.  The colleges better crank out more teachers so they can last a few years and move on.  Replenish the sytem.

 

Yesterday I was super tired and nauseas. I’m amazed I got through. One time it seemed like the science teacher and Braggar were complaining about me going to the bathroom between classes because they rolled their eyes at each other when they saw me walk over to the bathroom. I’d love to have them report that one – federal offense against a pregnant woman.  It’s such a ridiculous school. Why would we not be able to go bathroom?

 

I heard that teachers get the most kidney stones because they can’t go to the bathroom therefore they don’t drink enough water to make them go to the bathroom.  A vicious, painful cycle!  But when you’re pregnant, when you gotta go, you gotta go. With my first pregnancy, I lived way out in the Midwest and had to drive every week to a film shoot.  That state had few and far between rest areas, so I got out and peed on many a corn field!  I figured they wouldn’t arrest a pregnant lady in the middle of the frozen winter for indecent exposure.

 

May 20th

Things are starting to turn around. Yesterday I told one rude girl in 1st period I was calling home and sent her out of the room. Then 8th period was whining about not being able to go to the bathroom. I told them to tell their parents.  Some said their parents had already called. Glasses, the troublemaker, walked out (and got a citation/warning) and told Dr. Principal to come in, against my wishes.

 

So when Dr. Principal came into the room I said they had questions for her. They let her have it, whining about it just the same as they had complained to me about not being able to leave the room. At first she was strong and I thought that was great. Then she started to break down and even tried to blame me again asking them if they act this way in the social studies or science class and they all yelled “Yes”  (beautiful!) 

 

She said there were teacher complaints that they throw books on the wall.  They, and I, said that’s the Language Arts class. Anyways they kept arguing and she looked miserable. The look on her face was precious to me. Now she’s starting to understand teenagers!  And she caved. That’ll kill her later. She even told them not to have their parents call. (I told them that’s where their power is) and asked why she was called in and I reiterated they did it, not me.

 

It was lovely. And I hope they learn that they can change things. And they’re now mad at her. Good. Because she started all the problems – her and Braggar.  If I’m so bad at discipline then you don’t undermine every time I do try to do something. 

 

Then at home the infomercial stuff arrived. I like it. It says to overcome fear, be grateful for what you have and will have in the future. And be grateful and not focus on problems. So I’m grateful that this job paid the bills and I’m glad I got to know the kids and I’m glad I’ve learned that I physically can never put a foot in a school again!

 

I learned my lesson not to watch infomercials in the middle of a sleepless night – in general the product was a waste of money!

 

May 21st

Yesterday went smoothly. We got to watch their performance of Annie and I realized I’m a good drama coach as I suffered with these kids acting without energy. I would never let my kids do that especially during “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” They weren’t smiling!  It was horrible. And it’s not a middle school thing since I directed 7th graders for the same play last year and even though I’m biased, it was a much better production.  At least now I know I’m good at one thing in this education field.

 

I made a handout for the two classes I had to teach since the play took most of the day. As I made the photocopies I think I overheard Dr. Principal complaing to the science teacher about yesterday. I hid so they wouldn’t see me. I heard him say, “I admire her spark.”

 

Wow, a compliment.

 

May 25th

Yesterday I got mad when I found out they’re not having the math teacher teach Spanish like he did last year but bringing another person full time. Good luck!  They want them to teach Spanish French and ? – they wrote that on the schedule.  I hope not another Language Arts. I also found out they need 150 students in Unified Arts classes so they throw these non-academic kids into the Spanish department which ruins it for the serious kids.  They only do this for scheduling reasons, so frustrating.  But maybe if they do get a Spanish teacher and she’s new and she gets Language Arts and has problem then they’ll see it wasn’t just me and they might consider changing it. Truth is I don’t care. Have to accept my failings as a teacher and move on.

 

 

 

May 26th

Only two weeks of being in the classroom left! My computer got zapped by lightning and isn’t working at all.  It’s so boring without a computer, especially at lunch. And the ones in the student  library keep freezing. Annoying!  But I like the idea of inventing their grades since the information was on the computer!

 

In the morning the kids were good with the Selena songs and music videos. 6th period okay and in 8th I just gave up and told them to look up the words themselves. Only five people tried. Most of the class doesn’t try, so why should I? I feel baldy it’s out of control (but it is the last class which was always loud and then more loud students got put in there from other earlier classes).  It makes me mad how the Spanish department has to suffer for the school’s scheduling. Only honor type students should be in there but we have too many lazy kids. And all that stuff on how  I’m supposed to motivate doesn’t work when the administrator and back stabbers take the life out of you. Hey, I just realized that they are dementors like in Harry Potter!  Robbing the soul out of you.

 

May 27th

I had a horrible nightmare. It gave me a headache. In the dream Dr. Principal called me into a science classroom to talk to me. She asked about the rumors she’d heard from Braggar. She said she was going to sue me because I lied on my resume. I yelled at her that I didn’t lie on my resume. She said she’d sue or I could stay under three conditions but I woke up before I could hear them. I was so mad. I feel like I’m in an evil environment where everything you do can and will be used against you. I just hope the dream doesn’t come true. That they don’t sue me for showing the movie Selena. It is a lesson and part of a plan – learn about her life, Spanish from her music and racism from her and her family’s experience inTexas. And the version I use is edited! 

 

One of the assistant principals asked what we were watching when she came to get Max and Wild Child who were arguing again. Wild Child is a nut case for a student. Since I have to make schedules for all my first period/homeroom students, I’ve had to read their files.  Wild Child is supposed to be in theAlternativeLearningCenter(they recommended her last year) and instead she is in Spanish and Honors English – failing both.

 

May 28th

I was scared yesterday that that dream would come true. But I even saw Dr. Principal and she didn’t talk to me so that was a good thing. Then we had an 8th grade meeting after school and the science teacher mentioned an intervention. I worried it was for me though it’s a little late. I asked my mentor what it was and for who. He said they’re talking to Dr. Principal about some issues. So I gave my two cents and apparently it’s not just me – gossip, not communicating, not letting people directly resolve conflicts, spending money without asking teachers. I can’t wait to hear what happens. I just wish I hadn’t been burned so badly!  Now I know she does this to everyone.

 

 

June 1st

Good news. The union rep called – they can’t take my tuition away! So they owe me the $1600 they took out of my checks. They better give it back.

 

June 2nd

Yesterday seemed like a great day. There was a meeting in the morning that I missed but I asked someone and they said there were consultants here from another county’s schools to observe and help with our students.  They came into my 2nd period class To my delightful surprise, they raved over my class –working together, on task, co-operative learning, interacting. Wow!  Something positive! But it had to come from an outsider!  He even left me a nice note in my box. I couldn’t wait till after school to hear the good news at the meeting but Dr. Principal canceled it until August. My hunch is because they did say something positive to me.

 

I left the other boring after school meeting early since I had to drive to the big city to audition actors for the video I’ve been hired to produce this summer.  But when I got to the car I couldn’t find my keys. I looked everywhere.  I know I put them way in my bag because in the morning I had a feeling about them. When I couldn’t find them after school I figured some dork head stole them. I was so pissed and didn’t want to miss the auditions.

 

I just hate this school so much and all the evil things that happen. So I cried by the phone. The nice Home Economics teacher gave me tissues. Then the social studies teacher came in and was so sweet  – she gave me a ride home and back and luckily our spare key did work!  We did head for the auditions but a big thunderstorm started coming and I thought I heard sirens and wasn’t going to even make it to my son’s preschool to pick him up. Then I had to get gas and a tire was low on air. But an actress called and she was nice to wait. I’ll probably cast her just for waiting.  I did and she was a great actress too.

 

observation from people visiting from other school district – They are writing about what they saw in the whole school – not just my class

Teaming was not observed, nor are teams established in the school.

Instruction, while planned to address content knowledge, was delivered through a preponderance of teacher directed lessons (lecture). For the most part students sat in rows, little cooperative group instruction was observed. Whole group. universal instruction seemed to be the norm.

So why in the world  did Dr. Principal make me the guinea pig to try group work, especially in a wild class out of my field – Language Arts, when the rest of the school wasn’t doing cooperative learning at all? Yet, since the observers said this about the school, that’s why they loved my class – there was cooperative learning and the kids were engaged in Spanish class.

 

June 3rd

I can’t wait for school to be over! I’m really mad that I still have to work whereas in theMidwestit’s already summer vacation.  I think I need to use up all my sick days. I was so mad at the Language Arts students yesterday because I’m sure they took my keys. My sub plans blew up during the dumb IEP meetings I had to go to.  Now I’ll have to make new sub plans and take some days off in these crazy spring fever last days.

 

The last two to three weeks the students have been more antagonistic to teachers who are giving out citations/warnings all the time.  I hear a lot complaining from the kids about Braggar.  Derek even argued with her the other day. So when she has a bad day, she just goes and tells the principal and blames it all on me. Have a bad day, no problem: let’s beat up the Spanish teacher.

 

Today Braggar popped her head in when her precious honor students were disturbed by two of my students who screamed for a moment when they saw a spider. I wrote them up with referrals. She’s such a self-centered witch. Everything for her honors students. I should yell at her the last day of school. I’m so tired of trying to do what’s right and it all went wrong anyways at this horrible school.

 

Reading this now I wonder why I gave someone a behavior referral just for reacting to a spider. Sure, the screams were annoying but they were scared. I think it had to do with the fact that they wouldn’t stop and Braggar got involved.  She would always over react to things like that, if the kids made any emotional peep, even when it was for things with the class like singing Spanish songs – she’d complain about the noise level.

 

June 3rd venting at work

It’s almost the end you’d think I’d be free and left the F alone!  Today at the copier machine that nice new teacher said she can’t believe I come in everyday. I said it’s been hard and I feel like vomiting whenever I see Dr. Principal. Every time she talks with me it’s negative. Like Pavlov dogs, she makes me sick. The new replacement teacher said she needs to hear something positive too. How does it get to a point where all you feel is stress, abuse, and no support? No motivation whatsoever? That’s not a way to run an educational institution.

 

Anyways during my favorite class, Language Arts, I gave one of the really good girls a citation/warning because she was talking. She said she was rehearsing her lines for the assignment. She wanted to go talk to Dr. Principal. I let her. She came back and said she was just practicing her lines. I said I’d let it go this time but I told her I didn’t think Dr. Principal would really talk to me about it – she never has when a student went to talk to her in the past but maybe I was thinking of the good nice vice principal who doesn’t give into kids with wimpy excuses.

 

Well she did show up right as my prep began. She said the same thing the girl said and that she had never had a referral. So?  Citations are for smaller things and she is a great student but lately not acting like it – talking, goofing off more. I didn’t say that, I just said I already told her I’d let it go this time. She said that the girl said she got a citation but the kids sitting over there didn’t. She said in a class so out of control like that you punish everyone. I said I know. They’ve punished them from the beginning  by giving them a teacher that doesn’t even know or care about the material. But I didn’t say that.

 

Anyways, afterwards I started thinking, what is the point of having citations/warnings or trying to control when any time you do the administration punishes you for it? It’s so ridiculous. If they weren’t such arrogant people, if they would ever hear me out, maybe it’d be different. I love the way Dr. Principal runs to communicate when some whiny student with one measly citation complains or an old wench talks to her but laughs away to the nurse when I’m really concerned about something. I have no respect for her whatsoever. I hope next year is worse and whomever they do or don’t get around here makes her suffer.

 

The newspapers criticize everything about this community. I’m willing to talk. And write since that’s what I do.  Maybe this is the first time she did talk about a student’s concern because it was a Black student. She never cared when it was a White student or a Black student who already had citations or the worse write up – referrals.  Earlier she did talk to me about Everaldo never having a referral before I wrote him up for literally throwing around a girl.  I guess I should just let it go. Who cares if he seems macho and throws girls around like objects.

 

Just blame the teacher and her out of control room but if she tries to discipline them burn her too. That makes a lot of sense. I wish she would use all that junk she studied to get her PhD about motivating students and use it with her staff. Now I know how failing students feel. Why should you care if the teacher is going to yell at you?  You’re falling anyways and the teacher already has no hope for you. It’s amazing how many students brightened up last week when they did well on the oral exam. Success breeds more success and, at least, more effort. Here I have no effort, no care left in the world. Just pure anger. Especially when I see Braggar and Dr. Principal. All the Bs in the school. The nice vice principal, him I respect. He communicates and does discipline the kids. Is he the only professional here?

 

June 4th

I’m in a sea of rage. Sick of Braggar and literally sick of Dr. Principal. Every time she talks to me it’s something negative. Yesterday it was to tell me not to give a good kid a citation because it’s really my fault that she was talking.  I thought citations were for minor things like talking. I won’t give them out anymore. And she had the stupidity to tell me about a Spanish student who left a milk container in her locker all month from our 5 de mayo party and how the custodians were upset. Like that’s MY fault.  It wasn’t in my room but her locker. What a sick minded principal.  I’m tired of being the scapegoat.  I wondered where the anger goes. Now I know. I couldn’t sleep. Tossed and turned all night. But I’m trapped. Just gotta let Karma do its thing. Dr. Principal will burn when the department heads talk to her.  For Braggar, who knows?  Who cares!

 

June 5th

The inspirational CD helped me get to work. I like the idea of interrupting a pattern next time Braggar or Dr. Principal come to talk to me. The day actually went really well and it was nice to sing the Spanish songs with the kids It also made me want to cry – 8th period really got into the singing and reminded me how it once was – at the beginning of the year when I taught how I wanted (and what research suggests for second language learning) and the kids loved it and they were really learning.

 

June 9th

Kelly and her best friend, who called that sub Ping Pong head, have missed most of first period for the past two weeks.  Kelly still hasn’t even had her oral exam – she has only been here one day since the oral exams and I gave them both their fifty point project to do that day.

 

So today they show up twenty-five minutes into day two of the exam. I tell them they need to get it done today (they don’t know that I have to turn grades in tomorrow since I won’t be here the day after that and grades are due). They both said they couldn’t’ miss 2nd period. I said they could come 6th then. They agreed.

 

But as I collected the tests they complained that that only gives them one and a half class to make up the exam. I said they also have to come during 1st lunch for the oral part so that’s plenty of time to take it all. They said they have to eat lunch and they want to come 8th period. I said not 8th but 7th is fine. They said they couldn’t miss that class and I would make them fail (missing my class the past two weeks hasn’t been a problem to them obviously.) I said they have to make choices, take the exam or not and fail this class, or miss a little of another regular class without exams. They went on complaining and I did say to stop whining and come 6th period and we’ll see from there how much more time they need.

 

They both said they would tell their mothers and as they left I said under my breath “whatever”.  Everaldo heard me and told them and Kelly said “Don’t whatever me”.

 

In my opinion, they have been missing class on purpose the past two weeks – to avoid getting citations so they can go to the big eighth grade dance. They seem to just be making a big deal just to make it, typical teenager whining.  Their choice is to make up the exam and do what’s best for their grade but since one of their mother’s already likes to call and complain a lot, I have a feeling that’s the route they will take.  My responsibility is to give them the chance to make up all the time in the exam (county says they need at least one hour and that’s what I offered- in class, lunch for only the oral part, and 6th period).

 

 June 11th

Yesterday was hell. The kids – especially the poor ones, are wild here on the last few days. In theMidwestthe last two weeks were hard.   Thank Goodness it hasn’t been two weeks of this. But these kids are in your face, insulting, rude. Mostly the poor and failing  students – not the students who have studied and cared all year from all ethnic races.

 

First period all week has been horrible with Max getting pissed off daily and the administrators just sending him back – duh!  Why do that?! Then yesterday Wild Child called me a “motherfucker” because I’m putting her on the department list for losing her book. I said under my breath “tengo mucho para decirte” (I have a lot to say to you).

 

She said “I don’t understand Spanish”

 

I said under my breath again “si tu esuchaste en classes no serias tan _________ aqui in espanol”(If you had listened in class you would not be so _______ here in Spanish)

 

I wanted to say stupid but didn’t want to use “tonto” (stupid) because I taught that word so I used the word I was taught as “stupid” whenever I heard it here by Spanish speakers: “pendejo.”

 

 Big mistake. An A student that hates me because she talks with one of the rebel upset students all the time heard me and said “that means asshole” then Everaldo got wind of it and yelled out it means “p____” in his country.  (He yelled out that word but it’s my least favorite in the world, a derogative for a body part) Oh no, that’s not what I thought it meant – I heard it meant like clown, stupid. 

 

Well Wild Child yelled that I had cussed her out so I told her what I meant to say. Rumors got around and I almost cried 2nd period about it.  Luckily the nice vice principal magically appeared – he hadn’t even talked to Wild Child and I told him what happened. He said he’d talk to her.

 

I was still scared all day of a Dr. Principal visit and just tried to get all the calculations for the three part final exam and grades done which took all day because I made a mistake. It ended up okay till 8th period when DJ was all mad about his grade but I kept my tongue! At home I felt better when a friend I telephoned confirmed that “pendejo” does mean stupid inColumbia and even the president says “pendejo.”

 

I took the next day off – it was planned and couldn’t have come at a better time – to let things cool off.

 

June 16th

Things went smoothly yesterday when I got back to work. In first period only Wild Child, Max, and Everaldo were still obnoxious and upset about the “pendejo” episode. They’ve been rude all year so whatever. I have some Guatemalan worry dolls I can give Wild Child today as a peace offering.

 

In 2nd period class I told them that I’m pregnant. Then word spread. A lot of the girls were excited – especially 6th period which I knew they would be. They all asked if it’s a girl or boy. I almost cried when Loud Mouth came up to me at dismissal and said she heard about the baby. After all my yelling at her to be quiet during Language Arts, she was excited for me. And another student that has said mean things half the year in Language Arts asked for my email and phone number in case she needs to talk – probably because of our journal assignment and I asked about her fight with her half sister. So I did connect to students. I did make a difference. I’m not the worse teacher in the world. Maybe it was worth it – just for these few students!  And Dragon and his mother gave me and my son lots of gifts (stuffed animals)!

 

That girl did call during the summer but didn’t leave me her phone number and I wanted to call her back but she was the one student whose contact information I did not get since she transferred into our school so late in the year.

 

June 17th

I’m alive!  I made it though a rough year!  I was kinda in shock that I was still alive! The kids were excited and looked great for the farewell ceremony. Even Wild Child had forgiven me as I showed her the worry dolls I was giving her as a gift and said I was sorry for yelling at her. After the ceremony she came by with her toddler cousin on her hip to say one final goodbye.

 

I almost cried during the ceremony when everyone clapped and cheered the mentally and physically disabled kids to support them just like they when they clapped and cheered the other students.  These kids are smarter and sweeter than I thought. 

 

When Dr. Principal took the stage they booed loudly and for a long time. Ouch! She’s in her own hell – student and teachers annoyed by her. She even had the math teacher do the gift giving for those teachers who aren’t returning.  Maybe she didn’t do the giveaway herself because she didn’t get gifts for those leaving (didn’t want to get us gifts) and he did.  That was nice of him. Four of the  new teachers are leaving and four who’ve been here awhile. Hmm!  But I felt like I sucked again later when I couldn’t find my pile of grades – messed up again at this dumb job. But today is my last day of feeling like a failure!!

 

June 18th

I woke up in a bad mood. Probably because at 4:30 A.M. I realized I forgot to erase my files at work. I don’t want someone laughing at what I wrote about Braggar and Dr. Principal. I’ll erase those files today after I put them on disks.  I’m trying to write a tell all.

 

Even yesterday Dr. Principal was ridiculous. Called me into her office for something dumb – asking if I noticed that some of the kids grades went down from first semester from a C, second semester a C, then a final grade of F. First off the computer doesn’t show me all their grades – I just press “combined”  (and I would have to look at each individual student to find out that information, and why would I?) But I realized it was the final exam that brought some kids’ grades down especially the loser kid they showed me an example of because her mother called. This was the kid who did some final project to pass with a C but then didn’t even take the final exam – by her choice!  I kept telling her she had to take the exam and persuaded her friend which kept that girl from failing.  I had already given the nice vice principal all my grade print outs so why did Dr. Principal need to call me into her office?  To humiliate me one last time? She’s such a jerk to always assume I’m dumb and wrong and that the parents are God. I’m glad she had a tough year. She has to suffer in the schools more. I’ll be living my real dream.

 

It was nice saying goodbye to the kind people – the math teacher, social studies teacher, my mentor, the instructional aid and my teacher’s assistant.  Mrs. Braggar and I just completely ignored each other.  I came home and thought, “What am I going to be stressed over now?” Hopefully nothing!

 

 

 

EPILOGUE:

 

1 out of 5 teachers quit.  60% who stay are considered inadequate.

 

 

I can’t say that I have lived a stress free life after never stepping foot into a public school again.  In reality, I have taught again. I just can’t get the teaching gene out of my system.  But now it is to groups of homeschoolers, adults learning English as a Second Language, or even GED students who are incarcerated.  These new teaching opportunities satisfy my desire to teach and passion for education and take away the part I was worse at – discipline, especially since the parents are right there or it’s only once a week.

 

I finished grad school and planned to be a professor but that was harder than I thought, especially with only a masters.  Plus I had another baby and had no idea a) how hard having two children is compared to one and b) he was very high needs.  Then we even had another baby who is still just a toddler.  Yet, reading back on this diary, especially the last year, I see how lucky I am that I have been leading the life I dreamed.  I’m staying at home, raising my sons, homeschooling, and squeezing in at least fifteen minutes a day to write.  I’ve also been hired to do some freelance videos.  It’s not easy living on my husband’s income especially since I could earn more as a teacher, but I think it’s worth it.  I hoped that the one thing I did teach all these students who passed through my classrooms, that the one thing you should never give up on is your dreams.  They point the way for your true path, your true future, your true career.

 

NOTE:

This is my real diary. I may sound bratty, catty, young, etc.  I didn’t mean to but it truly was my diary that I use to vent to myself. I never meant to publish it while I was writing it. I didn’t even look back on it or think of just putting these thoughts out to the world until two years after my last full time teaching assignment had ended.  I wanted to just put it out there – how a real teacher feels in real time and in a safe way unlike blogs today where the teacher can be fired – I already left. Of course I added some things to clarify and I changed most names (some of the Spanish nicknames the kids choose for themselves I kept and Blaine Ray is real and I still endorse and use his second language teaching methods).  So forgive me if it’s not a polished memoir but I’ll change it to that if some publisher wants me to. For now, it’s my real diary and is what it is. Oh, I did change some of the language so as not to offend any young reader and only left a few in for effect.  Just being honest, just like my diary.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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