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Monday, May 9, 2011

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been, er, Gonna Be

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drhurn/16611738/sizes/m/in/photostream/
     Not sure what I should think about this school year that is about to wrap up.  On first glance our school is finding itself with tons of offers to share what it is that we do.  We have hoards of people coming through learning about the way we do Project Based Learning (PBL).  
     We have our first full class of seniors about to graduate.  I have seen this senior class since they were sophomores and many of them have matured beyond my wildest expectations.  There are some who may never mature but that is true of every senior class since senior classes were invented.
     As for our staff we are about to see some changes.  Officially we had to downsize and one teacher had to be asked to leave.  And, just today, our superintendent made it clear that there will be additional budget cuts next school year and I think we'll see another one or two of us being asked to leave 12 months from now.  I also see one or two other teachers leaving to continue with their education or to pursue career improvements.  So, I think we might look quite different come August.
    Where does that leave me?  Unfortunately, (if you have read my last post), I have dug myself a pretty big hole here.  As they would say just before a shootout: "it don't look pretty."  I came to this school to be the "old math guy" and I was just that and old math guy.  Like a much older man, I did not respond to the pressures of bringing our school's math scores up and I really let our principal down.  That has proven to be something that I may never overcome.  It's hard to ever get back trust and my boss just doesn't trust me.
    Last year was even worse.  We had a combination of a large number of students with poor math skills and a large number of a certain minority who were represented by these students with poor math skills.  I was paired with a super, young, math guru and we couldn't get the job done as a team.  The scores of that group of students ended up forcing our school to attain a rating that was extremely low.  Once again I personally had let my boss down and the school down and any hope of improving my standing with him vanished.
     Now, this year, I am the lowest rated teacher at our school (according to the Teacher Advancement Program, or TAP, rating numbers).  Just stating that out loud makes me want to throw up and I'm nothing but a joke to the other teachers.  Sure, I'm a nice guy, so I still get invited to parties and get-togethers.  (But I'm not exactly picked for kick ball, if you know what I mean).
    So, we can expect to have teachers asked to leave by the end of next year, hmmmm who might that be?  Well, I think I'm going to surprise you after starting off so negative here.  It ain't going to be me.  I owe it to myself and my family to be gainfully employed, with a contract in hand, 12 months from now.  So that means I need to get my butt in gear.  If you haven't read my last post then this might be a good time to look at it.  There's much of what I wrote here in that post.  But I don't think I really knew just how bad I was as a teacher until all of these straws started piling up on my camel's back.  I heard it creaking but I'm not going to let it break.
    If you do end up reading this then leave a comment.  I could use the spiritual backing of others and I want to know that one or two of you out there are going to be rooting me on in my quest to "not be the worst teacher in my school!"  The following year I'd like to, not only be employed, but I'd like to think that teachers think enough of me to consider me for professional guidance.  And, most of all, I'd really like to see an offer of doing some professional development, PD,  (summer of 2012) where I am doing the PD and it is on a bigger stage than our school district.