I’ve always wanted to teach high school. This is going on year 24 for me and at year 15, I just didn’t have the “gumph” that was needed to do so. You see, I’ve been really fortunate to have a slot of certifications under my belt, which makes me marketable (or this blessing can also.m be a curse). You see, I’ve always taught 6th grade and, for most of my years, English Language Arts. I’ve been fortunate enough over the past few years to reach higher level and gifted kids- for the most part, those that actually WANT to learn. Our school is a STEM Certified school (which really does t mean a hill of beans to the people that work IN the building and see the foolishness going on)Anyway, teachers have come and go, especially in this program. I realized last year that I had been the only classroom teacher left at this school that started with this initial program.
A few years ago, the principal that brought me in would no longer be the building’s leader and a new “sheriff” was coming to town. Like all faculty /staff members, we try to get a feel for who is going and their assigned motive. The rumor was, “there was a lot going on and the new person was to be the fixer” and we wanted to know who needed fixin’? Rumor was it was the adults (side eye moment). What? The teachers? Um, where did you get THAT data from? (Since we’re driving everything on data). So already, we needed to feel this situation out, but since that was the case, the new principal came in being a hardball, not asking the leaders what we think (I mean, just because were teachers, it doesn’t mean we don’t have the leadership degrees and can’t make good leadership decisions. I’m not a building principal by a choice). Well, she did come in making changes, but changes are good. My issue begin to erupt when another leader (the new STEM Director and former AP at another local high school) came in the picture. You see, both of these ladies came in together and because they were both former AP’s together in the same system, they were in the same sorority of leadership. My first encounter with this new team (new principal, new STEM Director, and the 2 APs) was when I was called into a meeting and asked how I felt about changing content. They wanted to to teach Science Research. I told them I was uncomfortable doing it, but because I was certified in English and Science I was more that qualified. I’ve never taught science or research, so what makes anyone think I want to do that?? So I embraced the change. A few months later, I was called into the office again. You see, the STEM director had a problem with me being the team leader and initiating communication with my parents. She told the new principal that I was somehow taking her job of communicating with the 8th grade parents. The principal fussed at me with the director present. Told me that I shouldn’t be making team changes without first communicating with her the principal) and proceeded to say something profoundly to me... “Ms. X, I thought EYE was the principal of the building.” I pushed my chair back, lowered my head, and apologized for being a leader. I spent the next year, struggling with doing things that unofficial leaders do (communicate with parents, plan field trips, coordinate team meetings, etc.) but nonetheless I persevered.
Over the course of two years, I was asked to go back to ELA. I was also “bribed” out of STEM. I was hoodwinked into believing I would be in STEM up until the day AFTER the transfer window for the county closed. Wow!! My colleagues fought for me to do STEM but I guess that wasn’t good enough. When I asked the assistant principal (over teacher assignments) why I was moved. He said it was because of certification. I knew that was a lie, but because he was over me, I respected the lie even though I didn’t agree with it. To pacify the decision, I would get fewer kids to teach and have an extra planning period. I spent the entire summer pouting (and cussing out the administration team to myself). The new school year started. The STEM director that took me out of Research was gone, so now it was me and the principal and her other 2 fearless leaders. Because I stayed to myself the year prior (and others did too) the principal realized that it wasn’t the adults that needed the real fixing and she began to eat humble pie (for me it was too late though).
One day in September, I was having one of those days... sick of another meeting, and kids who don’t wanna do right. I called my mom and asked her to loan me $2,300.00 because I was going to the county office to resign. The principal wasn’t there this particular day. I grabbed my purse and keys and left the room (yes, students were in the room, but at that moment, I really didn’t care). One of my coworkers ran after me and told me to just take a minute and regroup, so I did. The principal asked for a meeting the next day and we talked. She told me if I ever needed to feel that way again to just call her. She also asked me to be honest-so I did. I asked her why was I moved off of STEM (because I know it wasn’t because of certification) she admitted to me it was because they needed a strong teacher for non-STEM. She told me that she needed a strong leader. (This was the same person that had an issue with my leadership skills)!! I explained to her that I’ve been bitter a long time but it motivated me to take the HS Certification test (and pass it)! So shortly thereafter, she had one of those administrative meetings in September and the next day, one of the APs decided to retire (one week before state testing). I told my hallmates to watch out because a tsunami was coming! We had to interview for the new AP. In February, when the other AP told us that he was taking a job at the State Dept. of Education, I saw the storm coming.
When it was time for the transfer window to open, my transfer was the first to hit the principal’s desk. It was a transfer to all the high schools in the county. Shortly, thereafter we got the announcement that the principal was out of a job. Someone from the county asked if I would stay, I quickly said, “NO!” I would probably consider it though, but the new AP changed that. My son, who also goes to the school, has had perfect attendance for 7 years and this quickly changed with a suspension that she gave him because a little girl (very light skinned) he liked (and she liked him) were playing one morning and he left a small mark on her arm. The girl didn’t fuss about it, and he got two days for “battery”. At this moment, I was DONE. He could’ve gone to the alternative school which wouldn' t affected his attendance, or even ISS like most kids, but nope, she had to play hardball. (So, yes, she’s one of my leaving motivators also). I couldn’t wait to say “adios”. Most people say, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”, well, I’m not most people. To the fearless leaders (who left your teachers behind), to the former STEM Director who got a new leadership job and left me burnt, to the new AP that I pray I never see again who will find out really soon you’ve traveled down a path and are burning people and you have no idea who they know, to the principal (who is not the principal anymore who never apologized for her wrong doings)... for motivating me to keep on pushing when you tried to tear me down, I bid you Goodbye.