Thursday, January 17, 2008

ELA is Dead...Long Live ELA!

Teaching is hard. I am in my 20th year of doing this…not counting a 4-year break. It never gets any easier…

My situation has been somewhat unusual. The last 8 years have been overseas. I have been working in a school that gives only one-year contracts which is not unusual. What is unusual is my school was bought by an international corporation 4 years ago. This corporation has several dozen schools in dozens of countries around the world. They have their own brand of curriculum and own brand of assessment. All schools are supposed to be on the same page at any given time. To me it is a very inflexible way of thinking, but that’s just my opinion.

This corporation also prefers teaching couples over single teachers. They don’t even provide basic insurance for my wife.

Last year they hired a new teaching couple. The wife was hired as an English/language arts teacher and the husband was hired as a math/science teacher. Funny thing was, I was already was the science teacher, so I was moved to teach 5th and 6th graders. This was mainly due to a large drop in the student population. It has steadily shrunk since the corporation bought the school.

We’ve also had 3 directors in 4 years. The latest director, a woman, is nothing but trouble. She is at her level of incompetence. I got word from her last Friday that I would not be getting a new contract for next year. I don’t know if she got orders from above or if she was acting on her own, but anyway, in the place where I have bought a home, have a residency visa, I will no longer be working.

To complicate matters more, our sister school, 80 miles inland, needs a science teacher and math teacher, since their previous science teacher/director was recently deported, and took his math teacher wife with him. So as of Monday, I will be the math and science teacher at this outpost school far away from the coast and my home. My wife is pissed.

The real losers in this are the students. My class will have to adjust to having several teachers covering them. The 3rd and 4th grade teacher will take over reading and language arts. To teach 2 grade levels at once is difficult, but to teach 4 different levels, has got to be almost impossible. The other teachers, who need their prep-times to prepare for their other classes, will now be teaching math and science to my old class. So, everyone suffers.

What I have found the most insulting from this, is the cold nature in which my current director has treated me on jumping on this grenade. She comes out smelling like a rose in this.

This morning she had snacks in the teacher’s workroom for a “Bon Voyage” for me. It was so lame, it was insulting.

1.) No staff was aware of this. We are a very small school, it would have taken no effort to rally the staff to have a little impromptu gathering in the morning. At least I could have said a few things.

2.) The presentation was totally half-ass. The “sign” above the snacks said, “Good Luck Barin” written with a used-up white board marker, so the ink was barely legible. It was so insensitive. It was just one more slap in the face with this. It was as if the director was saying “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave!”

I am glad I am leaving this school. I made this school a part of my life for the last 7 years. I defended and cheered this school. I was proud to work here, and now I am being treated like rubbish and being tossed out as such. I will finish up the school year at our sister school and I don’t know what’s in store for me after that. Maybe I’ll be heading back to the USA or staying here and taking a year off. I am uncertain of many things right now, but what I am certain of, I will be okay.

No worries.


Matthew Lee said...

come home. come home barin! there's juicy CD single calling you. jack and mike say come home. diane says come home. the grinder says eat me! the kids of silver need you dang it.
www dot tourdivide dot org

scotch said...

hey MM,
never have met you except over the DR and Ironspoke forums, but I feel bad for ya. Sounds like a raw deal. Hope the best for you.

Steinar said...

follow your heart. look out your window. look at your wife. let time stand still for a moment. then decide. you have it good there and don't seem to be totally thrilled with the states at times. i envey you cuz of your limitless possibilities--right now. all of us are not as don't feel burdened, not even for a minuet!
peace be with you now!
your friend, steinar
here are the lyrics to a good rush song (time stand still) for ya:

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath,
Before I start off again
Driven on,
Without a moment to spend
To pass an evening
With a drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin
Id like to pause,
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim --
Who learns to transcend --
Learns to live
As if each step was the end

Time stand still --
Im not looking back
But I want to look around me now
See more of the people
And the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment
A little bit longer
Make each sensation
A little bit stronger
Experience slips away...

I turn my face to the sun
Close my eyes,
Let my defences down --
All those wounds
That I cant get unwound

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause --
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain,
Whose ship runs aground --
I can wait until the tide
Comes around

Make each impression
A little bit stronger
Freeze this motion
A little bit longer
The innocence slips away...

Summers going fast --
Nights growing colder
Children growing up --
Old friends growing older
Experience slips away...