Wednesday, March 22, 2006


My school is driving me crazy. Not the school I'm teaching in, but the school I go to. Maybe I should say "school," since is it really a school if you don't learn anything? Really it's just a building into which I am pouring tens of thousands of dollars of money that I have not yet earned. Fabulous.

The reason I'm annoyed is that I'm applying to work at schools out of state, but I still have credits left to take at my school here in the summer. Most schools want me to start in the middle of the summer, but if I do then I won't finish all my credits. And, of course, you can't transfer ANY credits in from another institution. You know, because the education I'm getting in my current courses is so high quality that I wouldn't want to sully my degree with any inferior outside courses. Ugh. I just want to get my degree and get the h out of here.

Seriously, I feel like a second grade student who keeps getting busywork ditto worksheets from the teacher and is bored and appalled. Although my reading level is actually at a third grade level at the moment. But I shouldn't joke, because there are people my age with a third grade reading level. Many of them are high school graduates! Something wrong there I think.

Anyway, I'm looking at schools in Boston, New York, DC...I love the Midwest where I'm from, but it's too early to move back yet. "You can't go home again." Who is that? Tom Wolfe?
Sometimes I feel that way because I think I need to accomplish something before I face anyone I used to know. And that really hasn't happened, especially this year! Good lord. It's been such a waste. I might as well have taken a big loan out of a bank in cash, put it all in a pile, and burned it. At least then I would have gotten some heat out of the deal.

I was talking to someone at a job fair who is starting what looks to be a really great school. He was saying that it's going to be hard for me because I don't have enough experience (usually 2 years is what people want) to get into one of these really good charter schools. But I have too much experience to want to work at a DOE school or a crappy charter school. So really I'm screwed. Who knows, maybe someone will take some pity on me. I make a good sad face.

On the flip side, the other school is going well and I'm enjoying myself. It's challenging because the school doesn't really have a unified behavior system, so I'm sort of making one up as I go along. Today in one of my classes, this one kid who is always loud and ridiculous wasn't there, and it was like a whole different experience. During the Do Now, there was total silence. It was shocking. This one kid is really able to affect the whole class negatively. Nothing I've tried with him works. He just has no impulse control, or else doesn't use it. I don't know what to do with him.

Anyway, I'd better go do some work. I have to write a test on the Civil War and Reconstruction. It should be interesting.


At March 22, 2006 9:35 PM, Anonymous Bill said...

Thomas Wolfe. b. 1900. John Updike would be having your ass right now.

At March 23, 2006 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just so you know... the years you spend in a different state system will not accrue toward your retirement total. At least this is true in NY. You may not care today.. but you may care down the road. You also may wish to rethink NY.

I have been teaching in NYC for 15 years and I'd love.. did I say LOVE!! to move to a state that has a more reasonable standard of living. On my salary... (close to $80,000) I can't afford to buy a house or even a nice two bedroom apartment in a location I'd like. And even if I had been smart and bought a few years back when the housing costs were more reasonable... I wouldn't be able to live here after I retired because the property taxes force any middle class retired person to move elsewhere. (where I work average property taxes are over $15,000 a year)

So.. can I move to Austin? I can't. Not if I want the full benefit of my pension, not if I don't want to start over in salary steps. Be careful. Teaching is a profession where you are stuck in a state and in a district if you want the benefit of your years.

Here's the real deal. You have about 5 or 6 years to figure out where you are going to live and work for the rest of your working life. Your value will not translate to more money if you want to transfer (districts don't pay for experience over a certain number of years), you can't just relocate unless you don't need a decent pension and if you want to experience career growth, there are few places to go besides administration (not a very pleasant choice in many places)

Of course, none of this is important to you yet.

At March 23, 2006 5:29 PM, Blogger Herr Professor said...

Good points from anonymous, but it also depends on the district you choose. In my district, they are constantly looking for teachers; every year starts with as many as 10 teaching slots filled by subs at my school. Four years ago, the district paid $9,000 to cover moving costs of a teacher coming here from Seattle! Unfortunately, the good districts usually aren't that desperate for teachers, I wouldn't think. If they need do you, they'll find some leeway in allowing your years of service to transfer to their salary schedule.

Cute side note on the unfilled slots: the schedule is printed for the student, and the class with no teacher is listed as Vacancy A (or Vacancy B, or whatever). Every once in a while, a kid will come up and say "What's Mr. Vuh-CAN-see (Vacancy) like?" It's enough to make you laugh til you cry. Or cry til you laugh. Or just plain cry.

At March 27, 2006 6:33 PM, Blogger EdWonk said...

Well... let's have a post! :-)

At April 03, 2006 3:27 PM, Blogger Ms. Teacher said...

I see someone had to encourage you to continue writing in late February. I recently joined the blogging world myself and had been very much enjoying yours. Even though you haven’t posted in a while, I check everyday. Maybe when you have a little time on your hands you could fill us in on what’s happening. It is nice to hear from someone just starting out. In a way, it reminds me of how hard it used to be. Not that everyday is a picnic now, mind you. Also, I love your title.

At April 05, 2006 12:24 PM, Blogger jsphchung said...

I came here from this weeks issue of US News and World Report.

I was just interested how 11th graders - in your experiences at least were unable to identify who were fighting who during the American Revolution.

In my opinion, that can probably be because the NYC curriculum is designed to teach American history starting the 11th grade. It seems like such an obvious thing to know but before the 11th grade, I don't remember having discussed the American Revolution in ANY of my classes - not that I didn't know it already...

It's really hard attending a school in NYC and especially if attending a public school in NYC. The teachers, after about 15 years are sick of what they do and are waiting for their retirement plan - at least from what I see. It's a battle to get kids to listen and most veteran teachers are unwilling to fight anymore.

At April 09, 2006 12:31 PM, Blogger J-Dog said...

Congrats on the U.S.News plug!!
My own undergrad Ed experiences were in much smaller, Southern venues, but I can relate, especially after Elizabeth Gold's (do I have the title right?) "Brief Intervals of Horrible Sanity." From the grad school angle, I'm still fending off the insistences of others that I'd be better off finishing a Masters in Teaching program. Oh, as if! Thanks for reminding me what an abject hell grad school can be, and Education must be the worst of it. --Best of luck!

At August 11, 2010 10:05 PM, Anonymous nisha said...

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