A woman sits quietly in a drab office with a knot in her throat. She's worked here twenty years, and has only been called to the office a handful of times, none of which were for positive feedback. She's heard rumors, and she's had that yucky gut feeling, but she still doesn't know why she's here.
The past two years have been Hell. It all started with an upset stomach. She soon had stomach pain she couldn't bear, and when she went to the doctor he told her that her gallbladder must come out immediately. He sent her to the hospital and she prepared for the minor surgery.
Even though she's been at her full-time job for nearly twenty years, she still doesn't have paid health insurance. She doesn't even have the option to buy into the group. She has the surgery, and is bombarded with medical bills and harassment for months.
When she finds a knot in her chest, you can imagine why she hesitates to go to the doctor...
Eventually she finds help at a local health clinic. They send her for tests and find the tumor is malignant and rapidly growing. Her world crumbles. Eventually she is able to obtain state insurance due to her possible long-term disability, and she begins treatment.
Chemo is hard on her, and she stays home for a few days after every treatment, but as soon as she can, she goes back to work, wearing her wig and trying to keep her head up. She endures surgery and radiation, and is still at work every day she possibly can be. The library is a quiet environment, and she is able to be at work a lot of days she probably didn't need to be. She only leaves early for doctors appointments when she has to, and schedules her radiation after school so she won't miss work.
After enduring all this, she doesn't know if she can handle one more upset.
"We're sorry, Terry, but we are eliminating your position. We do need an aide in the elementary special needs class, though, so you will be re-assigned there."
Her mind reels. She's been there longer than any para-professional in the whole district. She'd rather do anything else. Her nerves are frazzled and she is an introverted person anyway. Surely they can give her a better choice of position. She wonders if this is punishment for missing so much work.
"Can't I be a para in the high school at least? It's the only place I've worked since I came here," she pleads.
"You're lucky to have a job at all," he replies coldly. "We have a stack of applications a mile-high. If you don't like it, you can move on," he adds. Tears fill her eyes. She loves her job. She's loved it since she was moved to the library years ago.
"Why can't Mrs. X go there, and I take her spot? I've been here TWENTY years," she offers. He looks at her with a sneer.
"We are not going to take someone else out of their position just so you can have a job you prefer," he says hatefully.
"You wouldn't make a high school teacher move to the elementary," she argues, knowing she just doesn't have it in her to work with elementary kids.
"Take it or leave it," he says.
Defeated, she accepts the news. She shows up for her new job with a cheerful smile, determined to make the best of it. To her dismay, it seems her "reputation" preceeds her. They tell her they know she doesn't want to be there, and that she needs to change her attitude for the sake of the children.
She is put in a room with a certified teacher and two other aides. The teacher gives the aides their lessons, opens up the day, then the aides are left to deal with and teach the unruly children all day. While the teacher goes about her "paperwork," the woman is slapped, pinched, kicked, and hit. She is called a bitch. She is spit on. Still unable to use many of her arm and chest muscles from her surgery, she fights daily to help wrangle the children, spending the day in physical and emotional agony.
At the end of the day she goes home, tired from head to toe and feeling horrible. She misses her library, her books, her older kids. She misses the quiet. Of all the things she's been through in the past two years, this is the icing on her cake. Or her mud-pie. But because she is so close to her retirement, and because it's too late to start-over anywhere else, she endures. She fights yet another battle when what she really needs is a leave of absence from all the turmoil she's endured.
This is the story of my mom and the crappy ass school she works for =/ It breaks my heart. She can retire in two years, but two years is an eternity when you are physically and emotionally abused every day. Of course we must be fair and PC and not punish the children. Afterall, they can't "help" the way they are. And people wonder why I'm not busting the doors to get back in a classroom.