Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Beast: Part 15

I walked to the meeting with Mr. President and The Beast with an odd sort of confidence. I had, after all, won. It had beaten me down all year long, but when it came to the big one, the battle that mattered, I won.

But what had I won?

Congratulations! You've won another year in Hell!

Even though I had survived, a part of me still didn't know if I'd try to stay. I had a month to decide whether or not to retract my resignation letter, and I didn't have any other job prospects, so I figured I would see how it would go.

I went to the meeting in hopes Mr. President wanted to get to the bottom of things. I hoped he would back me, or at the very least be supportive of BOTH of us and be the mediator to try and make a plan for the future.

I was severely disappointed. I was handed the following "contract" and asked to sign on the dotted line:

The following items are preliminary duties/responsibilites expected of Mrs. Lastname.
  1. Attend all professional development meetings requested and report back to The Beast on the Thursday following.
  2. Meet with The Beast every Thursday during 1st hour.
  3. When an absence occurs, Mrs. Lastname will leave lesson plans for the substitute and have a pictured seating chart. Lesson plans need to cover a full 50 minute period. The plans will be left with Mrs. Secretary for teh sub to pick up when they sign in.
  4. Give The Beast emergency lesson plans for every class, should an unexpected absence occur. This needs to be turned in by March 31.
  5. Mrs. Lastname will collaborate with fellow CA teachers at least once a week to devise common lesson plans and common assessments. This will be done during 1st hour.
  6. Mrs. Lastname will observe Mr. Junior Science, Mr. Senior Science, and Mrs. Math on the dates The Beast has arranged.
  7. Mrs. Lastname will meet with Mr. Senior Science or Mr. Senior Science II at 2:30 on April 2 to discuss proper lesson planning, including GLE's (grade-level expectations...and that shouldn't have an apostrophe, but The Beast typed this, and I wanted to make sure I didn't alter it in any way lol)
I completely understand the expectations that have been placed upon me. If questions arise I will consult wtih The Beast immediately.

What? So I was supposed to sign a document saying I would correct these things that I hadn't even DONE. Things that had been fabricated? And if I had questions or concerns I had to face The Beast? The one I'd gone head-to-head with? I had no liason? Nothing?


But. I signed it. I figured it was no big deal since I already had most everything ready to hand over. I was irritated that I was going to miss three hours of classes for these "meetings" where I was supposed to learn SO MUCH about teaching, but whatever. I was also quite irritated that I was being forced to sign a paper promising to meet with Fatbelly and Idiocy when I wasn't the one who had ducked out of those meetings. Idiocy had been told she didn't even HAVE to participate. So now I was back to planning for her? Fine.

I gave up 2 of my 5 planning hours every week. The Beast had given me a matter of DAYS to do the emergency plans, assuming I had none I guess. I handed in the emergency plans from my bottom desk drawer, where they'd always been, on the due date. I attached a seating chart with a diagram of the room and student names on it. When The Beast looked at it, It said, "I said a PICTURED seating chart." Yep. It wanted me to get into the grade program and use the students' school mug shot and copy/paste it to my seating charts. Honestly. I did it. It was dumb, but I did it. I was the only person in the school, I think, who did that, but I did it.

I showed up for my Thursday meeting the first week, and it went quickly. It didn't have much to say, and I made It sign my paper saying I had attended. The following weeks it cancelled the meeting, and each time I made sure I had e-mail verification as to why, or that IT had done the cancelling, not me.

The work of documenting was becoming greater, and It was working harder at trying to get me on a slip.

I met with Mr. Senior Science to talk about lesson plans. He didn't understand why my plans were in question. I showed him my plan book from the whole year, and how I had attached GLEs to every lesson. He thought they even looked better than his own. They had been on my desk all year. But I turned them in anyway.

Finally I went to observe these "Master Teachers" in their classrooms, and that's when I decided this whole thing was for the birds.

While Jr. Science set up a lab, he let the kids work on homework. The kids mostly just sat and talked. About half-way through the hour they traded and graded papers. The kids and the teacher argued for about five minutes on point values and kids argued for half credit on some of their answers. Finally he started the experiment, but it wouldn't work. He went to get another teacher to help, then ended up moving the whole class to that teacher's room. Before the experiment was complete, the bell rang.

And I have poor planning?

Nothing against him. He is a smart guy and did a good job. But it just proved MY point. They're kids. You can't always control them. Sometimes there is chaos. Sometimes plans don't go so well. But what could I say?

The math teacher was much the same. She let them argue about how much longer they had to finish homework. They talked out in class. Some of them didn't pay attention. It was a ridiculous waste of my time. The main thing I learned? These kids behave for me the same way they behave for all teachers. Good most of the time, but seeing what they can accomplish.

Feeling more oppressed than ever, I thought it would never end. I was still considering quitting without a back-up plan when I got a call. There was a job opening at a small school thirty miles away. And I had an interview.

Still thinking I would "wait and see," I made plans for the Interview. I didn't tell ANYONE.

The interview went well, and I would find out in a few days. I still wasn't sure what to do. I didn't WANT to leave that school, but I wanted to leave the persecution.

Then Mr. Assistant caught me in the hallway. The school had called him as a reference, so he knew (after we made amends he told me to use him as my reference from now on).

"What are you thinking?" he asked.

"I don't know," I told him honestly.

"It seems like things are ok, but gosh Andrea, I really think it's going to get worse. I mean, I'm not telling you what to do, but I'm afraid if you stay it will just start worse next year. I mean, I feel like It's setting you up to fail. You have all these stipulations and stuff, and now the board is watching. The Beast didn't cover Its bases last time, but this time It knows what It's up against and It will come back bigger and better."

I knew he was probably right. But at the same time, the lies had to stop now. It knew It could do nothing without documentation, right?

I decided to get a hold of my former principal, Bob Boss. I sent him an e-mail alerting him about the situation, and waited to see if he would respond at all. I knew that it was rumored he'd been run out, so I hoped he could offer some insight, but I feared he would not want a part of it. I bared my soul and told him pretty much everything in a nutshell.

I was shocked when he emailed me back within 24 hours, and even MORE shocked at what he had to say.

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