The possibility of losing my teaching job has been on the back burner for some years now. This year, it is very real. And suddenly, it could be me. We will know our fate in June, after the students are done.
“We” are a small staff who have worked together for 13+ years. I worked for many organizations in my business career – a chapter I closed 20 years ago. This is the longest I’ve worked for any organization, and longer than many marriages last. I am sad thinking of leaving this great team and my students.
Numbers for state funding were way down this year, due in part to a new accounting procedure we couldn’t utilize to count students. That shot our budget right into the toilet. The nature of the students we teach, and the anti-teacher legislation passed in the state of Michigan these past two years, are a few factors pointing to the demise of our program as we’ve known it.
On Monday the superintendent alluded to the fact that we may lose not just one, but maybe two teachers next year. More computerized instruction is part of the plan. The really scarey moment was when the sup alluded to maybe not needing “highly qualified” teachers to run this yet to be revealed new program – a distinction required by the state for public school teachers.
The icing on the dread cake was when the idea of only needing part-time instructors was mentioned. What kind of low ball nightmare is my district going to inflict on me and/or my co-workers? I hate to think our hard work and dedication to the district would be rewarded with a literal punch in the gut and pocketbook, but it may come to that.
I’m too young to retire. I’ll never have 30 years of service since I switched careers – another way to retire. The irony is that two months ago I finally paid off the $20,000+ in student loans I incurred going back to school to become a state certified teacher, a requirement by law to teach in MI public schools.
Teachers have become the target of unbelievable hatred and vitriol in public venues. Teachers are the reason for all of society’s problems. Teachers are the reason why test scores and funding problems exist. Next year the plan is to tie teacher pay and evaluations to student test scores. Needless to say, morale in this once respected profession is very low.
I’ve taken the road less traveled before. I just thought this would be my work, my career, my calling, until I retired.
Even though my future is uncertain, I’ll keep doing the very best I can for my students because I’m a professional and I care for the youngsters I work with.
I haven’t been sleeping very well. Need to update my resume. Need to remain positive and wait for the news. Need to think of options. Need to save my pennies.
Guess it’s time to meander down that tree lined fork in the road of life and see what’s up around the bend.
Wish me luck!