Eating the Paste on Facebook

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ground Swell of Support

I have to say I really deeply appreciate all the comments I've been getting on my last few posts. People are being laid off across the nation and I'm damned lucky that I get to have a paycheck until June which means health insurance until July. I work in a horrid work environment, there's no two ways about it. I work with a bunch of teachers who don't keep plan books, who teach without previewing the information they're teaching, and who don't know enough about their subject matter to be properly teaching the student population.

Jon, I'm not as fed up as my post makes me sound. I still love what I do. I love teaching and I love having daily contact with kids. I hate to liken them to pets, but they say every time you pet an animal your blood pressure drops and your stress levels decrease. Well that's what these kids do for me. Every time one of them comes in and wants a hug or announces to me that they've done well on a test, I feel a lot of my stress melting away. One thing I can admit easily now is that it was a mistake to leave the DarkSide when I did. I should have had faith that the place would stay open because I haven't been happy in a teaching job since.

Let's add it all up... I left DarkSide in August of 2005. I went on to Hadley Elementary to do 3rd grade pullout special ed where I was so depressed and felt so isolated and undervalued that by February I had bailed. I accepted a position at Perkins, a residential in Central Mass. I packed up my life and moved to a town I'd never heard of whose only claim to fame is the giant horse in the center, and tried to start over. There was no way it was going to happen. My resentment at having had to uproot my life was obvious to everyone around me and I was gone by June. I stayed unemployed and tutored privately for the rest of that summer until I was hired at Fitchburg Public Schools which was like working in the worst ghetto school known to man. I didn't even make it through my 90 day probation period. Then I worked as a Visual Merchandising Director for Macy's (don't ask) and finally Seven Hills where I got punched, bit, kicked, hit, my glasses broken, my cell phone smashed, and chunks of my hair ripped out. I bailed from there in July.

So in the end, every job choice I've made for the last almost four years has been out of desperation. Desperation because DarkSide was closing. Desperation because I hated my job. Desperation because I had to quit before I opened my mouth and said something that would get me fired.

I suppose at this point Jon is right, the layoff is a blessing in disguise. Not only do I have the entire summer to really take my time and look for a job that will fit me, but I have the time to tutor privately, and I can finally move home to Western Mass without letting on to my parents that the real reason I'm moving home is because I'm worried about them being on their own.

Phoenix, I appreciate your support. You have faithfully read every word I've written and I know that being a teacher yourself you understand the unending level of garbage we frequently have to put up with. We get very little respect on a daily basis, not just from the state, the Department of Education, or the principal...but from the kids themselves and often the parents. We are the invisible ones who take their little darlings and raise them for 6 hours a day, helping them to learn all the things that their parents hope will guide them to become managers of successful hedgefunds so their children can support their fabulous lifestyle.

In conclusion (since I'm starting to ramble as smoke pours out my ears) Webmaster, there IS no respect in my field except for the respect I have for myself and the job that I do. My ultimate thank you will come someday when I turn on the news to watch one of my kids accept a Pulitzer (God willing).


  1. If there's one piece of advice that I know for sure is true at this point in my life, it's that the grass is never greener on the other side. The past is always painted rose coloured in your mind.

    My first job was a retail job, and I loved nearly every minute of it. If wages didn't play into the equation, I wouldn't mind doing that job again. Of course, when I actually think about how little respect there was there, how many hours a week I worked, how physically dangerous the workplace was, how much incompetence I met with, and the extremely high turnover rate (possibly due to the above factors), the job actually wasn't that good. In fact, looking back now, I don't know how I survived that job.

    I don't want to dissuade you from perhaps going back to the DarkSide... but just keep in mind there are always two sides to a coin. In any event, a job can just be a utilitarian means to an end (paying the bills); it's all decided by your mindset.

    At least you're ahead of the curve by having an advanced degree, which is more than many people can say.

  2. I can honestly say it does sound like a blessing for you. Each job you've had has been out of a need for the job, not for the love of it.

    I went through this in 2006, as I left a job I had for five years, and moved on. It was because of my boss/friend, who I decided was abusing our friendship to no end.

    So, I picked up and left. Instead of just applying for any job I took some time and found one that fits. I'm still there and happily employed. It doesn't pay much, but the children, and parents are great. My co-workers are a nice bunch also, and have their days just like any other person.

    I really wish you the best of luck, because you deserve it.

  3. Katherine, I hear what you are saying about the lack of respect as a teacher and I feel your pain. I don't have the experiences you have had (though I did do a 4-year stint in an inner-city school in the southern part of your home area of the state). I have found the biggest disrespect comes from parents (unfortunately often supported by administration), almost to the point where I'd love to be able to say (while still keeping my job), "If you know so much better than us, why are you sending your kid to us for 7 hours a day?" Keep the few bad parents out of it and things aren't so bad.

    Hang in there, don't give up, I'm sure you will find something that you can enjoy. And, don't forget to file for unemployment in the mean time. You deserve it.

  4. When I read your post, I read it as, "We are the invincible ones..." instead of "invisible". Either way seems to be public opinion, doesn't it? Teachers can handle anything (invincible) without the pay and respect they deserve (invisible). If there is a societal problem? Let the teachers fix it. We'll add another graduation requirement/after-school program/test and not fund it.

    Deep breaths... I need to check my state's job postings. I taught fifteen years and want to go back to it next year.

    We can both do this. :-D

    Kelly in Ohio