Today, I was going to post a character sketch of Denna, the female love interest of Kvothe in The Kingkiller Chronicle series. That’ll happen. Maybe Friday, maybe Saturday, it’ll happen. I’ve pretty much written it, I just have to put the finishing touches on it. But, I’m not in the mood for that today.

Actually, I’m not really in the mood to be bookish at all today. I kind of just want to be self-centered and talk about ME. Usually, I save this for the weekends, but I’ve got a lot going on right now, and I feel like venting. If you’re not in the mood for it, tune in tomorrow when I get back to books and whatnot.

No, this isn’t just a book blog, this is also a Mandy blog. So, let’s talk about me, Mandy.

Now, I’m not looking for sympathy–I’ve got things under control. I just want to vent.

So, yesterday I received my pink slip at the school. Now, before you think this is a pity party, just know that I knew this was coming. I was pink-slipped last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and well, this is my fourth pink slip in five years of teaching. I’m used to it, and I knew it was coming.

So, I’m slightly bummed, just because it’s always an uncomfortable situation when your boss gives you a letter saying that you will no longer be needed in the upcoming year, “we’re sorry, but the budget…”, yada, yada, yada. And the sad looks that your colleagues give you is always depressing, because, of course, they knew that you were going to be pink-slipped too. Sucks to be you, bro!

Here’s the thing that always gets under my skin, and I know it gets under my bosses’ skin too. I am a kickass teacher. I’m not being cocky. It’s a fact. My students are engaged, I get them excited about learning, and my students always perform well. That’s saying something, considering that many of my incoming 7th grade students come at a 4th grade level. By the end of the year, every year that I have taught, the test results prove that I raise my students to proficient and advanced levels, which means I usually help my kids advance a few grade levels in about nine months time. Perhaps the best indicator for me has always been that the students who get busted for drugs, who are on the truancy watch list, who are most teachers’ worst nightmare…these kids always perform well in my class and have been known to skip every period except my class and lunch.

But, I’m the one that’s let go EVERY YEAR. All because I’m the new kid on the block, with only 5 years of experience, while the senior teachers sit back at their desks, collect their paychecks, and continue to be mediocre. Houston, we have a problem!

And here’s the sad thing–I’m not the only one. I work at a school that no one wants to work at–urban San Diego–where many of the kids are homeless, or have one or both parents in prison, or if they do have parents at home, they’re completely unfit due to various forms of abuse. Also, the majority of my students are English Language Learners. Yet, I’m estimating that at least half of our staff received a pink slip yesterday, and the majority of them were energetic, innovative young teachers who want to work with this population! And again, meanwhile, the staff that didn’t receive pink slips are the ones with seniority, who don’t want to be at our school (they were placed at our school because none of the other schools wanted them, and they’re too senior to get rid of). Just collecting paychecks and bitching about how bad our students are and how they receive no support from the administration. Same shit, different year for the majority of them.

So, what’s your point, Mandy? I thought this wasn’t going to be a pity party!

Well, it’s not…I’ll be unemployed in July and either get hired back in September or work as a sub throughout the year while I pursue my Masters in English again. Or, I’ll collect unemployment checks and blog a lot.

My point is that, well, this sucks. And nobody seems to be talking about the dire situation that is education. And I’m on the fence on the unions. I dunno. It’s because of the unions that the shitty teachers are able to keep their jobs even though they’re doing a shitty job. But, at the same time, I’ve worked at schools without union representation, and it was a totalitarian dictatorship. The administrators treated the teachers like shit, blaming us for the students’ shortcomings, paid us crap wages, and would often put us “on blast” in front of the students, so that the students felt that they had all the power. I actually had students who thought that they could get me fired because I scolded them–they actually thought that they had all the power!

But, teaching is supposed to be about the students, not about the teachers. So, when it comes down to it, all of these layoffs are really hurting the students. I’ve become a pro at doing a good job even though I’m currently laid off, but that’s me. The stress that comes with knowing that you won’t have a job in a few months really begins to impact the morale. Who would blame a laid-off teacher for not caring anymore about their lessons, for deciding to cash in on their sick days before they’re lost at the end of the year. It’s a crappy spiral—you treat the teachers like crap, the education suffers, and students perform poorly.

So, my point is…I don’t know. Things kind of suck. I don’t know what the solution is, but I know there is a problem.

Sorry if my rant was ranty, but I just wanted to put it out there.

Back to the regularly scheduled program tomorrow!

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