Summer time – for Chicago teachers the living’s not easy….

     So sadly, I’ve been too busy to get around to this little blog.  But now that another school year is behind me I feel like there’s tons going on.

     So at work – the last day of school was bittersweet.  Most of my amazingly awesome team is leaving for other/better positions at better schools, or better-paying schools.  As a founding teacher, its hard to see my teammates leave – especially when I wished so hard to join them in the exit this year.  Unfortunately, I had 3 really huge hiring let-downs this year – meaning that unless I want to be homeless – I am stuck where I am.  Oh well – c’est la vie.  So what am I doing this summer?  That’s right – since I desperately need money and my boyfriend is still not working (yay economic crash), I’m teaching summer school.  FUN!!!!

There’s nothing like getting 30 kids who all have behavior problems and putting them into one hot, sparse classroom all summer long.  I planned it to be as easy as possible for them to pass – so what happens?  Most of them have failed the first 2 quizzes.  I haven’t started putting the grades into the gradebook yet – but I plan on doing all of that tomorrow.   So far 3 kids have been expelled.  I’m hoping by the end of this week the numbers will be down even further so its more manageable.  (They only get to mess up a couple of times before they’re expelled – if expelled they have to repeat the grade they failed).  So let’s talk about expulsions.  Here’s what happened to the first kid.  1)  He rides his bike to school & forgets his lock – so he asks the school office if he can store it there until the end of the day & is obliged.  2)  He forgets that he rode the bike to school & wants to ride a bike home.  3)  He steals someone else’s bike outside of the school & gets caught.  (You don’t get assigned to summer school for being a genius.  The second kid to get expelled was talking back in class, & sent to the summer school principal’s office – where she talked back to him while he called her mom.  When mom came up to the school she refused to leave or speak normally & ran off – then when the security guard brought her back to the front she screamed in the security guard’s face and called her “hey goofy don’t touch me”.  You give a kid a second chance to pass a grade – they take a mile….

I’m trying to spend my summer losing weight since I have little time during the school year to get in the hours that I actually need at the gym during the school year. 

I try to not watch the news at all – since teachers are getting slammed in the news all over the place.  For those of you who don’t live in Chicago – the new CPS CEO (who is totally unqualified & was fired from his last job – and isn’t even a product of the American educational system) is totally insane.  He cut the 4% raise Chicago Public School Teachers were told they were getting – 2 days after giving all the higher-ups a raise.  If you’re saying that you had to cut teachers’ raises because of the budget crisis – most teachers would have understood.  They would have taken the hit lying down for the betterment of our students – but then you raise the salaries of the people that sit in offices making schools suck more?  In front of them?  And expect teachers not to be pissed off?  RIGHT.

So check out this great idea – he wants to take away teachers’ professional development days & put kids in the classroom on those days – which would be OK.  If I wasn’t required by law to accumulate 120 hours of professional development every 5 years to keep my teaching certification.  Are you going to pay me to go get my PD somewhere else?  Are you going to give me more days off per year to get those hours taken care of?  Of course not.  Because it’s greedy of me to expect that.

Get ready for the best part.  He wants teachers to do MANDATORY home visits.  Really?  Because a lot of the parents of students that I have refuse to come to parent teacher conferences.  Or they make appointments and don’t show up.  Or they live in neighborhoods that I wouldn’t go to even if I was being paid (which I assume that I wouldn’t be since this is supposed to take place on my own time?)  I’m not saying I’m totally against the home visit thing – IF I’M WANTED.  Many of my students’ parents are confrontational about education.  Or they are absent.  Or they are too disengaged from their child’s lives to even remember my name.  Safety issues aside (everyone loves walking into strange buildings in gang-ridden neighborhoods right?), let’s talk about just being respected.  Am I going by myself?  Will an administrator be with me?  What’s the point of just showing up?  At least at the school I have the ability to end a conversation when the things that I need to cover are taken care of.  In someone’s private home, you have little to no control over the situation.  You can be interrupted by any number of things (hold on my phone is ringing, hold on my kid is puking, hold on the neighbors are screaming, etc).  Plus, if the family feels even for an instant ashamed of their home or belongings or neighborhoods, etc  it could actually DAMAGE the professional relationship that you’ve already had and maintained with them for half of the school year.  People are proud.  Anywho – check this douche and his ridiculous ideas out:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/24/brizard-emanuel-suggest-c_n_883976.html

That being said – I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most phenomenal, talented, caring, amazing teachers that are in the entire business of education.  And it’s crap like THIS that is making them leave the profession – go on to jobs where they get a modicum of respect and make double the money.  We need to realize that the crappier that we treat the people who see our children more than their parents, we need to realize that the people who are the best in the business need to be held onto – treated with the professional respect they deserve, make a living wage, and do whatever we can to KEEP THEM IN THE PROFESSION.  Not do as much as possible to chase them out of the profession.  In no other profession can you work 60+ hours a week, have a masters degree, and be treated like absolute garbage on a daily basis. 

To all of the teachers who are great at their jobs who are dealing with all this crap that has NOTHING to do with teaching your students – I feel you.  And to all of the crappy teachers who have the good jobs in the good districts – PLEASE GOD RETIRE SO I CAN GET A DECENT JOB!!!!!!

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