Pink Slipped… Kinda

An empty classroom is all that is left of the 2012-2013 school year.  Unfortunately, my assistant and I found a lot of leftover books and toys belonging to the children.  We’ll give phone calls to the parents but, most likely, the books and toys will all go too Goodwill or something.  Parents are like “My kids already got too many toys.”

This past week has been a rollercoaster filled with many ups and downs.  You can go from the high of the end or year celebration to the low of finding out you’re being demoted, taking a pay cut, and going to be laid off for the summer.  Between this past Friday to Saturday, this is exactly what happened to me.

None of the changes have to do with me personally.  There were large sweeping changes that affected every staff member – from teacher to administrator – throughout the entire program.  That’s just the unfortunate nature of the education profession.  With the lack of funding, hearing about teachers getting pink slips or getting a cut in hours is all too common, especially in California.  My staff were all hit but, out of all of us, my hit was the biggest.

From head teacher to teacher.

From 12 checks to 10 checks.

From summer-employee to unemployed till August.

I can honestly say that there will be a time where I will move on and leave the classroom – perhaps to administration or teaching early childhood at the university level.  But, I would like that transition to happen on my terms and not because of budget cuts.  It shouldn’t be like this: not just me, but for any teacher at any grade level.  Teachers are some of the hardest working professionals in this country, let alone the world.  Teachers deserve recognition through salary and job security.  It’s unfortunate that teachers are not held in the same reverence as other professions because…

…like a doctor or nurse, I can recognize allergic reactions, administer various kinds of medications & first aid, and, when necessary, can perform life-saving techniques.

…like a researcher, I take careful observations notes, analyze data, and plot the course of activities and learning episodes to grow a child.

…like a brain-surgeon, I understand how the mind works.  I understand how children can cognitively learn, whether it’s through brain development, cultural influences, language development, or simply by absorbing the knowledge of the people around them.  (That would be Piaget, Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner, and you should look up Rogoff while you’re at it.)

…like a mathematician, I can turn learning into numbers, analyze those numbers in a gazillion directions, and translate the analysis into a child’s academic strengths and learning goals.

(Anyone out there have any more?)

Grrrr….there’s not much I can do.  Like almost every major life decision or occurrence, I’ll take this situation in stride.  There is always good work to be done on behalf of the students, families, and surrounding communities.  Even during my unplanned time-off, June and July has turned into an anticipated time for rest, recuperation, and reflection. This will be my first summer off in over 13 years.  I’m looking forward to a much more relaxed schedule, perhaps filled with more writing, cooking dinner – from scratch – for when my wife get’s home, or – which might happen – watch an insane amount of ESPN.

What to do, oh, what to do?  August employment cannot come soon enough…. because I really don’t know how much of my cooking my wife could endure.

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