Or: How I Got This Gig at the High School
Last May my then principal informed me (the day before such things can be told contractually, naturally) (oh, please do sense bitterness and irritation in this post) that I would be teaching at the high school. Thankfully it wasnt to be the high school to which my then current students would be attending (thats another story for another day), it would be a different high school within the district. They needed me to teach German at this high school (one of two majors; my other is in English) since the woman who had been teaching German there wanted to expand her other language program. I was under the impression that she didnt have a major nor a minor in German. I was also under the impression that at the other junior highs in the district there would be a German class in the fall, and since mine wouldnt, I was the best candidate.
My union rep informed me that nothing could be done. I lamented that I had been the yearbook advisor for the last five years and the department chair for the last two years at the junior high, and shouldnt that count for something? Not so. I was needed elsewhere, and I would go. I wrote a well received memo to my current colleagues about it the following day and distributed it to them the next day. Many were perplexed; many more were saddened to see this happen. As often happens on a staff of 35 when you have been there for eight years, you become close with each other.
At the end of the year union party, I came to learn that another teacher, with less seniority than myself and the same degree, would not be teaching German in the fall either. And AND!!!-- she had put in for a transfer request in the spring. She knew nothing of the position that I would have in the fall. I was enraged. I had my life turned upside down without my permission, and this other teacher wanted, actually wanted, to have hers turned upside down.
Than came the kicker from my former principal: In the end of the year newsletter, she wrote about staff changes. Here is a summary of what she wrote:
Mrs. Y. will be retiring this year. She has worked (blahblahblah) for (blahblahblah). Also retiring is Mrs. C. She has worked (blahblahblah) for (blahblahblah). Mrs. S. will be working at (blank) High School next year. Mrs. H. will be taking a position at (blank) Elementary next year. Miss Gemini is being transferred to (blank) High School next fall.I had many, many staff members approach me on that subtle English language difference, from fellow English colleagues to folks in the Math and Science departments to staff who were on leave due to various reasons. (Note: Not that teachers of Math or Science cant tell the difference, its just that they have some history in that building of putting out typos and such in memos and emails. Not that thats a crime, but I think you understand. Or at least I hope.)
Fast forward to this school year in the high school. I came to find out the woman who didnt want to teach German is actually a native speaker of German but just didnt want to teach it anymore. I was also told that another teacher went to the principal of the high school and told him that a teacher shouldnt be forced to teach something s/he really doesnt want to teach. She did not realize, of course, the disruption this could make to someone elses life. The staff at the high school had been led to believe this was a transfer I requested. When they realize differently, it comes as a shock and they are apologetic, but they also know the ways of the district.
So here I am, a month in at the high school, and its fine. Not great, not terrible, but fine. I do have more time built into the school day in which to work than I did at junior high, and almost twice as much time to eat lunch. But I miss my friends at junior high. Ive seen two of the three really great friends already and been on the phone with the other and sent email, but its not the same. Seeing them every day, having time between classes to talk, figuring out what to do on pay day Friday I miss all of that. Moving from room to room to room to room to room all day does not give me time in which to make those connections. So thank goodness for email and phones.