Friday, March 22, 2013

Dreaming is free

I am not finished with this review yet.  It's nearly 1:00 AM and I have to get up and go to work in less than 6 hours.  So... I just read this blog post and though it's a blog post, I really like what it's making me think about.  It's really more of a navel-gazing ramble, so I'll write a real review of something else.  But just for fun, here's the link to the blog.

Design Your Dream Teaching Job

It's all about people who do things besides teaching.  The question "why?" is asked.  My offer of an answer:  money.  Many - way too many, probably - teachers are doing other things besides teaching and I would venture to guess that money is what's behind those extracurriculars.  Oh, sure, some people love coaching and for many, like my brother for instance, that's the motivation to keep doing it.

Well, I love money, and I love technology (insert mental clip of Kipp singing to his bride LaFawnduh in "Napoleon Dynamite" here) so I became a technology coach to get a little extra stipend, but I can't say I loved it more than I loved my mother.  I was working as the technology coach in the fall when my mother's already fragile health took a turn for the worse back in October.  She yo-yo'd back and forth between sickness and some semblance of health, taking one step forward and three steps back all the way from mid-October to February 10.  Meanwhile I was taking online classes, teaching either two or three subjects depending on the semester, singing in the church Christmas cantata and practicing to sing in the Robertson County Choral Society's performance of Handel's "Messiah," working as a data coach (which I should call "data input coach" because so far, that's all I do) and trying to find more sources of income to boost my puny bank account back to where it used to be before I got downsized out of Vanderbilt four years ago.

It all came to a head when I got my first observation of the school year and received a stunning composite score of something like 2.4. Something had to give, and it wasn't going to be caring for my mother.  I had already dropped one graduate course that semester.  Though I liked the job of technology coach, constantly updating the website, chasing down router issues and scanning technophobes' lesson plans became a real drag.

I was willing to split my duties so that the next technology coach would have about 2/3 of the job I was doing, and took what I considered the easiest part of the job - the management of the gradebook program - and added it to the task of data coaching, leaving him with all the maintenance and installation issues and the biggest job, updating that &@%! website and with its rickety old user-unfriendly design page and all those gi-hugic images people sent to have put on our puny little server.  I swear to you, a manila folder would hold more data than that thing.  I know, that's saying a lot.

Anyway, I stepped down as technology coach because I knew I would be overwhelmed in the spring semester, even teaching two subjects instead of three.  I was right.  Out of the first 26 days of the semester, I missed 12 taking care of Mom as she spent five days in the ICU at Centennial, splitting her care with my brothers who do contract work and had NO sick days built up (the coach hasn't been able to snag a history teaching job in this county his preferred school yet.  He has, however, landed a coaching job at another school, which seems to be working so far.).  I'd have missed two more days, but we got a couple of "snow days" when we were called out for fear of snow.  Those were real blessings to me.

I don't miss being the technology coach at all, but I really liked that part of my job when I had it.  If I were dreaming up my perfect job, it would probably be working as a technology coach all day long.  I like the kids, but I don't like the expectations.  I don't want to deal with taking up cell phones.  (I will, on the other hand, send you to the office if you curse at me in class.)  If a kid's too dumb to listen to the instructions instead of texting her boyfriend at Jo Byrns, I don't think I should have to repeat the instructions so she can still make an A on the assignment because she's got to have this credit to graduate.  I don't think we have to have kids working in teams every day for part of the block... nor do I think we always have to have them working independently all block long.  I can't predict every one of my Higher Order Thinking questions.  Sometimes when we are discussing what's on the screen, the questions present themselves.  I just got through printing all my standards to hang on the wall.  I don't want to change them all to say "I Can..." do this or that.  I HAD THEM ALL LIKE THAT WHEN I WAS AT MY FIRST SCHOOL.  I had to change them back to TSWBAT, and THEN the standards changed.  So much for my idea that I would set everything up the way I wanted it, and then use those things over and over.  So, I can resign myself to working 60 plus hours a week every week until I turn 70 and then, if I've beaten the family curse and made it that long, maybe then I will have paid off all my student loans and I'll be able to roll the old Honda down to Paris Landing and fish once in awhile, as long as I get back before dark, because I won't have any money for staying the night there.  If I don't want to accept that fate, I can dream of something else.  So far, that's going into some other field.  I would really like to get my PhD or EdD, but it's too late to think about that for this coming year because I won't have my MAEd until August (if I'm lucky).  But really, what would I do with that?  I sure don't want a "hybrid" job of being a tech guru who gets paid in coins and gold stars while still teaching 35 students who care about learning and 35 who just want to get by with doing absolutely flat nothing every day.

BTW, MY spring break is over.  I get next Friday out, and then it's 39 straight days without a day off, unless you count the day I'll take 40 kids to Nashville for a visit to a hospital because nobody closer wants that many kids coming to see the place... or the day I supervise the blood drive (next Wednesday).  Well, of course, there are the weekends (I didn't count them...) in which I write lesson plans, grade, etc.... if we count those (and we should) that's 53 straight days.  Then I get the summer off.  And people think that's a good reason to put down teachers... making $60K, they say, for 9 months out of the year.  Really?  I USED to make $60K to work 40 hours a week, 50 weeks out of the year.  Now I make less than $40K and work... let's see, 60 hours a week on average, times 36 weeks... so overall I work 160 more hours a year to make $20K less.  Hmmmmmmmm.....

It's 1:15.  I'm going to bed now.  I thought I'd go to bed on time tonight, but my son kept asking for help on a paper for his dual enrollment English course.  Oh, well.  Tomorrow's Friday and I'll be watching kids make first aid books and heart electrode placement posters.  After work I'll give one of Mom's friends an angel from her garden, then check on my antique booth where I sell stuff to clean out the house, then go to Ashland City to pick up some jewelry I had appraised and drop off some more, then to Clarksville to eat Mexican food with a best buddy.  Life is good... I think...

No comments: