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Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm still standing

First of all, let me say thank you so very much to everyone who's been keeping me and all of the DISD teachers in your thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate all of the support and kind words that you've offered.

Today was a day unlike any others. Filled with more turns and surprise twists than M Night Shyalaman's small intestine, it didn't end until 8 o'clock, thanks to parent-teacher conferences.

I began the day thinking that I most likely wasn't going to get reassigned to another campus, but that I would no longer be a 3rd grade teacher. More like CONVINCED I was not going to teach 3rd grade anymore. Of our 8 3rd grade sections, 4 are dual language (a bilingual teacher paired with an ESL teacher) and 4 are Gen Ed. Put together, the 4 Gen Ed classes have 43 kids total, so I figured the odds were very high that 4 classes would become 2 by the end of the day. Mrs. Math has more experience than I do, and Ms. Jenn Ed teaches reading (which I never have), so I figured they would be the 2 teachers remaining in the Gen Ed wing. My espanol is not so bueno, so I couldn't slide over to the vacant bilingual spot, and I was all but sure that the ESL spot had been filled by a 2nd grade teacher moving up.

Weighing my options outside of 3rd grade, I knew nothing was open in 4th grade, 2nd grade has had the same low numbers that we've had all year, so there would be no new spots there, and 5th grade is beyond my certification.

That left 1st grade and Kindergarten.

I LOVE the movie Kindergarten Cop. However, in reality, I wouldn't wish the sight of a large man blowing a whistle frantically while chasing rowdy kids around the room on anyone. And that is exactly what I would be in either of those spots. "It IS a tumor!!!"

But there was one other possibility. It would involve a radical change, and be totally different than anything I had done before. Not quite as radical as joining the cafeteria staff, but close.

Our technology specialist has taken the retirement option. His spot is vacant. My choice seemed to boil down to becoming the school's IT guy or becoming the school's worst 1st grade teacher.

This whole debate was raging in my head last night. So all day today I was completely convinced that I was going to be the new IT guy. So why wasn't my principal calling me down to her office to reassign me?

At 8:50, all of the 2nd graders and 3rd graders had to go down to the auditorium for an assembly in which our principal told the kids that many of them were going to have new teachers, though they would be teachers they already knew. She confirmed the fact that the 2nd grade teacher was moving up to the vacant dual-language ESL spot. She also told the kids that she, the principal, was retiring and that Friday would be her last day. We the staff had learned that bombshell yesterday afternoon.

By 9:30, I still knew nothing.

By lunch time, I still knew nothing.

Around 12:30, I learned of another big surprise. The OTHER dual-language ESL teacher had been reassigned to another campus. Suddenly, there seemed to be potential room for both Mrs. Math AND me to stay in 3rd grade spots.

12:45-1:30 is our planning period, and most of my grade team sat in my room and talked about what was happening. The teacher who had just learned she was leaving was very gracious and accepting of the change. She also mentioned that in her meeting, our principal had told her to ask me if I wanted her position (the teacher position, not the principal position).

Uh, yeah, but she still hasn't come to talk to me!

School ends, and I still haven't heard anything officially.

(Had I mentioned tonight was also parent-teacher conference night?)

Conferences -- which I won't even spend any time on except to say that of my group of 20-some kids who said they were going to come, FOUR showed up with their parents -- began at 4:00, and I still knew nothing.

FINALLY, sweet relief at 4:30! After a meeting of the campus leadership team, I got the official word that I could accept the dual-language ESL position if I so desired.

I so desired.

So, to sum up, after a nerve-wracking, heart-pounding, DISD-induced day of stress, the final verdict is that I am now a 3rd grade dual-language ESL teacher, responsible for teaching math and language arts in English to a group of kids who also get reading, science, and social studies in Spanish.

The nervous tension is over; let the controlled chaos begin.

I have never taught reading before, so that's a bit daunting. But I need the skill, so that's a plus. I'll miss having my kids in class, but I'll still be just a few doors down, so I can still see them. I also think that the classes I'm inheriting are a pretty good group of kids, which is not something I've been able to say about a lot of years.

Monday is going to be VERRRRRRY interesting...

In related news, a DISD teacher has had an essay published in Newsweek, and it's worth a read. Check it out here.


HappyChyck said...

Phew! I was afraid to read the post! I'm glad things worked out for you--and now you have a new adventure!

mybellringers said...

So glad you're still standing! A new adventure it is. I still want to know how in this age of "holding teachers accountable" someone can make such a huge mistake and wreck havoc with teachers' lives and nothing is done? Oh, I forgot, only teachers are held accountable…

Hang in there…

Carolyn said...

Congratulations for making the cut and best of luck in Reading/LA/ESL. Props to you for being up to the challenge.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My position as computer lab teacher was cut. After many sleepless nights wondering if I would have to drive all the way to the other side of Dallas to teach something I had never taught to a bunch of kids I didn't know, I was relieved when THE DAY arrived. My principal called me in about 12:45 and told me that all he had left was Kindergarten. I said that would be fine, that I was grateful to stay in this school. About 45 minutes later, he came into the lab and asked how I might like 6th grade. I said that would be fine, too (still grateful to stay in this school). I went home last night wondering which I would teach. When I saw him first thing this morning I asked if he had decided yet. He told me he'd tell me in a few minutes. He did, right in front of the whole faculty - I would be teaching second grade! Now, that's OK too, since I have more experience in second than any other grade, but the teacher I bumped into Kindergarten is NOT happy. Still happy to have a job. Storyteacher

margaret said...

You've been teaching little bits of reading when you've worked on their story problem skills in math.
Hope somebody revised the duty schedule for Monday!

goooooood girl said...

Well well well......

Mrs. T said...

So, did they split your original class? It still seems absurd that they'd move you to a different 3rd grade and then someone else into your position. Lots of changes for the kids to get used to, too.
Glad you have a job, though, and that you didn't have to change grade levels.

Mister Teacher said...

Phew is right!

Mrs. T,

There were 4 of us that weren't doing dual-language. There are now 2. So they combined my 2 classes into 1 and the other 2 into 1. Now there are only 6 of us in 3rd grade -- 2 teams of dual-language (2 each), and one team of Gen-ed.

In other words, my position was cut.

Teacher said...

Wow... just reading that entry made me stress out! Dallas must be a very chaotic place for teachers right now. Best of luck with the changes. I'll be checking back for updates on how this all plays out.

J said...

what a crazy day! i'm really glad you survived and still kept your job. it's just now got an extra twist. :)
you will do great!

IMC Guy said...

I can't imagine going through what the teachers in your district went through. I'm glad things worked out relatively well for you.