Black Thursday & I have an Ace in My Back Pocket

band teacher 2 retire w/ no plans 4 a replacement, looks like electives are on the chopping block. Welcome 2 the Gulag middle school siteBlack Thursday Twitter 2/21/08

j0178825 Yesterday I crossed paths with the principal. Believe me, with my plans to go out to Full Sail next week, the teacher placard thing hanging over my head, yearbook pages and prepping a week’s worth of lesson plans I didn’t need to run into the boss. So he said that he’d been meaning to talk to me, and then he asked if I have a science background, because he’s looking for people who can fill some master schedule gaps and that the district wants his projected staff line-up by Friday. Right. I hemmed and hawed because I wasn’t ready to say anything to anyone.

Then this morning we had the Black Thursday staff meeting, where he said that we were going to have to move some people. About then I zoned out and didn’t really bother to remember the particulars. But it was the usual Black Friday stuff: funding cuts, dropping enrollment, low test scores, etc., etc., etc. I was really beginning to think that I couldn’t have planned the timing of my trip to Florida any better. The faces in the room were grim. I felt bad because I felt like I was holding an ace in my back pocket and I couldn’t tell anyone.

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About midway through the meeting it dawned on me: I’ve been through these “the end is near” meetings before. I’d only been working for Pac Bell for a few years, just gotten married and I found myself sitting in a room of grizzly veterans being told that “we” need to lose people. I think I worked in that kind of environment for like ten-years, sitting in these meetings every nine to ten months, watching co-workers with a little more and less seniority take an ” early-out” or find another assignment. That had to influence my reluctance to make long-term emotional investments in my job at the phone company. It probably also added to my sense of “otherness,” not belonging.

Two weeks ago I had accidentally missed the previous staff meeting, but I later heard how one of my co-workers was openly upset that his work was going to be negatively effected by low test scores and politics. I offered my empathy when I talked to him. But I started feeling a kind of “survivors’ guilt” and a bit bad that I haven’t shared with co-workers, particularly with my fellow computer lab teacher, that I have this amazing teaching opportunity in Florida.