Saturday, March 26, 2011


When I ask my students to think about something during class, or when I want them to brainstorm about an idea, I tell them to "noodle" it. Then it becomes a question: "are you still noodling that?" or a response "I need more time; I'm still noodling!".

I have not fallen (completely) off the blog bandwagon here toward the end of March, I've just needed a few days to noodle the latest happenings. I could have filled this blog with fluffy topics for the last few days, but I just don't see how that could be helpful, as part of my writing goal for this month is to be more honest and share what I really think.

So anyway, here's (most) of the situation:
The economy is in the toilet. Raise your hand if you're shocked! I'm not, since my husband was laid off for about 6 months starting back in March of 2009. At that time, we heard murmurings about layoffs in the schools, but nothing seemed to happen. In fact, a friend of mine was put in the RIF (reduction in force) pool but was ultimately moved to another school rather than let go altogether.

But then, an article in the local newspaper suggested on Wednesday that the superintendent, along with the school board, had decided that probationary teachers (anyone with less than 5 years in the district, including me) would be subject to layoff first should the need arise. I don't worry about saying that here because it's public information:

Did anyone come out to my school and talk to me about it before I read it in the newspaper? No.
Did anyone in my school with that knowledge come talk to me about it before I read it in the newspaper? No.
In the interest of fairness, I have to say that we did have staff meetings all over the county that afternoon. But in the one at my school, there was a definite glossing over of that whole "oh and all the probationary teachers could be cut" detail. And anyway, come on! It's just inhumane to hope you get to your staff before the newspaper does; I'm just saying.

I've felt a variety of emotions since that meeting. My husband and I have had multiple conversations about how we'll cope should I be subject to a RIF. Part of me wants to feel confident: my resume is impressive, I've been in the same district 4 years running, I have additional certifications outside my content area, and my performance reviews have always been above average. And then part of me fears that somehow all of that will be overlooked for someone whose test scores are better with less qualifications and less experience. I haven't taught in a tested area in 3 years, how can the data even be compared?!

But I had to noodle all this for a few days. I had to talk it out with close friends, colleagues and family. I needed to figure out the best way to put this all down before I actually went through with it, because I've also been told we're all being watched. And that our attendance is being monitored. And that there will be a list made of people who could be put in the RIF pool, and we won't know for 2 weeks who is on that list. It's like all of the sudden Santa Claus has come to reality and the "Naughty" teachers will be put on the list. I will not fear being named for the RIF pool, because ultimately I will not live here forever, or teach in this district forever. I have other goals, and hey, maybe I'll like staying at home all day and writing for pleasure. Maybe this is my chance to start a new life...

Either way, I'll either have a job in my district next year, or I won't. That isn't different than any other year I've been working in the schools, as my contract always has to be renewed at the end of the year. Part of me just feels like things are being done to me without consulting me, as if I've lost my sense of agency. But that's a "me" thing, not a "them" thing. They cannot take my sense of being away; I can only let it slip away. But that won't happen. I'm firm in my resolve.

I'll make it.

1 comment:

Mrs. R said...

You know, Lindsey, when I read that newspaper article, I didn't really know what to say. I can't say I was surprised, because the same things are happening in my county. Apparently, we are losing close to 40 (I don't have an exact number, so I won't pretend) classroom teachers. My school will lose 2. I could definitely be one of those, despite the fact that I hold middle grades certification in 3 of 4 subject areas and can teach any subject in 6th grade because of my Elementary license. I don't even know when I'll know something.

It's a very scary situation. And I think it's awful that you had to hear about it in the paper first. It seems to me that it's the responsibility of administrators to keep staff informed of things like that. :(

I read an article online about a woman who has published three books exclusively to Kindle, and she's making $2,000,000 a year (less 30% to Amazon). She charges $3 per download. Maybe that's the way to go. <3