I Walked Out of the Classroom…Again (Part 1)
When I left the first time, I said I would never go back. Never…ever!! It wasn’t worth the emotional and mental stress. I was never going to do it again!! But I did…I went back. After 3 years of not teaching, and only doing private math tutoring, I took a leap of faith and decided to return to the classroom.
Its really kinda funny how it all happened. I was originally applying for a summer program and saw that the school was also hiring for an Algebra teacher. God knows I love Algebra, and as I sat at the computer entering information for the summer program, I also applied for this teaching position. And I thought to myself “What are you doing? You don’t wanna go back in the classroom!!” But I had already submitted everything.
I didn’t think anything else of it. I didn’t think anyone was going to contact me about the teaching position. But someone did. The principal called me to schedule an interview. Interview went well. Apparently very well, because I received a call back within a week when I was expecting to hear something within 2 weeks. The principal said they really liked what they heard from me in the interview, and they wanted to offer me the position. I immediately started laughing, right there on the phone, and he asked why I was laughing. “I guess God wants me back in the classroom”, I managed to say.
And that’s how it happened. I got the job. OMG, I got the job!! What was I going to do?! How in the world was I going to go back into the classroom?! I started to have severe anxiety and even considered calling them back and telling them that I couldn’t accept the position. But my family and my friends encouraged me, telling me that things would be different. I was going to a private school versus a public school, and I wouldn’t have the same horrible experiences that I had before. So I mustered up some confidence and started preparing for the school year.
I must admit that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. The staff was very nice, and so were the students. So nice, in fact, that I found it be a little suspect. For I hadn’t experienced such a warm welcome at any other school before. I was only concerned about the actions and motives of a few co-workers. I have always been good at reading people, and I could tell immediately that one’s acts of assistance were actually driven by jealousy, intimidation and selfishness. This teacher had my schedule changed the day before school started under the false pretense of helping to lighten my load. So now I was going to be teaching Geometry (not my favorite) and had to change all of my lesson plans at the last minute.
I had to get used to being in a Christian school. I could actually pray in class!! And it was encouraged. I would often forget, since that was frowned upon in the public schools. But I started adding it as part of my daily agenda so that I would remember. And for the first time in my teaching career, I felt like I could teach. That’s right, I could actually focus on my lessons and ensuring that my students were understanding the content.
But everything isn’t always peaches and cream. I began to notice that cheating was a serious issue among some students. They were able to access a website that provided them the answers to homework and quizzes. To curve the problem, I began creating my own homework worksheets and quizzes and tests.
Once I changed things, I noticed that some students no longer completed any homework, and were failing their quizzes and tests. The changes forced some students to work harder and study more. But some still tried to get over on me. So for one class, I had to give each of them a different homework assignment, quiz and test. A different copy for each one of thirteen students. Yes, this created a lot more work for myself when it came to planning and grading. But I felt that it was necessary.
Because some students were upset with the changes, about three of them decided to tell their parents that I was losing their homework and that was the reason for their grades were low. Mind you, my students had a homework log to verify that they had turned in assignments (I would initial it). And all homework was turned into a locked homework bin. So, the likelihood of me losing their work was miniscule.
As these students started to express their false accusations to their parents, counselor and former math teacher, I became aware of the lack of administrative support. The assistant principal handled most of the academic situations, and always sided with the parents. Always!! I found out that the pocket books of the parents meant more than the integrity and reputation of me, the teacher.
The counselor also took part in siding with the parents, even having numerous contacts with them about academics without ever informing me about it or requiring the parents to handle the situation with me first. Because of this, it was the last week of school and parents were complaining about things that I never knew they had an issue with. Parents were having to swallow their pride and admit to themselves that their child was not telling the truth, and hadn’t succeeded in completing assignments, projects and tests in my class.
Then the Lord had revealed to me that a co-worker was determined to slander my name and defile my character for what reason? Jealousy? Envy? Selfishness? Or just pure evilness?
At the end of the year, I still felt that is was the best teaching year that I had ever had. I was still very much pleased with the school, but still leery of some things and people. I decided to return for the next school year. And I was actually looking forward to implementing some changes and having an even better school year.
And then we got a new administrator…
Are you a teacher? How has your experience been?
Stay tuned for Part 2