Monday, March 14, 2011

Just a little something I REMEMBERED!!

Usually the days before Spring Break begins I am elated, cheerful and thinking of all the fun and relaxing things I am going to do on my week off. This last week was different. Our Superintendent informed us that if things don't change with the state's budget cuts we would have to lose about 60 teachers from our small district (9 schools total). Then our principals informed us that we would be notified the week before spring break if we would be let go. On top of having a sinus infection, myself, along with the other teachers in the building were on edge. I could see the looks as we passed each other in the halls, hear it in their (and my own) voices as we firmly corrected students' behavior. I had analyzed every evaluation I had over the past few years, what could I have done better? Did I forget to state my standards and objectives over and over again when my evaluator was watching me? Did I incorporate other subjects in the lessons they observed? Should I have spent more time making small talk instead of hiding out in my room preparing for painting, collages, sorting out good markers from bad ones?? Should I have tried to be more likeable or friendly with the adults in the building? What would the kids do without me???? I spend almost every day and night with these thoughts swimming in my head. Then I started questioning MYSELF even more. Was I even meant to be a teacher? Maybe God is trying to tell me this isn't for me. Then I remembered all the times I complained...I never got supplies. The other teachers don't respect me. Some of the students don't even listen to me. Maybe I can go back to school and pick another profession, make more money....etc.

Then my mom send me a email and I REMEMBERED!!! I remembered everything I so naively dreamed about (as I took years to complete my degree as a single mom, working full time, going to school part time) so I could change just ONE kid's life! My mom reminded me of how I took notice when some kids came to school with no coats, holey uniforms, and ripped backpacks. I went through my own kids stuff and brought them to those kids. I remembered all those shoes I tie, and noses I wipe everyday. I remembered all the hugs I get as kids leave to get on the bus each day, and how much I look forward to the little pictures kids draw on notebook paper at home to bring me (I don't even care that they misspell my name most of the time!) I thought about the little boy with severe behavior problems whose own mother was so bad on drugs that she locked him and his siblings in the closet for days before they were found. I remembered how I go pick him up from his special class room so that he can finish his precisley painted pictures that are ten times better than the "normal" kids in his grade. I REMEMBERED the smile on his face when he sees me at the door on my off period when he knows he gets to come with me. So, you know what? I REMEMBERED I AM MEANT TO BE A TEACHER!!!

With all that being said, the week ended, and I seemed to have dodged the bullet. It was not easy seeing the teachers who didn't, in the hallways after they got the bad news. I hope they don't let anyone else go (Especially me). We already have far less than many other districts in our area.  On Saturday, my friend and I drove down to Austin to attend the Save Texas Schools Rally. You can click here to learn more: Save Texas Schools It was a truly moving experience. Over 12,000 people were there and we were right up front. I heard so many moving speeches. One of the best was Dalton Sherman, a Dallas ISD student , the other one who made me  REMEMBER was John Kuhn , the very passionate SUPERintendent of Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School.

I put the videos at the bottom. Thet are both a little long, but so worth your time. The second one doesn't start at the beginning, or show his face but his message is all you need to hear!!

I know this is a long post but I hope none of my blogger friends find themselves in the same situation....and I hope you enjoy my pics and videos!
                       

I don't know these two girls but they were marching right behind us. (I assume they are sisters cause of the cute red hair and freckles.) I really liked their signs. I think the students that were at the rally sent the most powerful messages.

We marched seven blocks to the state capitol. One of our main messages is to urge the govenor to use our Rainy Day fund instead of cutting over $9 billion from Texas education.

I stole this picture from the front page of the Austin American Statesman newspaper. I am in the middle of the picture next to the guy with the sign that says "No Teacher Left Behind".
Here is the article:  Thousands Rally for Education

As the rally ended you could see signs left in the bushes...we teachers left our mark!!
(Isn't that what we were born to do??)


The second one cracked me up!

My awesome librarian friend and I!




4 comments:

  1. Your post made me cry, thanks! I found out on the bus ride down to Austin that our school let go of all of the Pre-K teachers. We needed them, the kids needed them, it's so heartbreaking.

    I think you're supposed to be an art teacher. You wouldn't be blogging about this or driving down to Austin if this were not your passion. You do make a difference in each and every child you see. Don't give up, keep up the good fight, we will overcome!

    The most touching sight I saw while marching was a loner masked high school student chanting "CUT ART CUT LIFE!" I think this should be our mantra from now on.

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  2. I teach in Beaumont and have also been sweating the possible cuts to the arts. I was downsized 20 years ago in another state/another school district. It was difficult and heartbreaking. I have always felt like I was meant to teach El. Art and felt lucky to love my job most days. This spring I feel like I am suffering in silence as I am the only fine arts teacher on campus and don't feel like anyone else has the same danger of losing their job. I hope the district sees the value of art and continues to fund us, even if the state of Texas cuts funding to the arts. Good luck to you (and to other art teachers in our state).

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  3. Thanks for sharing this post w/us. These are tough times for teachers everywhere in practically every state. Good to see teachers who are not being complacent about what's happening.

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  4. Wow! that's a lot of teachers! As you know I was chopped and rehired last year and I want to remind you it has nothing to do with performance. I was the teacher of the year and involved in everything (unless that's a problem which it certainly could be in some places) and when I went through all the evaluations they were shining. Not to toot my own horn (ha ha ha that reminds me of a post I wrote on www.lamamomma.com toot toot) It has more to do with seniority and politics at least in our state. Who has a family member or who has been in the district longer. When it comes to placement that's different. I have a very good school because I had principals who wanted to keep me but I know less then good teachers who don't have the choice. Just sayin' it's NOT you. . . it's this crazy system. I have no idea how to change it or to suggest to change it. . . I'm sure you've heard me gripe about it before there's no simple solution but a start would be to make education a priority and simply have MORE teachers.

    I love the sign that says "those rich teachers and their '93 Nissan Sentras!" I might have to borrow that now that my car's getting older and has the bumper falling off!

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