Wednesday the 25th marked the official ending of my tenth year of teaching and my second year at Hefner MS. Unfortunately, the infamous Oklahoma budget cuts have forced me and many other teachers to leave our exceptional coworkers and administrators. Apparently, reading classes aren’t important enough to keep as core subjects if your school isn’t already a Title I school. But, whatever.
Experience and college degrees speak volumes in education, right?
Let’s talk a second about tenure and years of experience. The two are not compatible unless you stay in the same district forever. My 10 years of experience doesn’t count. My coworker’s 16 years of experience makes no difference. One of my social studies friends who has taught for ten years and enhances classroom learning with his military and travel expertise is still job hunting after being “let go.” We three have only one or two years each in the district. So, we are in the group that gets cut first.
Additionally, some districts and states won’t accept all of a teacher’s years of experience from another district or state. One of my colleagues has moved to Colorado. She already has a job lined up, but the Colorado district won’t accept all of her years of teaching science.
Is there any other profession that doesn’t really take into account all of your education and experience besides Monster Ed.? If there is, please inform me.
I call our educational system Monster Ed. because students are not a priority, at least not to those who are making the laws and mandates. It’s never really about the kids, and it certainly isn’t about the teachers. It’s about the almighty dollar, of course.
However, since April, when my principal reluctantly conveyed that I would be looking for another job, my mind was bombarded by words that I say so often to my students.
In response to their, “That’s not fair!” declarations:
Life’s not fair. If anyone tells you that it is, they are lying to you. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome the obstacle. There’s always hope.
- [sidebar] This reminds me of a Princess Bride line when Whestley says, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Then, there’s the less formal bit ‘o wisdom:
Suck it up, Buttercup! Put on your big-girl pants!
- [another sidebar] Oh, look! Another reminder of The Princess Bride. Happy coincidence!
So, that’s what I’m doing. Just call me Buttercup ’cause I’m suckin’ it up, putting on my big-girl pants, and thanking God that I have a job in place at another school, same district. Change is never easy, but it prompts us to learn and grow. What’s happening in our state’s budget crisis isn’t fair, but I have to go with hope and overcoming the obstacle. If I don’t, then my words to my students are empty–and I don’t like that.
Thanks for reading. I’d like to hear your stories of “suckin’ it up” during this budget fiasco (link to my letter to legislators). Please share! 🙂