challenging year over

Tomorrow morning, I will go in and check out, and bring this year to an end.

I had some great kids this year … easily one of my better “kid” years. The issues of politics and economics invaded and made for a not so good year.

Our principal resigned to take a job at his son’s school … shaving a roughly 45 minute commute each day down to about 10 minutes. We also just found out our assistant principal, a beloved and respected icon, had requested transfer to our East school. Since no one really requests to go to that school because of the myriad staff problems, there was an instant suspicion that politics has again reared its ugly head. This was announced at the same board meeting where our new principal was approved. One of our deans will be filling in on an interim basis for the assistant principal’s role until our new principal gets in and gets a chance to make some decisions about his #2.

In addition, on Friday last week, we found out that despite our district’s dire financial straits, the entire third floor is scheduled to be painted, and that all of the books and equipment on shelves needed to be pulled down. Keep in mind, some of the physics equipment hasn’t been touched since the school opened, and is older than the school, having been transfered from one of our sister schools. A team of five of us spent seven hours over the last three days cleaning and making a huge mess deciding what to throw out, shat to keep, and finding places to put things …. not to mention our own books and effects, etc … all the time giving final exams. I did not start grading my finals until after noon today, by which time, despite me telling the kids “grades will not be posted until Thursday”, there were 9 e-mails from 8 students asking why grades had not been updated (one e-mail was an apology from a student who remembered later that grades would be delayed a day — I ended up having higher grades on my remedial sophomore class finals than, I think, any previous year).

General crappiness of education politics was not restricted to me. One of my oldest friends was forced into a position to resign from 16 years of teaching. She had 15 years of good reviews. Forced to move because of her husband’s job, she gave up tenure. In her third year at the new school, a brand new principal arrives and gives her the first negative reviews of her career … forcing her to be fired or resign. Her husband has a colorful term for this principal, and while it is not a term I generally use in pleasant company, it sounds pretty appropriate.

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