Thursday, October 19, 2006

they're apparently dropping like flies

After taking a look at Matthew and Missy's blogs this morning, it seems I am not alone when I say "Oh my gosh why is everyone leaving? It's October." Mallory, another TFA teacher who also happens to be on grade level and content with me, resigned on Monday and told everyone yesterday. For those of you who haven't gone through the brainwashing that is TFA, let me break down the simple message that underlies everything they tell us: YOU NEVER QUIT. There is a huge amount of social pressure to not only do well, but to love your kids and to never ever quit (until your two years is up). I'm saddened to say that the problems Mallory was having with our administration were too much. I'll be honest and say that working together was not always amazing (as is the case when you throw together two people with different styles and expect them to make everything run like clockwork in a less than functional environment), but any problems we may have had along the way are a far cry to what Monday is going to look like. As of Monday it is me, the department chair and a sub... maybe... teaching seventh grade English. Problems and ups and downs or not, having Mallory with me every day is much better than anything I'm going to get in her place. Unless you all know some great teachers who just happen to not have jobs in October.

This is how this works, in an ideal world, your administrator does not stress out your co-worker to the point that she quits her job and an organization she committed two year to. If he does do this, he immediately finds a replacement who is just as diligent, caring and hardworking as the original co-worker. In my world, we get a permanent sub who works from 8 to 3:30 and doesn't lesson plan, do grading or generally put in the extra hours required to get something done at McReynolds. Hopefully this permanent sub situation won't last long as I highly doubt my department chair is going to strain herself much to provide resources and support for whoever takes over Mallory's two classes. As of Monday it is me and the chair doing lessons for the seventh grade. Oh goody. I get to work with a teacher who considers workbooks and yelling the best way to reach the children. This is going to be a much heavier work load.

Besides the shake-up in personnel, our content specialist (also known as pretty much my favorite person at work), broke down our benchmark scores by teacher and objective. My kids not only came out pretty well, but they came out ahead of the department chair. I think my numbers should have been higher and I don't think they are that significantly higher than the chair's, but Lisa says a 30 year teaching difference between the two of us means that my numbers should not be ahead and I should be proud of my work. I am, and deep inside of me—okay, not that deep—I have satisfaction that my kids are doing better than hers. It's hard not to resent the work I put in and the comments she makes and the whining about all that is expected of her. I don't need a medal or a raise or anything but success for my kids. Seeing that extra hours and diligent, thoughtful teaching is effective compared to the alternative is rewarding. It's that nasty competitive side of me that's turning the numbers into a race that I'm beating the pants off her in. This is a pretty unproductive race to be in since the points are actually children and not just numbers. I'm working on it, personal growth takes time.

All the stress of this week and what Monday without Mallory is going to look like can be put aside at least for a day. Jamie, also known as college roommate/superhero, will be here in just 12 short hours and I cannot wait. I need some Indiana friends right now and I know we'll have a fabulous weekend. I just hope she doesn't get sick of me doing school work.

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