Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Brea: The Resignation

I had had enough.

I tried to negotiate with the students; I was still dealing with an empty and unsupportive principal who kept giving me a hard time about the syllabus which I had given to the students. This man thought that he was a corporate CEO, that his calling included micromanaging my plans and expectations with the students.

I had done away with chime to get the students' attention. I had thrown parties the entire day for every class. I called parents, encouraging the good students, yet still unable to shake the fear and reproach of not doing well, always looking over my shoulder and fearing for the worst. Who was going to tattle on me today? Who was I going to have to fight with just to get through a lesson?

What would I actually get to teach? What was the point of all this?

I cannot believe how much stress and strain that I had put up with during those hard days. The pressure to try and prove myself, all that I could deliver, carrying the government on my shoulders, so to speak, was just too much for me.

No one could have made head or tail of those French classes. I took on four preps, French 1, 2, 3, and AP. The AP students were shiftless and lazy, refusing to do any work that they considered too hard for them. The other classes were so loud and overwhelming, just like the other Spanish classes which I had sat through. Those teachers were stuck with the daily disrespect, too. The department chair told me that the administration expected me to handle everything myself, but there was just too much to handle, then and there.

I did not muster the courage to write kids up, either. I wanted to issue referrals, I wanted to hold kids accountable, but in the back of my mind I feared that the administration would not back me up, and thus I would be standing on my own, with the parents breathing down my neck and the kids laughing away because they were going to get away with everything.

Tuesday, the last week of the month of February, after I witnessed that everything failed, failed, failed, I walked into one of the assistant principal's office.

"I am not happy here. I wish to resign." I shared that simply, without any hesitation or reserve. The assistant principal, Mr. P, sat up simple and straight, shared that he understood that sometimes a position just was not the right fit. At the time, I did not worry about contracts, I did not worry about a report from the state telling me that my credential would be revoked.

In fact, none of these things happened, but I have since then learned that by signing on the dotted line for a contract, I am bound to keep the job once I start it.

Still, Mr. P. simply asked me to put something in writing, then I cleaned out my desk, packed up my car, and drove home.

For the first time in weeks, I was singing and laughing. I was so happy, free at last from the burden of hour and half commutes. Free from the disrespect of angry and disrespectful students who believed that the teacher had to do all the work. Free from the agony of trying to control the unmanageable.

I got all shaken up the first week after, fearing what I would do, now that I had given up a job, and all I had to look forward to was sub work. I called back, yes I called back to ask for my job, and I got in touch with another assistant principal, the one who had snidely told me "it's not your class."

He took me on a guilt trip: "I have been consumed for the past three days with trying to find a replacement teacher for the French class. . ." he started out, then gave the same empty assents, pretending to be listening when he really was not. Then he just blurted out, "The position has been filled."

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