Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How do you spell "relief?"

Well, for me it's spelled "J-O-B." For a couple of months, the Texas state legislature has been considering whether to make huge cuts in the education budget or disastrous cuts. There is a multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall, mostly because property values have fallen and the lawmakers are against raising property taxes because the voters who keep them in office don't want to pay higher taxes.

I don't want to pay higher taxes either, but I also want my kids (and all the other kids who attend public schools) to get  a decent education.

School districts have been scurrying to make budgets without knowing exactly what the state was going to do, because their fiscal budgets are due in June and the legislature doesn't vote until May. Many districts have decided to lay off all teachers on probationary contracts (teachers in their first two--I think--years with the district) because they don't have to jump through any hoops to let them go. Just, "Sorry, maybe we'll rehire you if it turns out we need you after all." Teachers who have been teaching longer would be saf(er), thanks to the unions.

This is also ridiculous. I think we would all agree that districts need to keep the best teachers, whether they have been teaching one year or thirty years.

Guess who was on the lower end of the totem pole and thus possibly facing termination, which would mean loss of half our income and the health insurance.

When I heard the news, I cried to my husband and parents who gave me spiritual pep talks, and then I decided to focus on teaching as well as I could. I didn't want to be a bad teacher because I was grieving over not being allowed to teach anymore--especially when I hadn't even been let go yet!

I'll spare you the details of the rumors that floated around for the past month and a half. The good thing was that I stayed strong (believe me, no one was more surprised than me).

And last week it was announced to the English department that due to three resignations, all of our jobs are safe. No one even has to move to the other high school unless they want to request a transfer. (I'm not, because even though it's new and fancy, I just got here and I want to settle in.) When I went to pick up my contract, I signed it right then and there.

 The best part is that not only do I get to keep earning a much-needed salary, I also believe this is confirmation that I am supposed to be where I am. Helping kids. Being a caring adult who can occasionally be a voice of reason in their lives. At the end of the day, I know that my job matters.

If only the lawmakers and the general public felt the same way. If they did, they wouldn't take away the money the schools need to do our jobs.

Friday, April 1, 2011


A conversation I had yesterday with a female student (age 17).

Girl A: Mrs. Andrews, someone said Girl B dresses "classic." What does that mean?
Me: Um, it means elegant, not trendy.
Girl A (to Girl B): So it was an insult, then.
Me: Maybe to a teenager, "not trendy" is an insult! It actually means something that doesn't go out of style.

Update on the lice situation: we had to spend 4 hours on Miss Pink's hair on Wednesday night because we didn't do a thorough enough job on Wednesday and we had some bugs that had hatched. I think we're almost through with it, though. She has been a real trouper--has hardly even complained. I'm going to try to rent Tangled for her tonight--she's seen it but wants to see it again, and I haven't seen it.