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Re: Job security ...and decent districts!

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From: Artsmentor (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 01 2001 - 08:11:39 PDT


I appeciated everyone's input, and especially Patty's words.
As I deferred, administrators are feeling the heat. Perhaps also is that
the "Peter Pan" principle is very true in how some are able to deal with the
heat. So new teachers especially need to be wise. More than anything be
patient and don't look so much at the now but the long haul.

I also know...that people can change, but often are permanently cast into a
roll. An administrator getting older, going thru rough experiences such as
the death of friends, perhaps a spouse...you know- just plain darn ole'
tough things happening can find their heart softening. Yet..I've seen
teachers do their sincere best to not let an administrator change. "So and
so? Why he's a no good dirty !#%%^! and you best watch out for him!"
Partly because we fear them having so much power over our jobs and daily
experiences. We do give hard case kids a chance to change though, don't we?

Could be good advice to watch out for an administrator. If you're new and
hear such, weigh everything out, and take the side of caution. Be
pleasant...but be careful.

Sometimes...you'll find an administrator attempting to show he's got a
tender side. Perhaps even relieved that a new face means he won't be judged
harshly or evil right off. Someone to even laugh with. My superintendent
was shot down twice in Vietnam, and has many unique and interesting stories.
I find him pleasant to be around. In my opinion...a bit lonely, and weary
from the fight of keeping a school afloat financially. Probably gets very
little words of appreciation.

I am in a unique system right now. As a professional nature/landscape
painter and having grown up with a father as a state licensed fishing guide,
the area alone in our midwest's northwood's national forest is a treat.
However...the school experiences a high percent of new teachers that stay a
year or two and leave. Spouses have no modern amenities such as shopping
malls here unless they travel nearly 2 hours. New teachers that are single
will find a unique culture here in the logging world, and their biological
clock is disturbed with "slim pickin's!" hahaha...(well, shouldn't make
light of it, as it's an actual problem.)

As a result, teachers that are good at their jobs, good with the kids, can
handle the local community and culture are EXTREMELY valued. School board
members seek me out periodically to see if I'm happy here. Tell me often
that they hope I decide to stay. My supe' said I'm the best art teacher
he's seen. The principal wants to know why I haven't attempted to buy a
house yet! Someone pinch me, okay??? A few teachers even asked after two
years if I'd consider getting involved with an office in the teacher's
union? Well...nope, don't want any part of that right now....please!

It took me eight years to sell my house after my last non-renewal I spoke of
earlier. I had to go on AFDC, stand in line with food stamps...for two
years until I found work in a town roughly 76 miles away and had to drive
both ways everyday. AFDC forced me to use up all my retirement. In a hurry
to buy a house here? hahaha....not on your life. What would I do here if I
don't get my tenure after next year? Drive a logging truck? Everyone tells
me that tenure won't even be an issue.

I remember that old saying, "fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice,
shame on me!" My wife and I saw the ideal place the other day which would
give me plenty of room to set up my art and music recording studio.
Still...one more year. One more year.

Perhaps going thru some rough waters early on in one's teaching career isn't
so bad as an education that prepares one for dealing with other districts.
Still....wouldn't it be nice if part of the education credit requirement
courses at the university level had the practice of bringing in a good
number of teachers to share their words of warning. If the universities
would pay for a day of subs for those teachers? Students free to field
questions....?

Larry
http://www.artsmentor.org

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