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Job resignation: Whats next?


From: Cathy Gaul (allgaul_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 06 2005 - 07:31:02 PST

Hi Woody,
I have been in 'deep background' lately with no time for sharing. I didn't go to the NAEA convention, but I am not a member either. For the last 16 years I have worked in a private school and have had no affiliation with any of the support groups until I came here!
This place has been a touchstone for me and I appreciate everyone's posts on all subjects. It has opened my brain to lots of ideas and shown me that I am on the same path as most of you. The cumulative wisdom here is amazing.
That being said, I have given my notice at my job. I will finish out the year and then I am done at the place that was 'home' for so long. I have been part time all these years and the school is floundering and has been for the last 3 years. We went from a high enrollment of 225 to a present reenrollment of @100 confirmed Full Time Equivalents for September 05. The reasons for the enrollment drop are many and varied, mostly having to do with 3 head of schools in 3 years. But there are other things that are causing families to bail.
 Many reasons have lead to my decision to resign, but the main reason is that admin is making staying extremely hard, plus I need to make more $$ than I will be able to do here. My hours were due to be cut yet again. The school has already cut special program teacher hours and all teacher aides except for K and pre K. They have taken all my prep time and lunch time (now I am no longer paid for it, only for contact time with kids), and classroom teachers have lost 2.5 hrs of prep time due to cutting back on special subject time.
I went from being 'part time faculty' to being categorized as a '12.5 contact hour employee' spread over 3 days. They calculated I actually have only 10.25 contact hours, but that is not accurate. I am actually in contact with students 11.50 hrs, so ooops, I do have a half hour a week prep time!
I am required to be present at 4 all-day faculty in-services (on my off day), monthly 7:30 AM faculty meetings, monthly special teacher meetings after school, evening and weekend open houses, and any other event the Head of School demands, all unpaid. The language of our 'letter of employment' (NOT a contract!) states as such. Any other employment I can manage has to take a backseat to my job at this school as stated in this letter of employment. I can be terminated with or without cause. My grievance procedure is a joke. I have no benefits except a small match to a 403B plan.
At one time I was willing to make the sacrifice because of the great family atmosphere and the feeling of working for a greater good to promote the school. This year I have been treated poorly by administration and watched the camaraderie of staff deteriorate to a point where everybody feels that they are on probation for next year. No good deed is going unpunished, as it were. Business as usual is now totally reinvented. It isn't worth it to me to continue under this new regime and I am beginning my search for a new position.
I just don't know where to start and if I even want to be in education any more.
I have a PA. permanent certification, but not NJ. I would need to take the Praxis exam as well. I graduated college in '75.
I am feeling pretty overwhelmed at this point and ready for a new adventure, but I am spinning my wheels. Anybody have any advice/recommendations?
Some thoughts:
-Teaching homeschool kids
-Home art classes
-A combination of the above
-Something completely different!

Cathy in NJ

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