Sunday, June 6, 2010


  Well.  I followed through with a promise.  I went to their graduation.  I taught at a "tier 1" school just outside of Houston, my first two years into this journey.  The demographics were not diverse (65% Black, 34% Hispanic, and 1% other).  If you are familiar with any hero-ing teacher movie, a la Lean on Me, Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds.  That is the kind of school I am referring to.  We put all we had into the school.  We fought hard to pass the state standards.  We were told we were crap day in and day out by administration.  We didn't work or care enough.  Just ask Dr. Business on the school board, with her bad dye job.  She said we weren't serving "her people".  Even though most of us were working until 10 or 11 o'clock most nights making phone calls, tutoring, and getting our lesson plans ready.  Eventually our kiddos didn't pass the state standards.  I guess we were crap.  The school was taken over by the state, one year after its inception.  68% of the teachers left in the first year alone.  I won rookie teacher of the year for the school and district and because I was naive, dumb, or one of the few left, I was asked to be the Department Chair for science.  I accepted.  Life was hell.
     We fought harder the second year.  We fought for our rights as teachers and human beings, we fought for grades.  There really is enough for a book or movie in all of this, but, having been beaten down, alas, no book.  I made sure my department acted and felt as one and that we maintained our health, which was no small feet.  We eventually won the battle.  The kids were almost ranked "recognized" by the state, but we were 4 students off... we were apparently just "acceptable". No apologies, no congratulations, no thank you's and a loss of another 68% of the teaching staff later,  I quit.  I couldn't maintain such a life style.  New teachers and kids year in and year out.  I vowed to work at Walmart and earn minimum wage.  My partner threatened in not so many words to leave me if I didn't start taking care of myself.  Through the grace of someone or something above, I now have a job in a school that is the antithesis of where I started out.
     The graduation was noisy, outside, and not a single soul even tried to listen to the pomp and circumstance.  Cleavage was everywhere.  It was interesting, to say the least.  Because of the transient nature of the student population, I hardly recognized but half of the kids.  It was all made worth while to see some of my babies graduate.  Actual blood, sweat, and tears were put into their education.  Some donated more.  I have closure.  I can now move on.  I AM AN EDUCATOR.

On a lighter note, In the hallways at my former school, teachers were referred to as F!@#, A$$H*(3, and worse.  I sometimes made them call me "Mr. F!@#"... I mean there's gotta be some civility to it all.  The following news story cracks me up.,0,2702469.story

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