090213, Friday the 13th: Day 103
For a couple days in a row DT showed up at the door for my seventh period class. I don’t have DT anymore, so I turned him away. Yesterday he was even escorted by security. DT said Ms. W(itch) kicked him out a few days ago, saying “Go back to G—.” I asked security to take DT to AP A, because I can’t take him into my class without a program change.
This morning, in the special education office, I followed up with AP A simply for the reason that I was not interested in kicking DT out of my classroom again. DT wrote up a report of what happened with Ms. W(itch), and said report was being sent down to AP P, the assistant principal of pupil personnel services (or something like that). Reports often lead to letters in the file, one of the very things that Ms. W(itch) is so concerned about. Clearly AP A has finished dealing with her through unofficial channels and is just letting the shit fly and land where it may.
I’m not sure of the truth in DT’s report. DT is the kid who said he was in family court when HC punched out a cop, a story whose veracity is easily torn apart. But he said Ms. W(itch) told him to “go back to G—” multiple times over the course of a couple days, which leads me to believe he isn’t making it up, per se.
If DT is telling the truth, what was Ms. W(itch) thinking? Did she expect me to cover her ass? If she was expecting that kind of solidarity, she really should have talked to me at any point in the past week instead of giving me the poop-eye all the time. My poor kiddos who are in her class now.
090212: Day 102
Ms. G, the guidance counselor for most of my kids, came to visit me today on behalf of MN. MN desperately wants back into my seventh period—and out of Ms. W(itch)’s. We went to AP A to discuss the situation, because I wasn’t comfortable just poaching kids from Ms. W(itch), especially because I consider MN one of the better kids in that section, and I knew the balancing of those sections was a delicate matter. AP A not so surprisingly said we couldn’t move him.
Unfortunately for MN, RQ had come to me the day before and asked to be let back in. I sent him to AP A who gave him the OK. Poor MN probably did it the right way, but RQ got to the assistant principal first. As of now, I have seven kids and Ms. W(itch) has six. She may even only have five, because I seem to remember JR showing me his schedule, which said he now has Ms. Wi for English.
Sadly, I suspect all the kids would come back to me if they could. This doesn’t have that much to do with me or Ms. W(itch), either. It’s simply a matter of change. They don’t like it.
090211: Day 101
JGi, a student of mine from last year, came by to say hi to me today. His family had moved to North Carolina, but they had to come back because his mom needed health care benefits that are only available here. He hung around for a couple minutes at most, and I swear he looks three years older. It’s amazing how fast high school students grow up.
090210: Day 100
I attended the union meeting after school. We’ll start with the good news first: the free Dunkin Donuts were delicious. And I got to have a glass of milk with mine, which was especially decadent.
Our district rep came and basically begged everyone to attend the big rally downtown on March 5th. If we do not show up with tens of thousands, she said, we will look weak before the mayor. If we look weak before the mayor, those 15,000 layoffs he’s considering look much more viable. Fifteen thousand layoffs, by the way, comes out to roughly every first, second and third-year teacher in the system. So, you know, me. And Ms. L. And Ms. Pe and Ms. V. And Mr. H, Mr. B, Ms. M, Ms. P, Ms. S, and on and on and on. I’ve resolved myself to going to the rally and enlisted Jeff.
I greeted Ms. W(itch) with cordiality—putting all shit aside in order to foster a collegiate working environment—and she remained icy. I then proceeded to feel like a traitor to the UFT for the rest of the meeting, which is admittedly insane. This kind of hypocrisy makes my skin crawl. Ms. W(itch), Mr. C, Ms. M, Crazy J (who has a real name, I just always call her that because of her diehard union stance and insane emails) and the district rep all speak of how administrations divide and conquer. But daily I encounter teachers who make the divisions all the more deep. Alert to Ms. W(itch): you are currently part of the problem!
Anyway, that’s not even the most horrible part of it. After all the talk of layoff and the rally, we moved on to school-specific issues. Ms. W(itch) mentioned a couple things that I had no knowledge of. (She seemed to expect me to magically know all of this and be “on her side” without question—but how would I know if she never told me?) One: she got three letters in her file in a week. Two: administration took away her deanship “to punish” her. Three: she had an administrator physically jump into her face and make her feel unsafe in coming to work on a daily basis.
This is the point in the storytelling that I became very uncomfortable. I know that administrator was my AP, AP A, and I know that AP A called me pretty well directly after the confrontation Ms. W(itch) described. I will not defend AP A for getting into Ms. W(itch)’s face, but I also know exactly how Ms. W(itch) approached her because she approached AP A the same way she approached me: telling us the way it was without a second’s thought to our perspective.
I also find it hard to believe that Ms. W(itch) got half of my seventh period as part of her “punishment,” as she contends. If she did get my kids as punishment, then I say that’s a big Fuck You from the administration to me, too—because obviously I’ve been receiving severe punishment for a full semester.
During her monologue of agony, Ms. W(itch) actually started to choke up. I felt bad for her—I had no idea about her losing her dean’s post, which means losing money—but also that much angrier at her. She came at me, AP A and Ms. L with boatloads of attitude and then felt threatened when a little of it came back at her. You can’t go into rooms yelling at people and then get uppity if a little anger comes back to you.
Oh, worst part? The kids know Ms. W(itch) doesn’t want them. MN has told me three days in a row that she hates him. JR and others overheard her in the hall telling AP A that she was being punished by getting all the kids I can’t handle—that’s right, she’s slinging the shit at me, too. And she won’t let me talk to her, even about the kids, so I don’t know how to help them.
090209: Day 99
First day with my seventh period broken in half. I was standing in the hallway, waiting for my students to arrive. And waiting and waiting. They have a tendency to be pretty late—each one of those who is left. AR came down the hallway with a lissome and smiley young lady. It was clear he was courting her. He gave me a look that said “keep it cool,” but I fucked it up. I said hi to him—and as a teacher, there was no way I could be cool.
AR took it all in stride. He shook his head and smiled at me, walked past my door, thus past the class he had next, and the girl barely noticed. Charming though it was, he was late to class.