Monday, November 27, 2006

I REALLY Hate My Job


I usually hate when people post about how much they hate their jobs, but I'm going to break my own rule here.

I work at an "alternative" high school on the West side of Chicago. It's a program, contracted out to the Chicago Public School system, to give young adults a chance to finish high school. It should be a good thing.

However, from Day 1, it's been a clusterf*ck. It took them two weeks to get classes together. This was not for the teachers readiness: our tiny staff of six teachers was ready. The school counselor was not able to put together a schedule for the 50 students we started the year out with. I have seen my wife tackle similar, but far bigger projects in 2 or 3 hours. This woman couldn't do it in two weeks. We had kids spinning their wheels, while we, the teachers, tried to figure out things for them to do. The kids picked up on the disorganization going on and exploited it.

This counselor has been amazing in her incompetence-- we've experienced it, and the kids have told us stories too. I don't know if I would hire her to do landscaping work-- she's that dumb.

We finally got the place up and running, and have done our best-- no thanks to the administrators.

To his credit, our assistant principal, who is in his first year as an administrator, is doing his best. But long-term problems are not being dealt with. 95% of our discipline problems come from 3 or 4 students. Time and time again, we are told that they are being put out of here. Time and time again we are told that they were given their "last chance." One of those "last chancers" was written up three times on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. She's here today.

Who's not here today? The Principal. The lunch lady is in the office calling out the class changes-- we don't have a bell system. It's becoming a source of amusement among the staff as the day goes on. We've proposed she get the Principal's salary, since she's doing the Principal's job. I've also seen her handling discipline and attendence.

When I arrived, shortly before 8 am, by the way, there were three other teachers, the custodian and the lunch lady. No administrators, no security guards.

But hey-- the Principal showed up for nearly an hour on Wednesday, so I can see why she'd be tired. The last school I worked at had 1100 students, and the principal was there 95% of the time. For a school of fewer than 100 students, our Principal has an amazing number of meetings that somehow last the entire day.

This is all a shame, because we do have kids here who sincerely need this place and are taking the opportunity to fix whatever broke in their lives and move on. There are kids here who will go on to college.

This morning, four of us on the staff held an impromptu meeting. One of them has another job lined up for January. The rest of us are looking. Whatever scam that the proprietors of this place are pulling will eventually fall apart, and we want to be out of here when that happens. There are a handful of students who need this place to get a diploma in January. We're all committed to helping them get out of here. And then we'll get the hell out too.

22 comments:

lulu said...

I'm SO sorry. I understand your feelings completely. Unfortunately bad administrators somehow manage to burrow in and hold on.

What are you certified to teach? It seems like all sorts of jobs become availbable in January if you want to stay in the field, or are you going to look for something else entirely?

Johnny Yen said...

I have an 03 (El Ed) certificate, plus middle school, social studies and science endorsements.

Beth said...

How frustrating. Is there no board or oversight committee to whom you can present your grievances?

Anonymous said...

Our favorite threatening student indirectly threatened me during 2nd today, she, after 20 minutes of running her mouth nonstop asked me what we were working on. She didn't like my answer and said "Some Teachers and a Principal are going to be on a milk carton". I guess you and I are that special to have her threaten first you then me.

Don't worry about the complaining on the blog, that's what it's here for. I just wish I could find a teaching job. Make sure to read the e-mail by B. You'll love it. The administration blames all of us first year teachers for everything that is wrong with the student population. Lucky us.

Johnny Yen said...

We could probably take this to the higher-ups, but the likely consequence would be the school shutting down. While this is certain to happen in the long-term, in the short-term, I need to get the handful of students who are actually getting something out of the place out of her, and I need to find another job.

kim said...

Complaining on a blog is okay, as long as you are sure no one from work is reading it.

It seems there are quite a few disgruntled teachers, which in fact could probably be the beginning of an entire blogging community.

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least if what the Prinipal said is true today, she's expelled! Did today totally suck or what?

Dave said...

HOLY JESUS! GET OUT OF THERE MAN!

Bubs said...

Get out of there!

Go somewhere you'll be appreciated, or at least won't have to work, unsupported, for such an idiot principal

Johnny Yen said...

Bubs-- it got even worse today. I'll post about it tomorrow.

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