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.