Sunday, March 8, 2009

Take This Job and Shove It--I Don't Think So!!!

All day Saturday, our district had a job fair to interview prospective teachers. This fair was scheduled last fall, before we knew that the financial situation our state is in would so dismal. Last year was the first job fair that the district held. We were able to give letters of intent to quality candidates. This year, the district just wants to make sure that all of our current teachers will be able to keep their jobs.

My job as a principal requires many, many hours beyond the normal eight hour day. There are many nights that I don't get home until after 8:00. I get to school around 7:00-7:15 in the morning. This past week, I had our school carnival on Saturday, then a Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss party on Tuesday n
ight, the rally for education on Wednesday after school, the fourth grade program and a PTSO meeting on Thursday night. These night activities are part of the job of principal. Despite these long hours, I still love what I do.

I consider my weekends "sacred." I truly need that time to decompress and not think about school. So needless to say, I was NOT looking forward to spending all day yesterday at a job fair where we weren't going to
do much hiring, if any.

These past few weeks at school have been especially difficult. The weeks before spring break are always hard. I have heard so many sad stories lately from families hit by the stresses that are happening in our society. I have felt that we are really going to take the brunt of what is happening in fam
ilies at school. I have seen this happen before, and feel that the current economic bad times are going to be very difficult for so many reasons. When kids come to school stressed out over what is happening at home, it impacts their learning and their behavior.

The last thing I wanted to do yesterday was to interview people who really want a job and probably won't get one--at least in our district. It is amazing how quickly things have changed. Last year and in previous years, we were doing everything we could to attract the best candidates. The competition was fierce and this was such a great thing for the teaching profession. Teachers actually could pick and chose where they wanted to teach and what they wanted to teach.

The first interview was at 9:00 and there was one every half hour until 4:00. I interviewed some great candidates, who would be a wonderful addition to our district. There were approximately 40 administrators giving up their Saturday to do the same thing.

There is very little to find humorous about any of this. It is really depressing But I have to find a little humor in everything I do. I was telling a couple of the younger principals about an experience I had the summer before my first year as a principal.

I was fairly new at interviewing at that time. I have learned a whole lot in the years since.

I was waiting in my office for the applicant to arrive. She was a few minutes late and came in a bit flustered. She didn't come in alone, as she had a small baby in a car seat with her. She told me that her babysitter canceled at the last minute, so she had to bring the baby with her. The baby was asleep as she put the baby and the carrier on the floor next to her.

A screening interview at that time consisted of about 10 to 15 questions. I proceeded to ask the applicant the questions. About half way through, the baby started to fuss. This was quite a distraction. She stopped a couple of times to try to soothe the baby, but there was no soothing to be had. She asked me if we could stop for a minute and I said "yes"--never even thinking of what might happen next. She lifted the baby out of the car seat and decided to feed him--and it wasn't with a bottle!!!!!!! I will never forget the next question I asked her--"describe a discipline plan for your classroom." Her answer to the question was accompanied by sucking noises from the baby. I wasn't sure where to look at that point. Was it ever uncomfortable!!!!!! We finally finished the interview and she left the office. I could not believe what had just taken place......

Ever since that day, whenever I have asked the question about a discipline plan in a classroom, I recall that interview......... It was quite an experience, to say the least.

And I can honestly say, that with all of the interviewing I have done, nothing has topped that particular interview!!!!!!

Monday morning will be here too soon. At least there is only a week before our spring break. I just hope to make it through the week without any major issues. I am thankful to have a job in these difficult times, even when the days are so long and the weekends so short.

5 remarks:

Susie of Arabia said...

That's one thing I really like about you - you always manage to find some humor in almost any situation! Sorry things are looking so dire...

velvet brick said...

I'm just glad that I kept my shirt on when you asked me why I wanted to work at Gilbert Elementary that day 10 years ago.

Cheela said...

I'm glad you kept your shirt on, too, Carol!!!!

Judy said...

Well, I am glad you stayed in education too. I probably would never had gotten my first job without your help. But as of today, I feel a sense of sadness regarding education. There are so many good kids out there and families that just need a break. So many pressures for both families and educators. I had one of my Downs Syndrom students' attack and choke me today. (I am fine, just sore.) Grateful that a wonderful (BIG) male teacher is close and got the student off of me as two female coworkers could not get him off. But when it was all over, he is suspended, single mom who is overwhelmed and nowhere for the child to go. We continue to cut state services to families and want schools to pick up more of the care. Yet, teachers only have so much to give and other students that also need an education. This student may be forced into a private placement and perhaps that will be best for him. Just sad that he has been allowed to get this far and not get the help he truly needs. It seems our systems are set up to pass the buck until the buck has run dry. For this young man, I hope someone has a new crisp buck or lifeline to ofer him, his family and the next teacher that he will encounter. I had hoped to make a difference in his life. He has made a difference in mine. His bright smile, charming personality and unpredictable behaviors have certainly changed mine. Blessings to all the men and women in education that get up each day with the desire to make a difference. Please know that you do make that difference and you are blessed to have administrators that support that effort. Sheila is ONE of those administrators.

Monica Fales said...

So did you hire that mom? Just curious...funny story!
And thank you for talking me into speech therapy! I remember trying to figure out what I wanted to do as an undergrad and you insisted I visit your school. I did and brought a friend with me and we followed your speech path around all day....and LOVED it!!! I wrote about that experience in my letter of intent for grad glad they liked it!!! Have fun in Vegas with Cece and Jay.