1957. Ms. No - 2/22/2018 10:22:35 PM
So, my kids have been talking a lot about guns. We've been reading articles and they've been coming up with ideas to curb gun violence. Three of our students made it onto the evening news in a panel for local News 10.
News 10 is coming back this evening to speak to teachers --- not just from our school, we're hosting, but only one of us (guess who) is slated to be on the panel.
Our principal reached out to let the district's communications officer know that this was going on --- just a heads up out of politeness, and she was informed that we ARE NOT ALLOWED to speak because they didn't approve it prior to it being scheduled.
So I emailed my principal back and asked her if I could - politely - point out to the communications director that they didn't have the authority to restrict my speech. She said "I think that's a valid argument. I just forwarded your email to my boss who has a meeting with the communications director in 15 minutes."
I love my boss!
If the District thinks they're avoiding stink that might arise from one of their teachers -- who had no intention of identifying the district or even my school -- speaking out about school shootings and gun violence, they've clearly not considered the far larger implications of attempting to deprive a private citizen of her first amendment right to free speech.
You want inflammatory statements? Try this on for size "School District Violates Teachers' 1st Amendment Rights"
1958. arkymalarky - 2/23/2018 3:02:12 AM
You go! Keep us posted!
1959. Ms. No - 2/24/2018 12:36:09 AM
So we got yet another refusal back from the district -- they can refuse my participation because I was contacted by the news station exclusively because I'm a district teacher.
Except that wasn't exactly the case.
At any rate, I called the union and our president asked me if it was the same panel that she'd been contacted about sending a CTA member to, and I told her it was, so she invited me to speak as a CTA member.
If the District even notices -- which I highly doubt --- they can't do anything at this point because it could be argued that they were retaliating against me for participating in Union business.
So I went to the panel and spoke and had an excellent experience. It was a pretty diverse panel as far as political views, but we had far more in common than not, and we were all coming from almost exactly the same place regarding the importance of building relationships with our students and how much harder this becomes every year because of the piling on of curriculum and extra duty instruction.
It airs tonight at 11 PST.
They did not use my name, my district name, or the name of my school, so I'm happy as a clam with the way things went. Turns out only two of the other teachers felt comfortable giving their names 00 and then only first names, so I didn't look like the weirdo conspiracy theorist. :-)
1960. Ms. No - 2/24/2018 2:46:56 AM
And we'll never know whether the District would have just not noticed because my stupid union president went and tried to beat her chest over the whole incident and NOW they may have to make an example of me.
I am pro-union, but I am NOT a fan of my union president and now she may have actively harmed my job just so she could pick a fight with the District.
Well, we'll see what happens on Monday. I just got word from my principal that she heard it from her boss who was notifying the communications director and the head of the Academic Office.
The Academic Office which wasn't involved in any of this to begin with and whose involvement now makes me sweat.
I can only hope that my long history of excellent relations with the head of the Academic Office will help to mitigate these circumstances.
1961. arkymalarky - 2/24/2018 5:06:44 PM
Well shit. I think you will prevail, but it may be an unpleasant process that may take a while. I don't see how your communications director has a leg to stand on to tell you can't do something like that, but if you make him / her look bad because it does look bad, the communications director I wish they'd kept quiet, it may be more painful than they wished it would have been. At some point you stand up for right and the people who try to prevent you for doing that will hopefully be exposed for the weasels they are.
1962. arkymalarky - 2/24/2018 5:07:10 PM
1963. Ms. No - 2/25/2018 7:32:16 PM
I'm just hoping that it will have totally blown over by tomorrow. The segment is short, and I speak least of anyone. (Shocking!) Nobody says anything inflammatory, and anyone who pursued this as some violation of my employment is a needle-dick moron.
1964. Ms. No - 3/14/2018 6:10:50 PM
And this time the District shows it can make the right call: They are fully and whole-heartedly supporting the student walk-out today.
My kids are in orange wearing the names of the Florida victims or of people they know who have been victims of gun violence. One of my kids sat up last night making orange ribbon bows for any who want to wear them today.
However shitty I start to feel about the state of our country right now, I can look at these kids -- at kids all across America -- and feel a little relief. The future is fierce. They've got this.
1965. Ms. No - 4/17/2018 10:53:06 PM
Finally kicking the Intro to Medical Coding class to the curb. It's just not suited to high school students. It was originally written for college students in an Allied Health program and just doesn't transfer.
This leaves me open to write a course on Infographics and Visual Literacy!! Very excited!
1966. Ms. No - 5/9/2018 12:07:58 AM
Gotten some great response from the local community college about possible articulation from my Visual Literacy course to either their graphic design program or maybe as an English elective. That would be really cool! The professor I contacted looped in about twelve other staff, and while nobody has a current fit, they're all excited about it and want to see the course when I've got it finished.
Then yesterday my contact came back with another professor at a different campus who is also looking to write a similar course, so I may get a collaborator!
1967. Ms. No - 5/10/2018 9:18:21 PM
Not great news, but a wild story: we had to fire one of our student teachers. (Not mine, fortunately)
My student teacher called me on Friday night. She was upset and had been agonizing since just after lunch the day before. Turns out the other student teacher approached her before the start of the 5th-period class that they team teach and said: I've got some good gossip, but here, first I've got a secret." Then she hands my teacher a Starbucks cup --- always a welcome gift around here -- but when she went to drink it, it was a Margarita.
Yes. A Margarita.
On campus. In the classroom. With kids already filing in.
So, there's lots of drama and story behind all of this, but the long and the short of it was that this was just a final straw for a student teacher we'd already had issues with around attendance and not pulling her weight.
1968. Seamus - 5/10/2018 9:34:14 PM
Craziness indeed! May I assume that this is not the norm for student teachers? Or, to ask the question in a different way, when I read through this thread all the way from when a certain host began her career in 2008 teaching drama, were the details of alcohol use during the day glossed?
1969. Ms. No - 5/11/2018 3:52:09 PM
Ha! If I were much of a drinker anymore, I'm sure some students would have driven me to the bottle, and god knows some days would have been far more tolerable through a whiskey haze, but no, I've never imbibed before, on, or near the job.
Now, come in with less than three hours of sleep? Sure!
1970. Ms. No - 6/1/2018 4:01:54 PM
The Days of Feasts and Tears have officially begun!
Wednesday evening at 5:30 I went to a celebration honoring several of my seniors' successful completion of a two-year internship program. We ate lasagne.
Wednesday at 7:30 I attended a graduation celebration for one of my seniors who had to change schools mid-year. We ate cheesecake.
Last night from 6 to 8 our school hosted the BSU (Black Student Union) Grad Celebration. Fried chicken, fried fish, mac'n'cheese, dirty rice, greens, and cornbread.
Last night was the first cry.
The BSU Celebration goes like this: we gather, there's a live music performance or other entertainment for about 15 minutes, we do the food line and then the graduates come forward to sit in a long row of chairs at the front of the gym. One by one, each student stands and their family comes forward to speak to/about them. Then the student announces their plans for the future.
So, Ms. Ro starts calling folks up, "What's your name, baby?" then "Who stands up for Michael/Kayla/LeJean?" and then family members stand and come up to the front. Almost always a mom, but sometimes a grandmother or auntie if there isn't a mom. A little less than 50% had dads who attended. Some brothers and sisters. After everyone has spoken, they go stand behind the student and the next family comes up.
I'm looking at the row of students and I'm really concerned because one of them got very upset in my classroom just last week over lack of family. And he's the first of my kids who's going to have to stand.
Ms. Ro gets to him, and he's seated, and she asks "Who stands up for S?" and he's shaking his head and looking at the floor and we're already out of our seats headed to the front -- me, the school social worker, the principal, the after-school director -- but he can't see because he's still shaking his head and looking at the floor. And we get up there and he's crying which of course gets all of us crying and we all say our piece about this amazing kid. We all finish speaking and he takes the mic and addresses the room. He tells a roomful of mostly strangers that he's an orphan and that's why he didn't want to stand. He was abandoned in an alley and raised in the system and now he's on his way to college. And of course that gets everybody else crying and then we move on down the line.
1971. Ms. No - 6/1/2018 4:07:15 PM
Later on, when another of our students (T) is standing and her mom is finished speaking, S takes the mic and talks about how much T has contributed to his success and how thankful he is for her friendship and support. That's the kind of person he is: he's always thinking of others.
Oh, man, this kid. One of the kindest people I've ever known. Smart, funny, generous, and heroic. He was in the paper earlier this year because he saw a fire in a vacant lot that was threatening nearby houses. He shouted for help and was already turning a hose on it by the time anyone else got out there. When the fire department showed up they pointed out that if he hadn't acted when he did, they'd have been putting out a house fire rather than just a brushfire.
He's rescued wounded animals and nursed them back to health -- squirells, pigeons, a crow. The policy at the children's home is not to allow pets, but he's been with them since he was a baby, so they give him a little leeway.
This is not to say that he doesn't get on my last nerve sometimes -- which he knows -- but I am continually amazed by this young man. This has been an especially difficult year for him and I know the stress and fear of leaving a safe environment where there are people who care about him has got to be putting him into a panic.
1972. arkymalarky - 6/6/2018 3:07:35 AM
What a wonderful ceremony! There's just nothing like teaching in the whole world. Once I got the hang of it after a couple years I never wanted to do anything else. Still don't. We graduate our seniors and they can select who to give them their diplomas, and four of the 20 or so kids wanted me to give them theirs, and it was a wonderful thing to watch these kids start their new lives feeling like they're ready. Not just academically but emotionally and socially.
1973. Ms. No - 6/6/2018 4:58:03 PM
I just remember running into your former students all over the place when I was out for the Gathering. All different ages and all of them so excited to see you. Just think how many lives you've been a positive force in!
1974. arkymalarky - 6/29/2018 6:12:55 PM
Went to my classroom for the first time since the new teacher has done things with it, and it was sad but really sweet. She's obviously very excited about her job, she's young but has experience, and she's doing really cool things with the room. I'm going to be up there some next year I know, and that makes me feel better, and it really makes me smile and cry at the same time to know that I'm being replaced by somebody who is excited and is going to love her job. And her husband is working there too as a science teacher, so they're long-term. Her stepfather was my student years ago.
1975. arkymalarky - 6/29/2018 6:14:41 PM
And he's also a teacher there and is helping take care of his father who is my colleague. So they're all staying for the Long Haul
1976. arkymalarky - 6/29/2018 6:14:57 PM
Who was my colleague