Apparently I’m the poster child for “be careful for what you wish for.”
Let’s go back 5 years. When I was 40, I was at a PI school near downtown San Jose. Due to how many years under NCLB it hadn’t reached ALL of its goals (it doesn’t matter if the school aced 4 out of 5, you were still in trouble for the 5th), it was cruising towards some low-level of soul-sucking awfulness of interference. I was ready for a change since I was tired of the constant meetings that allowed for very little else, including working with students (unless I wanted to give up my lunch time).
So when I heard about a school going K-8, I jumped on it. My dream job had always been a self-contained 6th grade. The first year was not successful. I had a hard time with the kids, the community, the rationale for what was going on, and they had buyer’s remorse with me. Somehow, by February it was better. However, it was slow going. By the end of the year, I thought, well, maybe next year.
The next year was better, the kids were far more fabulous, I had my own class, and I thought I was going forward. I still didn’t have a team or a colleague, but I had hope. It wasn’t great; it wasn’t bad.
Year three was wrong. I remember being astutely aware that we were not making progress. I wasn’t making progress. I couldn’t figure out how to move ahead and actually make it work. We needed to be a full program. I even suggested one thread for K-8. It didn’t seem to matter if I noted it wasn’t working, or tried to get us to go in a direction, or even suggested that we determine a course, I was wrong. I was what was wrong. I remember crying in a meeting knowing that I was considered the asshole letting everyone know that I hadn’t envisioned the program being this way. I cared.
Now… it’s over. I can’t do it anymore. OK, that’s a lie. I can do it. I have skills and the capability. I just don’t want to. In four years we’ve never managed to move beyond mediocre. One could say that it’s my fault. After all, I’m the only one who’s been there all 4 years. I’m the only constant in a sea of suck.
So I’ve asked for reassignment. Yet, there are ripples in the fabric. I’m hearing tales of others who are being recruited who “will” make it work. Who have vision and ideas. It breaks my heart. First, that I was never allowed to really try with support. Second, what if they encounter the same thing? I know I’m jealous at someone being able to groom the program and actually make it something. On one hand I want that person or that team to be wildly successful. On the other hand, it just emphasizes what a waste these last four years have been.
Now what? I’ve asked to stay; to move to a lower grade. I’ve signed a transfer form, for whatever that means. Maybe it’s time to leave this particular district for good. People say that I’ll just run into the same problems in different places, but maybe that’s the right thing. After all, if you get divorced, is it healthy to live together? Sigh.
This makes my obsession with Goyte’s “Somebody I Used to Know” more poignant. Is this how it will be when I’m gone?