Monday, March 03, 2008


We found out a few weeks ago that the school would be closing for good in June.

The kids found out about it on the local news. I found out about it from them. A lot of teachers were upset. There were some representatives from the school board that met with the staff that day in the auditorium. People were shouting at them from the back of the dimly lit room. They were saying that the decision was unfair, that the kids needed us, that we didn't deserve to be treated this way. There was applause and standing ovations. There was a lot of anger.

I didn't know how to react.

All the teachers will be fired in June. I will be fired in June. I'll find something else, I know, but I can't stand the thought of leaving my students. It's really depressing to have to leave without wanting to. I've always imagined that getting fired would be sort of direct. Like an event where someone would yell at me and tell me I had to go. This seems so impersonal.

There are a lot of teachers that have been teaching at our school for 20 years or something. I look at my classroom and think about all I have invested in just 2, I can't imagine what it would be like to have to leave 20 years behind. Man. I think about the plants I was thinking about buying next year or the carpet I was hoping to get a grant for so my kids could do group work on the floor. Now it sort of all seems silly.

I think the school definitely needs change. The plan they are proposing will bring that. It will bring in a new administration, more money, more community programs, a new school name and mascot and colors. It will bring in new resources and an entire new energy behind it. But why do they need to fire all the teachers to make that change? Why do they have to fire the lunch ladies and the janitorial staff and the engineers?

Some of these teachers are burned out. That's for sure. Some of them hate their job and hate the kids. But I suspect that some of that has to do with dealing with years and years of the lack of the same things they are promising to bring once we're all gone.

I started out this school year with too little books and too little desks for all my students. In the freshmen gym class there were 65 kids enrolled to one teacher. And now they are telling us, the people that have been making it through this whole time, that we have to leave so they can make the place better?

It's going to be a hard year.


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