Sunday, March 15, 2009
Pink Friday...Could-a Been Worse...
Pink Friday in CA. The day that thousands of teachers received their "pink slips." (Notice of possibly not being rehired the following school year...)
I was one of them.
I've known about this day since January and had mentally and emotionally prepared for it. And now it has come and gone.
What I didn't realize is that this was a state-wide day of support for all those teachers. At my own school, every staff member, and even the administrators, were wearing pink.
Still...there is hope. These are just "warning letters." These are not "you're laid-off, go start looking for a new job" letters. I'm hanging onto that glimmer of hope. And I could very likely be safe when final decisions are made in May at my district. I understand, this is all about covering the bases and the whole "procedure" of things. Along with those "procedures" are some upcoming meeting and even a hearing, that people like me are encouraged to participate in. Fine. I'll jump through their hoops and not let it consume me. That's all I can do.
Thank goodness for my family and friends, near and far. They have been so supportive.
The ones who really surprised me were my students. My little 5th grade munchkins who I have now been with for 2 years.
I'm a big believer in being very straight with my students. It is the way I was raised and, frankly, I think they appreciate being in the loop and being respected like that. So, they have known that my job was in jeopardy. I wanted them to know because, let's face it, it is HARD not to let those kinds of things affect me and, possibly, affect my teaching. So, we've talked about it.
On Friday we were getting in shape for an upcoming physical fitness test, so I wore sweats so I could go running with them. Our wonderful stock & materials lady, Ms. Yvonne, had cut out a bunch of pink hearts and put pins on them. I wore one and brought the rest to my room for my kids to wear. Hearts. PINK hearts. Surely few of them would want to wear one.
We ran out. They all wanted to wear one.
The real surprise came at lunch.
I had been checking my box at recess and then at lunch for my "letter." I just wanted to get this next grisly step over with. Then it occurred to me that something like this probably had to be given in person.
After lunch I brought my kids inside for their water breaks and a story. They were all giggly and secretive and they had something for me:
INSIDE: (I couldn't believe they would do all this....)
All of the class had signed it. They even hunted down a few former students, some of the ELD kids from my morning group, and had signed the names of the kids who had moved away. The funny ones? Check out the "signatures" of Harry Potter, Roald Dahl (they know he's my favorite author,) and Barack Obama!! As they explained it, "Yeah, Teacher, Barack Obama flew down in Air Force One, signed your card, and went back to Washington DC!"
What can I say? I couldn't help but be deeply touched. They don't realize what a thing like that means to a teacher.
When the kids were in the library I went to the office and, finally, collected my letter. All the fear and anxiety wasn't there, as I expected it to be. I took it, I read it, and that was it. I picked my kids up from the library and we went and listened to our choir sing some songs from The Sound of Music. They did a great job!
After school I went to the district office and dropped off some paperwork to get the ball rolling with all of this "procedure" stuff. Then I came home, went to the cemetery with my mom and nephew...it had been one year since my grandpa had passed away...and then to the mechanic for my car's check up.
The night passed nicely and quietly, and I was calm over all this job business. Me. Calm when I've received a letter like this. Who would-a thunk it?
The irony is that, despite the "letter," my day was actually pretty GREAT. And that was my Pink Friday.