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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Math and Science

Last June, the 10th, I completed a very challenging year as a first grade teacher at a public school for Miami-Dade county.  As an interim employee on a 10 month contract I was not promised a position for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, but the principal said she would try her best to keep me, if the district allowed for it. She said that if I were to be hired again I would be teaching second grade, and she went as far as giving me my hypothetical room number.  I thanked her and went home to pack my luggage for the morning flight to San Diego, quickly forgetting about my first grade woes.

I spent the summer in various states of relaxation: Reading in bed; reading on the couch; reading by the pool; reading on the beach (all fiction, of course, I take my vacation's very seriously); playing Angry Birds in bed, on the couch, by the pool, on the beach, etc. Change California to Texas and sprinkle in some wine and that about summarizes my summer vacation.

Like most educators after a long hiatus, I wasn't quite thrilled about the prospect of returning to a life of undisciplined children and complaining parents but I tried to mentally prepare myself for it.  I thought that second grade wouldn't be much different from first grade - the kids would be more mature and I would probably enjoy teaching it better. The only problem was that I hadn't heard anything from my principal about being rehired.  When I called, a couple of weeks ago, to ask about the status of my employment she told me that I needed to wait to hear from her because the district was busy placing other teachers that have been teaching with the county longer than me in available positions.  Immediately I knew that I, once again, would not flow smoothly into another school year.  I consoled myself into accepting my fate as a part time substitute teacher and full time stay-at-home wife.

I began to plan our meals, got a brand new and awesome mop, made to-do lists, and then, THIS morning I received a call from the assistant principal, Mr. Salgado.  It turns out they no longer have any full-time, contract, teaching positions available but they want to show me how "loyal" they are by offering me a temporary long-term substitute position, starting tomorrow until October or even January.

Me: What grade, Mr. Salgado?

Mr. Salgado: Fifth

Me: Fifth?

Mr. Salgado: Yes.

Me:  But I am not certified to teach fifth grade and I have absolutely no experience. I don't know what to do.

Mr. Salgado: Not a problem! Just come in this afternoon, talk to Ms. Respress (principal) and sign a waiver.

And now all my plans of domestic tranquility have been wiped away.  That mop I got yesterday in the mail must have been an omen.  It was saying "You think I'm here to help you clean up minor spills and dog drool but, alas, I am here to wipe away your dreams!".

I have mixed feelings about this job.  I can make pros and cons for days about it, but, honestly, I think it's just a shock for my emotions to go from months of relaxation to suddenly having to set an alarm again.  Just from one day to the next, without a warning.  Oh, and the subject matter I'm going to be teaching: math and science.  Anyone that has spent a fraction of a day with me knows that math and science are on the bottom of subjects I like to teach, along with fifth grade. That show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" is hitting a little too close to home now.

Keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer, rub Buddha's belly, whatever it is you believe in - send some of that my way, please.


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