I would say that I’m surprised, but I’m really not. For all the planning and good intentions in the world, it seems my school never does get the long end of the stick. Growing population and student need aside, we make do with less every year. Yes, I just started working at that school last year, but I immediately recognized the need for more resources. Yet, we continue to do without because of the education budget.
At the end of last year, I was at the end of my rope. I felt run-down from working late at night, unappreciated by my colleagues, who felt that I did less than them, and, quite frankly, unheard by those higher up than I am. I began applying for jobs outside of my school system. I even began applying for jobs outside of my field. It wasn’t until the end of the year that I finally felt understood and heard by my boss. I wound up with a great evaluation at the end of the year because I work my butt off for the kids, and I finally got some acknowledgement for it. I also realized that he, too, only wanted the best for our students. We all needed to learn from each other and communicate.
After a heart-to-heart, I felt that perhaps I could stay in this job. I still continued to consider my options, though. I felt unsure about whether we were doing the right thing or could do the right thing for our kids. In the end, though, I know I had to stay. And I got offered the position at the school that I wanted, so I felt really good about that. I would be the resource person and make sure students who really needed it would skill-build so they could close gaps. We were supposed to get an extra position at our school to accomplish this task. This was a reasonable request, as our caseload had grown considerably, requiring me to expand our files to another filing cabinet.
The other shoe dropped this week, when I discovered the position hadn’t been approved yet through the budget. Things moved quickly from there and we found out we would not get the extra person. Not only that, but one of our EC people had quit last year, so we lost half of a position on top of not getting another person. This results in a loss of 2 hours in the day to cover with us having an increase in students. The only thing we can do to cover the students? Have the rest of us each go into the coteaching classrooms plus teach a resource section each and lose 45 minutes of planning.
Yes, this is the reality of the education budget situation. Is it my administrator’s fault? No. Is it my EC Director’s fault? No. It’s probably not even my school district’s fault. There’s no money. With no money, we have no teachers.
We either short the students or we stretch teachers thin. It comes as no surprise to me that we’re in this situation. It just saddens me that we’re here again. I could easily call up the two principals that called me this past week and offered me an interview and see if that grass is greener on the other side, but I doubt it. When they called, I politely told them that I appreciated the offer for an interview, but I had a position already that I was happy in. I meant that. I suppose I will find a way to make this work for the children. Besides, money is tight everywhere. All I can do is pray that one day the people in the House and Senate of North Carolina will see that Education is a priority and hope that happens before I’m too tired to teach. Something’s gotta give, North Carolina. Try surprising me in a good way for once.
Graphs from Center on Budget and Public Policies at http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4011