My second gig was the best/worst. It was a high school in an exclusive neighborhood. I was in a second floor classroom that overlooked the golf course which was part of the country club that was next door. The view was spectacular, if you like that beautifully manicured nature kind of look.

The department I was in was the best/worst. We ate lunch everyday together. Don’t know if you realized it, but peer pressure is worse as an adult than growing up. Not everyone liked everyone, but for an hour a day we pretended. (More on that later.) Most did have a certain degree of respect for each other, but two teachers in particular did not like each other, and bless my soul each had a door that opened their classroom to my classroom on either side. Joy

Okay, I’ll get right to it. I can’t remember the specific beefs each had with the other. I don’t know if I have said this before, I would have made a great priest. After walking out of the confessional, I would have remembered nothing. These teachers knew the other didn’t like each other. Every day I would get to work early and stay late. I only lived about 2 miles away, again, the best/worst thing about this gig.

As luck would have it, one would get to work early and the other would stay late. They always didn’t bitch about each other every day, it only seemed like it. They did, however, feel compelled to come to my room almost every day and talk, extensively, which was the best/worst. It’s a theme that will be repeated at almost every point, if not every point.

I love to collaborate. I love to share ideas. I like to hear successes, and also to know I am not the only one struggling at times. For that my co-workers constant presence was helpful. There can be too much share time however. Back to lunch.

Not only was there an expectation that we eat together, all teachers, all para-professional educators (instructional assistants), but on Fridays, every Friday we would collaborate on a single meal. Not a pot-luck. We had kitchen facilities between rooms, best/worst because all the teachers in the building would use the space as it had a stove/oven/microwave, sinks, and a full sized refrigerator/freezer. We saw most of our colleagues every day and traffic was sometimes heavy.

We brought ingredients to work and MADE a meal. It was kind of cool. It was kind of kooky. The term I used to use when telling others about that site and the district in general was incestuous. I know one of the reasons I got that job was I was an alum of a school in the district. Over half the staffs at each school had alums that worked those schools and everyone on the administrative level were students at one of those schools. Crazy.

Oh, just remembered. I scored big points my first year because there was a teacher that had never cooperated or collaborated with any of the teachers in my department before I was hired. He was the school’s drama teacher, who unfortunately for his students, had to also teach a couple of sections of English to have a full schedule.

I say unfortunately because the best/worst thing about the guy was he was the drama teacher. The guy won awards. I had no idea before, but school plays have competitions just like sports and band. They even have playoffs and championships! Who knew?!, right?! Well this guy was a multi-regional and several time state champion drama teacher. This guy had talent, but I watched him work. He is/was definitely one of the best at the drama thing.

So here’s how I got in his class. We meet for lunch where I was to make my pitch about what a great idea it would be for him to work with me, one period a day. I had the info about him being the drama god and I also recognized I was the only male in my department. (After working with him for a while, I could see why he would not want any adults in his class. Ugh, more on that later.)

Knowing what it takes to put any kind of production together with kids, I told him I was more than okay with him staying in the office for the period so he could make phone calls or do paperwork or run off campus to run an errand related to putting the show together, just leave me some lessons plans and I would be cool with that, and oh, by the way I have a friend who is a professional costume designer and I could probably get him a good price for that seasons wardrobe.

Bingo. I was in! 😀

So another best/worst thing about this gig was working with this guy. It was the first time I had run a general education class, and it was the first time I had experienced questionable teacher behavior with students. When I brought it to my department chair’s attention she informed me that complaints had been made over the years, nothing was ever done. This was almost 15 years ago and there was no physical contact, there were comments and lingering stares that made me and those students uncomfortable.

This is also the site of my blog “Stealing” Oh my, how have I refrained from writing more about this place sooner?

Finally, the actual factor in me looking for another place to work was where I lived. It was walking distance from the school, and in the school’s boundary lines. Not students lived in the complex I lived in, but some of them visited friends that did. Also I would run into parents and students at the grocery store or other local shopping places and restaurants.

If you’ve been reading, you know I really value my time any from people 🙂

I have more to say about this school. Oh Senior pranks were by far the best!

Thank you. May God Bless and keep you. May God’s Face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you Peace.

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