Two years ago this month I had just finished my master’s degree at UCR, and I figured it would be quite a few years before I was ever that busy again. Maybe that’s true, but I feel like I’ve recently approached that critical mass once again. I have a hard time even listing all the activities and responsibilities I’ve taken on recently, and it’s a wonder I haven’t totally skipped out on one or more of my current obligations.
At the beginning of the year, I told myself I would seize every opportunity to make extra money, starting with accepting every period sub request. Ironically, I’ve only period subbed once or twice, but I’ve landed a slew of other tasks. I’m going to list them now, because in a year I’ll have forgotten almost half.
Mentor Teacher for a Struggling Colleague
I applied for this one at the beginning, interviewed before a panel of 5 educators, and landed the gig. I’ve been meeting with the teacher, observing her teaching, and she’s even come in to observe me a few times. There has been a modicum of improvement, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be. It’s discouraging that I wasn’t able to make more of a difference, but at the same time, I don’t believe the teacher grasped the urgency of the situation. I don’t feel she did everything she could to improve.
Teaching an After-school EL Writing Class
I taught this one from early February, and we’ll wrap up the class next week. We worked three days a week for an hour each day, focusing on critical reading and writing. It went well, but teaching writing for a seventh period is exhausting.
I began the year logging one or two days a week in the after school mandatory study hall, until it was time to tackle the afterschool writing class. It was a bit less stressful than last year, but I was glad when the writing class demanded that I retreat into the relative solitude of my classroom.
Worked every one of these I possibly could.
I was asked to help coach the English section. The kids competed today at a local junior high, and I did a crappy job of preparing them. The craziness peaked one day when I was doing a book discussion with the pentathlon kids, supervising students who had not finished their work, and monitoring the writing of the students in my after school writing class. Three activities occurring simultaneously.
Why not? I jumped at the opportunity, because one of my career goals is to get involved with the training of new teachers. She turned out to be an excellent student teacher, but there is still a ton of extra planning, management, and retraining of each class. There is a lot to be said for maintaining personal control over your own class for the duration of the year. I’m fighting hard almost every day to remind the students of what is acceptable and what is not. They are pushing the limits, and I feel like I’m having more major discipline difficulties than ever before. I don’t know if I’m slipping, if it’s the multiple sources of authority in one classroom, or if this years crop is just more wild than usual. I’m not the only one having issues, so maybe it’s the latter.
New Job Applications
I applied for an instructional coach position, which was awkward because I needed to ask both administrators for a letter of recommendation. This was the first time I let fly that I have been thinking about moving on for the last three years. I set my salary requirement at 80-85k, and I didn’t hear back. Too bad, because I felt like I was well-qualified.
Applying for the Administrative Credential
For the last year I’ve been considering applying to take the test. A new friend, acquaintances, and even my own principal have recommended that I pursue administration. I don’t want to be a VP, but the administrative credential will open up a lot of doors. Now I have to pass a video component (me conducting a meeting showing my “skills and abilities”) and a written exam. I’m signed up for a couple hundred bucks, and I have to pass this sucker or I’m going to be pissed for wasting the money.
Scholars of American History
For the third year, I’m taking part of a cohort of history teachers who attend scholar presentations, technology education seminars, and field studies related to American history. I completed an in-depth lesson plan and a technological project which I will present at a showcase in a few weeks. This is essentially a college course in various topics of US history. We read books, create projects, post to blogs, and attend lectures and field trips. It’s a chance to hang out with some peers, but it’s still a lot of extra work on nights and weekends.
Applying for More Jobs
I’ve been thinking of applying to a few charter schools in the LA area, but the commute, even by train, is worrisome. I would need a stop right next to the school, or I’d have to pack a bike every day. I haven’t applied to any of these yet. I applied to the local high school, which just so happened to have an opening. I have an interview next week.
Add to this list the normal teaching duties, keeping kids after school for required make-up work on a regular basis, and participating in various committees and subcommittees (site based, PLC leadership, HWC leadership).
Summer is around the corner, and I just had a skype interview for a position teaching/chaperoning 5th grade students from Korea, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 5 weeks. I don’t know what the pay will be, and I’m not sure if I’m up for leaving wife and kids for that long. Local summer school is seniority based, and even though I applied, I think I missed the last teaching opening by one spot. Maybe another class will open up and they’ll need me, but for now, I’m considering anything. I just got done talking to my cousin, who manages trainers at a gym, and he sold me on attending a one day class to get a starter personal training certification. At least this would be flexible, and I’d have some variety in my day to day.
The weirdest part of all of this is walking around my campus during work and considering that this may be the last month I spend at this place. It’s been the longest chunk of time I’ve spent doing ANYTHING in my life, and I’ve made some good friends. I’ve developed as a person and as an educator. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I know I need to keep pushing myself out of the comfort zone.
And we bought a new car. Goodbye Mazda. Is this step one to “goodbye life as a know it”?