Saturday, March 10, 2007

I left my lung in Bernalillo and my hopes at APS

I went for my 30-mile ride with Pirate today, and I have to give her a lot of credit for hanging back with me, as I hacked and puffed my way over a very pleasant, flat ride. I think I made her late for her 10 am appointment with her coach, but she was good sport about it. I also enjoyed the freedom of the one nostril blow all the way to Bernalillo and back. Cleared my head out pretty good, it did.

The Interview I had on Thursday was for a high school substance abuse counselor. I felt like things went well, and the enormous amount of OTC cold meds I took managed to stave off symptoms until after the interview, when I got in my car and coughed continuously all the way home.

After 8 years of teaching I'm ready to leave the classroom. When I first started teaching, it was my goal to make every kid love science and math. Over the past few years my goals have changed. Now I want school to be a positive, stable place (for many kids it's the only stable place) so that they'll stay and graduate and have positive associations with education.

That's why I'm so bitter about NCLB. I hate the effect it has on school environment and kids. I firmly believe that NCLB's lasting legacy will be kids who are squeezed out of school because they don't boost the data.

I was certified as a school counselor 3 years ago, but since I already have a job, I've been limiting my applications to those within my district. The problem is, I'm a veteran math and science teacher. There is a critical shortage of math teachers in the US. The last two times I was seriously job searching, all I did was walk into a district office and ask if there were any math openings. I was asked if I could be at an interview in an hour, and they didn't care how I was dressed. Each time after the interview I had to promise that, yes, I would be back to teach math for them.

There is not, however, a critical shortage of counselors. In my district, there are several dozen applicants for each counselor opening. There's no way they'll vacate a veteran math and science position to fill a counseling opening.

So, Thursday's interview was with Albuquerque Public Schools. They don't know me; I can't rely on my reputation. They don't know that, unofficially, some students with certain "issues" are placed in my classroom, nor have they sat with me at parent-student meetings, nor have they observed my classroom. So I had 45 minutes to dazzle them and convince them of my competence. So, we'll see. I feel like things went well, but I'm realistic.

In the meantime, I keep reminding myself that I have a job, and it's steady and it doesn't suck. Yet.



  1. Good luck! I am thankful there are people like you.

  2. Way to represent somebody who knows how to abuse drugs in your interview! ;-) Good luck on the new position.

  3. Gosh, sounds wonderful, sounds like you'd be wonderful in it. I hope it works out for you!

  4. Best of Luck finding the position you want. It really is too bad that the classroom/schools have become what they have because of NCLB. We are losing great teachers, such as yourself because of this. Unfortunately I think it's a conspiracy that will eventually do away with public education as we know it...the last great "equalizer" gone. Scary stuff, huh?

  5. If for any reason you do not get this new position, don't be disheartened. It means that those kids who are in your care right now need you more. I've read your posts about the kids and how you interact with them. Most teachers are so busy playing CYA that they forget about what the kids really need. They need, and appreciate, someone who sets standards for them and expects more from them than most. Being a straight shooter with them develops their trust and respect. They need that secret kindness of slipping them a bottle of shampoo... Sure, there are other kids who need the help of a counselor because they are abusing drugs, etc. Maybe, just maybe, you are where you are because you are helping others before they reach the point of dependency on substances. I love reading your posts that reflect your interaction with the kids. I had a teacher who was very similar to you and how you interact. To this day, when someone asks me who I admire most, 24 years later, she is the person whose name I speak.I met with her 3 years ago for a quick bite over a McD's burger and told her how I felt and still feel. I hope I made her feel like she made a difference. I could have easily gone another direction. Most of the people who I "ran" with already had. Being a teacher is so much more than showing them the steps to the answer of an equation - it's about being a human being who really cares. It seems to me that you do.

  6. I can tell that whichever position you end up with, you will have a positive influence on those students that really need a caring person to turn to. Best wishes for getting the position that you want, but I'm so glad that you're willing to stay where you are and keep working as hard as you so for your students. I hope my boys grow up and have at least 1 teacher who is as dedicated as you are.

  7. oh now, I wasn't too late! Good ride - I had fun!

    I hate NCLB on principle. Is that wrong? I suppose I should have a more grounded reason.

    Fingers crossed on the new job...

  8. Principle is good enough...there are ethical standards for testing that are set by several professional bodies, including the American Psychological Association. They include that no test that is created for one purpose (say, student achievement) should be used to measure something else (say, school's education ability). As well, NCLB was not created with input from educational researchers or education professionals in general. As a result, there have already been lawsuits filed because it violates several special education laws, and because it is an "unfunded mandate".


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Even though I was in awful shape in 2016 I was still stubborn and I spent a year running down whatever fitness base I had left...