naodrith: (Default)
([personal profile] naodrith Jun. 28th, 2010 11:22 am)
I had a few teachers in high school who changed my life, but one of them who I'd consider a friend now was more or less forced out under the new administration.

She was an amazing teacher. I never had her for Spanish, but I TA'd for her for a semester. She never took any bullshit from the idiots who were only in the class for the credits; she made jokes in Spanish, to freshmen, and she taught enough of them well enough that they laughed. I had her for American Government and Child Development and Economics, but I mostly don't remember the classes. I remember how she was as a person, strong and brilliant and uncompromising in her beliefs. She coached the debate team despite the fact that the school would not give her a budget for it. She ran the Service Committee for Student Council; she ran National Honor Society; she did a great deal of work setting up the blood drive twice a year, and always donated herself.

This year we had a new principal, and the new administration is driving the school into the ground. Basically, they came to her to say that they wanted to put her on less than part-time, with no benefits. She explained that as her husband is currently unemployed and she has two kids to support, she would be leaving instead. After fifteen years.

They did this so that she would quit. So that they would be able to say nobody was fired.

Oh, and they did this without apparently realising that she did more for the school than just teaching.

There will probably be no debate team next year. I wouldn't be surprised if there was no Service Committee or if it became a mere joke. Who knows what will happen to NHS.

And no more kids are going to have their lives changed, because she was among the last of the teachers who could actually relate to teenagers. And guess what? Another of those teachers just moved away because her husband got a better job in another state.

I didn't love high school when I was in it, but, you know, there's a reason that I go back every summer to do a play for free even though it has the worst stage in history. It was a good school. I loved the people there - the kids I worked with, and the teachers I would go and visit when I had the chance.

There is one of those teachers left now. And he will probably retire soon. Or maybe they'll find a way to get rid of him, too.

Summer drama felt different this year. I didn't have as much fun, and I've been blaming the script, the actors, the lack of a crew - anything I could. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe I got infected with the attitude the kids have had this whole year. That school is changing, and not for the better.

Next year might be the last year I do this. I've got one more good script in me. Hell, this might have been the last year - maybe I'll be pushed out, too.

We'll see.

From: [identity profile]

I just read this else I would have commented sooner.

I was absolutely horrified when I found out that she would no longer be teaching there. I haven't visited much at all since graduation, but last spring I needed observation hours for an education class. Of course I could have asked one of the music teachers since that is my major, but I really only wanted to be in her classes. I was so glad I did that. Much of the homework connected to those hours came from her classroom, and not from the classroom to which I had been assigned. She also talked to me about current issues in education which became large topics of discussion in my education classes.

Aside from that experience, she was indeed an excellent person and teacher. She made everything an opportunity for a person to learn and grow, even for people she had every right to loathe. She also made herself available to anyone who didn't seem to learn at the same pace as everyone else, working with them and their schedule to create a time table that worked for them. Considering her own very busy schedule with all of the other non-academic tasks she did at school as well as her family, both as a single mom and a new mom, I still find it hard to fathom she was able to do this. On top of that, she often took an interest in the student as a person. Comparing her to many teachers both in and out of her same school, most don't measure up.

I cannot imagine returning to my old high school and not seeing her there. It is a darker place without her, and even though I know she had been attempting to seek employment elsewhere (perhaps to head off this very event), I also know that she was not entirely glad to be rid of the place.

I hope someone recognizes this mistake and prevents more like it. I hope that the tide turns in a direction that builds the school into something worth attending again, instead of destroying the only things and people that are preventing collapse. Oddly enough, I feel that Summer Drama is one of those things. I hope you do continue, and I really do wish I could have been a part of it this year, or at least seen it. If, however, things continue to progress in this direction, perhaps it is best for the school to fail rather than stumble along as the grotesque thing it is becoming. Whatever you decide, I will support you. I hope you are doing well, love. :)


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