Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Heather = Toby (or, Free at Last!!!)

As I went to the office to return my classroom keys, a certain admin stopped what she was doing to exclaim, "I need to check you out and inspect your room!" even though the member of the office staff assigned to inspect classrooms had already done her job. That person explained that I was already checked out and that my room was fine. So the admin grabbed my checkout sheet and scrutinzed every last thing, even though I had gone above and beyond, creating my own typed and categorized inventory sheet for items in my classroom (this school has NEVER inventoried their materials, even though they have had millions of dollars of state and federal money poured into it when they became an empowerment school). I also provided receipts for everything I had purchased for my classroom in the last two years (totalling over $4,000).

"What about your whiteboards, sweetie?" she asked.

"I never received white boards from this school." I answered. During my first year of teaching at Vegas Verdes ES, I went to Home Depot, ordered a large piece of melamine tile board, which I had cut into 1' by 1' squares. Ghetto? Yes, but a much more economical solution than the Lakeshore Learning addiction that this school suffers from.

"Well, every classroom received whiteboards." she said.

"No, they did not." I wanted to tell her that some classrooms also received easels, smart boards, curtains, custom tiled floors and paint jobs, furniture, plastic trees, etc...

"I'm sure they didn't just grow feet and walk off," she said, trying to rally the support of the office full of other teachers and office staff. "Hmph. I guess next year we'll have to take an inventory and make a sign out sheet so these things don't just continue WALK OFF when people leave."

"Um, okay. Here are my keys."

I may be a perfectionist, I may be a little messy, and I may come to school with wet hair a few times a year... but I am NOT a thief. I haven't stolen so much as a paper clip from that freaking place. It infuriates me that Dr. G would try to imply that I stole from children, when in fact, she and her inner circle had been misappropriating funds for the last three years. I'd been harassed for the last few weeks of school, but trying to publicly call me out on whiteboard theft while I'm dropping off my keys? Unbelievable.

More "Fun and Exciting" things that I choose not to be a part of:

  • Multi-age classrooms (1st grade - 3rd grade) where older gifted students are required to "teach" remedial students. Kids don't come to school to teach, they come to school to learn.
  • Not making Adequate Yearly Progress for several years in a row due to a lack of structure and actual teaching.
  • Spending tens of thousands of dollars to fly out personal friends and pay for their travel expenses, under the guise of hiring "consultants."
  • General misuse of state and federal money.
  • Teacher turnover rate of more than 50%
  • and many, many more...

From our Union's website:
NRS 388.132 requires schools to provide a safe and respectful learning environment. This applies as much to students as it does to teachers. Teachers often discuss issues regarding parent and/or administrator threats, abuse, and harassment. There are statutes and school district polices to protect teachers from these types of actions. Because of the requirements of NRS 388.132, the school district promulgated Policy 5137 which provides that teachers have the right to work in an environment free from harassment, abuse, and threats.

Click here for some further insight into my journey at an "empowerment" school.
Michael and Toby's Greatest Moments

And just to show that we're not all fun and games, here is a little food for thought...