I’ve Been Traded

Not really, but it feels similar. Starting Monday I’ll be leaving seventh grade US History for the high school and Civics, Free Enterprise and World Geography.

I like the parish in which I teach. My principal, not so much. While she’s a micromanager and extremely disorganized, I’m very independent and CDO (that’s OCD in alphabetical order, like it should be). As a teacher, my only request from administrators is to be left the heck alone. I have the best test scores in the school, I have no discipline problems, I’m never absent, the students like me and their parents like me. With those credentials, I figured any sensible principal would be more than happy to leave me be and go worry about stuff that actually needs attention. Not so at my school. I actually had a written reprimand placed in my personnel file because I abbreviated the days of the week on my lesson plans. That’s just one example.

That kind of stuff led me to the school board office one day for a transfer request form. Like I said, I enjoy the parish, so I figured rather than look in a totally different place, I’d request a transfer to the high school. I never completed the form. Instead, last week I received a message from the central office telling me to come see the superintendent after school. Of course, my first thought was “OMG, what did I do?” Turns out one of the high school teachers found a job in another parish and that parish’s super called ours for a reference. Knowing we were about to have a vacancy, she had wondered aloud how to fill it. Her secretary remembered me picking up the request form and mentioned my name. Thus, the meeting and my transfer to the high school.

I’m not excited about switching during the year. If I’d completed the form I would have requested to switch next year. Moving now makes me crazy because I feel like I’m leaving a job undone; too many loose ends. It’s no good for the students, either. They’ve adjusted to my system and style but now have to start over. I’m also not excited about switching one class three. The extra prep time means I may, for the first time, actually have to take some work home with me.

Still, this morning when I received the same five page double sided ten point font memo of gripes, complaints and tasks that every other teacher did, I got to throw mine in the trash. And when they all gathered for our weekly hour long faculty meeting while I walked out the door, I knew for sure I would be better off in the high school.

As you might have guessed from my transfer story, I teach in a small parish. That means most of the students I teach this year will be the same ones I taught in seventh grade two years ago. Next year I will have last year’s students. The year after that, this year’s. So it’ll be four years before I have a totally new crop. Not sure what to make of this.

On the one hand I really like most of my students and am looking forward to teaching them again. Especially since they’ll be older and therefore (in theory) more intelligent and responsible. On the other hand, familiarity breeds contempt. In fact, while I was at the high school meeting with the teacher I am replacing, one of my former students saw me and asked what I was doing there. Not wanting to ruin the surprise, I said I was there for a meeting. He replied “Oh good, because if you were coming over here to teach us again, I’d have to shoot myself.” I told him the feeling was mutual. Still, most of the former students I saw today either hugged me (ugh) or said they missed me or something similar. Even the smart asses were, I think, in a way expressing fondness.

In short, I’m happy. When I was visiting with the high school principal this afternoon, I told him I’d gone over the curriculum and planned my first few lessons. Then I asked him what I needed to know to teach there. He thought and said “Just go up there and do your thing, we’ll leave you to do your job.” Like I said, that’s all I need.

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3 Comments on “I’ve Been Traded”

  1. Greenshirt Says:

    Congratulations + good luck. Funny how picking up a form (and not doing anything with it) led to the change. “CDO” – laugh it up people, these are the yucks!

  2. […] switch: Would you change jobs like this? At NorLa, Wheeler writes “I’ve been traded.” Not really, but it feels similar. Starting Monday I’ll be leaving seventh grade US […]

  3. Mr. B Says:

    Yikes, I can’t blame you for wanting to leave that. I got really lucky with my principal, who’s not a micromanager or intrusive into what I do in my class. I know that satisfaction with administrators is a key in the overall happiness of teachers, and cases like this are evidence why bad administrators (or even good administrators who are misguided or overreaching) can cause so much dissatisfaction for teachers.

    Good luck with the switch (although I still envy you for only having three preps – I’m at a small school and teach almost all of the English courses, so a lot of work comes home with me unless I stick around at school for a while at the end of the day).

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