Approximately 1 1/2 years ago, I resigned from a teaching post at a CA State sanctioned Charter School due to circumstances that were so far beyond reason, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/02/25/22nar_ep.h28.html?tmp=1443110228 my parents and friends decided to certify me nuts if I did not resign. Suffice it to say that one of the many horrors I faced was a male principal who spoke with a female teacher colleague specifically about me/my medical condition (I ultimately had to have a non-elective hysterectomy which was proceeded by substantial bleeding, as one might imagine) in great detail – ex: how much can women really bleed….Of course FEHA agreed this was a disturbing conversation but since it was not against me on grounds of race, religion, sex identity, etc., it was not (nor many other problems) grounds for my resignation as the principal was just doing his job to make sure he had a teacher for the students in his charge. When the principal stated he realized I may need to have surgery earlier than the summer (when it was originally scheduled as I needed 4-6 weeks of recuperation), he hoped I could wait until after spring testing as my students ‘needed me’. He needed me (not my students) in the ways of the following article: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/04/29/30koretz_ep.h28.html?tkn=NVOFrov3C%2FZ3K6N23ailiNrQcSf4%2BT6T6jHI Rather than feeling the love and appreciation of said shallow statement, I was overly concerned that my health and well being was NOWHERE in the equation (of course same principal was leaving school early and regularly to ‘assist’ a friend who was dying from a brain tumor). Yes, all true – I have the paperwork to support it all and friends/family continue to be in horror and dismay as much as I am that FEHA has apparently progressed little since Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. Apparently you can be treated in a manner that is disturbing and physically unhealthy as long as the employer did not have the INTENTION of persisting in this behavior based on one of the protected classes in fair employment law. Yes, more reason to believe charter school teachers deserve a union, however, that is a whole other conversation.
I write this pre-cursor so people understand why some one with a graduate degree in education ( from an ivy) with math and science to Gr 9 credentials in CA finds herself substitute teaching. How did I go from ‘there’ to here?
After leaving the teaching position (interestingly, I never cried upon leaving, was never sad about the choice and could unequivocally state I would do it again), I began to find a variety of positions in both the non-profit and ed tech fields. None of them paid very well or provided benefits to a part time employee, yet I was able to cobble three part time jobs together and stay afloat at various points. I subsequently took a position with a business that had an interesting business plan and was vc’d. I was laid off so they could employ a ‘freshly minted college grad with limited education background, but a ton of perseverance and Type A personality’ at a substantially cheaper rate. One previous employee was laid off prior to me and another chose to leave after being unable to negotiate a reasonable rate of pay. Much of the rest of the work was outsourced to, yes, India! It is always easier to off shore vc than to actually invest in America (interestingly, the company is centered upon helping American Students learn math…..).
Prior to being laid off, the economy was already in free fall dive. After the lay off, the free fall was no longer slo-mo, it was accelerating due to the ‘gravity’ of the situation.
Since my time away from teaching was to get my direction back (I felt as though my moral compass had been stripped away since FEHA felt that my principal’s behavior was appropriate for the situation) and explore what did work in education, I decided to observe schools in action by subbing.
It has been a most interesting experience. More to follow on subbing.
Please note the first comment in the article above…..apparently my story is not so unique.