Krant World is not a destination, amusement park or an international newspaper! It may be all those, however I am revealing my world. Although I have achieved many of the goals most of you want to achieve, I still have to deal with real world problems. Financial success does not remove all problems! Money does not solve all problems! I decided to share my strategy to problem solving.
The last few years have been pretty rocky! I lost my teaching assignment in June, 2011. What does that mean? I no longer had a permanent assignment although I had a job. If I did nothing, I would be a pool teacher. A pool teacher is a permanent substitute teacher. Each day, I would receive a phone call telling me where to go and I would cover various classes. It may sound interesting to some, but it has many pitfalls. Substitutes are treated badly by the system, students and even the permanent teachers.
Often, there are no lesson plans, students think they can do what they want and you are just babysitting. In most cases, they are unplanned absences and that is why there is no lesson plans. This is not limited to education! In the real world when your boss is away everyone relaxes a little bit. In a classroom, students act out because they think they can get away with it. Your classroom management skills become paramount! You are no longer a teacher, but more of a disciplinarian.
Faced with this future, I tried very hard to find a permanent position. I spent ten (10) years teaching computer science and business in high school and wanted to remain there. Unfortunately, I was displaced! I was a casualty of budget cuts and I needed to find a permanent assignment. I found a position in a high performing middle school (6th -8th grades). I accepted the position despite my misgivings of teaching younger students. More budget cuts and my position was eliminated!
Displaced again and I was placed at a high school to cover a computer class. Much better, but I still am teaching in an environment where budgets are tight and elective subjects are disposable. I am in the same category as art, music, and other electives. The emphasis is on core subjects to meet state standards. If you ask students, it is the electives that they are interested in. Budgets trump everything and electives are hit again and I am displaced again.
Faced with the same situation, I expected to find something! I did all the usual searches within the district and even some outside the district. I interviewed for a couple of positions, but nothing materialized. I started school as a pool teacher and no real teaching assignment. I was at my default school which meant I was there unless I had an assignment. I performed every task needed and did them well. I had a job to do and I was going to do my best.
I issued textbooks, called parents, administered CELDT tests and covered a variety of classes. It was an opportunity to show my skills in everything I did. It is turning lemons into lemonade! Although I demonstrated my skills, no permanent assignment was in sight! I have been covering the same classes for two weeks now as a substitute teacher. The permanent teacher is out on disability. She will return in a week and I will return to covering classes. I am optimistic because I look to the future.
A pool teacher travels from school to school, no permanent classes and at the will of the district. It is tough, but I have a job! I am creating a positive reputation everywhere I go which keeps me positive. This is only temporary and I can call on a lot of administrators for recommendations. I am still checking the job postings and networking. The union is negotiating with the district to lower class size which will add jobs or in my case a permanent assignment, although I do not expect any changes until the next school year.
For some of you, it is no big deal and others would just check out! I considered retirement, but I am not ready to retire. I like teaching and want to work about three to four more years. It was part of my strategy to use my pension and Social Security as my fixed income portion of retirement. Retiring now would also mean a lower monthly amount of money and no benefits. One of the benefits is lifetime medical which is a Medicare gap policy for my wife and me. The cost of a medical gap policy is $1-3,000 per person every year depending on your age. Beyond the finances, I plan to maintain my choices and look for opportunities to continue working. Welcome to Krant World!
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