So much has happened since I decided to attend Wake Forest...Chapter A)
A radiologist said my cat had cancer. We didn't believe him, got him some meds, and he is acting worlds better -- as in like he hasn't acted for two years. That's my problem with vet specialist...they don't really know the animal; then again, he seemed to be going more with his gut based on a few questions since he hadn't run any incredibly invasive and life threatening tests. You shouldn't do that to a 9 year old cat.Chapter B)
Since word has spread like wildfire of my impending leaving of my job, the smattering of congratulations has turned into a wave of resentment and a massive amount of being ignored by people I don't like. It's freaking awesome. Of course, the school's/county's payroll has also been trying to screw me over, and today was just too much. I had already changed my date of leaving once to keep my benefits for the summer. Today's conversation went about like this:
I get a phone call interrupting my third period class:
Front Office Person: excuse me, do you have a few minutes to talk. The county was wondering if you could change your date to the 13th or 14th so they could pay you for those days.
Me: I'm teaching a class right now. Can I get back to you later? When do you need to know this by?
FOP: They're on the phone right now, we need to know by today.
Me: I have a class, I'll talk to you later.
Of course, interrupting phone calls like this aren't much of a surprise, as many teachers throughout the school will have conversations on their phones during class instead of...hmm...doing their fucking job? Anyhow, instead of calling back, I decided to spend the brief time between 3rd and 4th sending an email that felt so good -- I've been shoved around for so long by so many people...I'm fucking tired of it.
Email paraphrase summary:
a) I've already signed my contract termination agreement for one date, and then changed it to one day later at the county's request because of weather based calendar changes.
b) I gave my notice of resignation in February -- well beyond the 30 days of required notice.
c) The county is trying to screw me by offering to pay me for a few days extra work -- my last paycheck will be in may. I have already been paid for the days I work in June back in August because I'm on the 10 month pay scale.
d) I have followed all procedures, and my resignation has already been finalized. My plan is to leave on the date specified and to cash out my remaining leave time into pay.
***Point D is very important, because those extra days there were to pay me for are days on the calendar where this leave time would be used -- in other words, they were trying to get out of paying me for 3 extra days of work, and I called them out on it.
Email response from FOP: one run on sentence that pretty much said the following:
a) I'm right and they're wrong
b) Get out of here
I love southern hospitality.Chapter C)
Some people may be familiar with the National Day of Silence. If not... http://www.dayofsilence.org/
for details. Anyhow, last year a new club tried to do what many other schools around the country have done: have a volentary day of observance by remaining silent all day. It is a passive and non invasive demonstration except that it supports equal treatment for all people...including homosexuals. Have I said in here before that my principal is also a sunday school teacher?
The club did not get approval from the administration until the club agreed to change it from supporting fair treatment of GLBT students to a demonstration to support all diversity. This wasn't enough apparently, as parents kept their kids home from school due to a "gay demonstration rally" and local churches called to complain that the school has a pro-gay agenda and is promoting sinful behavior. Needless to say, the administration called an emergency faculty meeting that totally killed the student/faculty diversity symposium that was supposed to be after school in order to apologize to the faculty and to say that the administration does not support that kind of behavior. Furthermore, if the club wanted to have it in the future, they would need to have it on a different day for different reasons.
That is the only time I've ever gotten up and walked out of a faculty meeting. That was the most pissed off I've ever been leaving school.
Fast forward to this year: the club had a similar demonstration this year, except it was two weeks after the national day of silence and students were only allowed to demonstrate during lunch. Yes...students got in trouble for staying silent during class periods and I even heard rumors (that I could not substantiate) or some teachers having talking sessions to try and force students to talk. Whether the rumors were true or not, can you see some of the reasons that I'm trying to get out of the educational babysitting system.
Complaining aside, I am seriously troubled by a revelation I had today at school. It started on the 17th of this year (when the National Day of Silence was supposed to be observed). Students were passing out stickers with two part messages: phrases akin to "Marriage = male and a female" and "Friends don't let friends commit sin" (with two male symbols and a crossed out red circle in front of it) and a corresponding bible verse. The information that I gathered told me that it was individual students that were doing this...there wasn't much I could do, and as far as I heard no one got in trouble for it.
These past two weeks I've seen an increase in these stickers being passed around school. Some of them have constructive messages (things like "I don't need to get drunk and high to have fun" + bible verse), but others have been very similar to the ones above or worse but in other directions. To be honest, I have come to accept the fact that I teach in a rural southern town, and many people are going to wear their religious beliefs on their sleeve. For as much of a separation of church and state institutions that there is and should be, I don't mind faith based clubs at schools giving students an avenue for positive self expression.
But, when a school organization sanctions spreading a message of hate (such as a sticker I saw on two students today that said "Marriage is only between a man and a woman" + bible verse) there is a problem. When the administration turns a blind eye on this yet rebukes another student organization's message because it is the total opposite that is much worse than a problem: that is an agenda.
The education system, as flawed as it is, must be a public service for all people. If the goal of our society is to enrich our youth and to help them grow, then we must do so for all students regardless of their beliefs, values, or practices. The school's mission statement is dedicated to creating a safe learning environment for all
students. For far too long, I have sat back beating my head against the wall because I am trapped in a culture that I cannot break and a cycle of hatred that will continue long after I've attained my JD.
But I'm not in law school yet, and I cannot blink at this any longer. I have received multiple student complaints about this hate mongering religious propaganda that is being sponsored by the school and supported by the administration and public funds. I cannot accept this double standard any longer, and I am not going to sit back and students and faculty and administrators continue to spread these messages as if they were okay.
It is very easy to say what you want when those in charge agree with you. From day 1 I have stuck out like a sore thumb (seriously, they made everyone applaud the new teachers that were native to the county because "they stayed"). From year one I have been known as the quiet teacher because people chose not to understand me because I was different (raised in the Episcopal church and I don't coach anything!). I have been shot down in the past for confronting teachers over abusing the email system to send faith based pro Christian anti-everything else chain emails. I've been told for far too long to just accept what these people have to say and to agree to disagree because there's nothing I can do.
But this time I can, and I'm going to end my teaching career by fulfilling a promise I made for myself going into it: to stand up for others who can't because I'm finally in a position that has the power and authority to do so. I'm going to draft a formal letter of complaint to the administration this weekend. If they choose to ignore it, then I'm pretty sure there are some people at the ACLU who will be very interested to read it.