Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good excuse.

Once again, I fail as a blogger, but I really have had a lot going on lately, and not all of it good. Here's a summary:

The economy is bad. Schools all across the country are making huge cuts. Though I work in a very affluent school district, even my district is not immune to the need for belt-tightening. A few weeks ago, those of us in my school who are non-tenured (we get tenure after four years of full time teaching in the school) would be getting the proverbial "pink slip," also called a RIF (reduction-in-force) letter, also called getting laid off. But such a measure was simply precautionary as a way to get around the contractual obligation for the district to tell employees by a certain date whether they'd be hired back next year. Anyway, so we were told that we were all getting layoff notices, but that we would most likely all be hired back.

Then several weeks passed. A lot goes into the decisions a school has to make. Some factors include property tax amounts, enrollment and registration, class size, etc. All of these numbers were in flux, so I just sat around waiting for my pink slip. Though I knew I'd be getting this letter, I also felt confident that I'd be hired back after all decisions were made.

So last week, I finally got my pink slip. (It's not really pink.) It basically said that my services would not be required next year. Though I knew this letter was coming (and I knew that it did not actually mean I was being laid off), holding this letter in my hand was a bit disconcerting.

Side note: At the top of the letter, big bold print said "Notice of Non-Re-embloyment." That's right, re-emBloyment. With a B. They spelled it wrong.

Anyway, none of this is actually the bad news. On the same day I got my letter, the department chair called me into the office and told me that all the non-tenured English teachers would be part-time next year, 75% part-time, to be precise. I will be taking a 25% pay cut next year, which is substantial. I do know that it is not a personal decision and has nothing to do with my teaching, but that is little comfort.

But the truth is that I'll be able to weather the pay cut. What really makes me feel awful is that after next year, assuming I go back to full time, I will lose the three years on the tenure ladder and start back at ground zero, and it will then be four more years (after my 8th year at this school) before I get tenure. Now regardless of how you feel about the concept of tenure in general, it is a fact of the schools now, and not having it puts me at a disadvantage. While I know I never have to worry about being let go because of my job performance, who's to say whether another economic crisis will hit? And then if that does happen, I'll once again be among the teachers that they "let go" or drop back down to part time or whatever.

So though I have felt that this school was where I'd be for the rest of my working life, and I still want that to happen, I no longer feel it is a sure thing. I feel an uncertainty that makes me ill.

So that's been on my mind lately.

Also, on Saturday my car died. It needs a new alternator, which in my car is apparently very hard to get to without dismantling the entire front end of the car. It will cost $1000.


At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Your Mom posited...

In the brother blog competition, you win. He hasn't posted since May 9, 2009.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Carson posited...

Hey Dub-
Sorry to hear man. I know schools are trying to tighten their belts, and that leads to hard decisions... still you'd prefer to see schools doing more to reward teachers that really work hard.

That's an expensive alternator. Just had to replace that on my Mazda 6 and it cost me $500. Still driving that black Beetle?

At 10:21 PM, Blogger PBear posited...

ah, that's rough. Opportunities have a way of opening up for top talent, so I'm sure you'll come out of this just fine.


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