More good job news.... (sorry, overly verbose as usual)

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  • I think once I got my other job testing stuff for Harman/Digitech, then it made me stop stressing so much about work. I kept applying for full-time benefit positions. I got called in for an interview at a brand new charter academy (which is the part of the system I've never worked in, as the relationship between districts and charters is somewhat adversarial, and I started in the district system prior to the charter laws going into effect... so I was kind of stuck pension wise). But anyway... I was so burned out on getting screwed on interviews, that I just stopped trying really. I decided I was done, that I wasn't going to waste my time and shave off my beard, cut my hair, wear a suit, go in guns blazing and selling my years of "winning" as a teacher. I got this text of all things from a principal across town asking if I could come in 2 hours from then for an interview. I responded that I could. She gave me a weird address that didn't match up with the school where I applied. I thought maybe it would be at her house.

    I get lost on the way (even though it's literally three blocks from my mom's house, which is where we lived all through the winter months and so on until I got my last job and we got into a house). I finally find the place, and it's this beautiful new little school building next to a pond tucked into a grove of trees right at the base of a 12,000 foot peak mountain (literally... right at the bottom... you leave the parking lot and you're climbing a mountain). I went into the interview and told her I wouldn't waste her time. That i'd applied for 50 jobs, interviewed for way smaller an amount than reasonable, that somebody is blacklisting me (2 districts) because one HR guy doesn't like me because I quit at mid year because of my health, and now was going after him at the state level for his illegal practices and they were pressuring him, which was preventing a great teacher from working.

    So it was her call. Thanks for talking to me. Tell me about your school. I'm interested to learn something new since i did take the 15 minutes to drive over. She explains it, and it sounds cool. Gender differentiated classrooms for the kids who need it (some kids function better in a same gender peer group when it comes to academics because a crazy amount of stress piles on them from dealing with the opposite gender, fear of failure in front of them, social stigma of being "smart", etc.). Then the kicker... the school had reformed as a new school this year after being a strictly K-3 school initially, but it is now going K-8, and they will have one 7th grade class capped at 18 students and one 8th grade class capped at 18 students (hopefully 18 anyway... they may stretch it to 19, but if they have tons more interest they will let a flood in off of a waiting list and create two classes). The idea is that these are kids that just can NOT function in the junior high environment very well. They still need an elementary style classroom. They need somebody to teach them all subjects, they need the same classmates through the year and day, and so on. There is quite a bit of data that supports this model as an option. So I told her I thought it sounded cool, and I was one of those who didn't handle the transition and could have used an extra year or two of elementary.

    I thanked her for her time, and thanked her for thinking outside of the box and meeting the needs of KIDS and not worrying about what teachers thought (many had quit, because they didn't like her ideas of changing to meet the needs of the school population was there).

    I got a call first thing the next morning offering me the 8th grade position. It was a bit bizarre for me, because I'm elementary certified. But in Utah, elementary certification is grades 1-8. The reason is because in many rural areas you'll have a grades K-8 school that is an elementary/middle school and you want teachers who can teach up through middle no matter what, and then you can have enough people to cover jobs. I was trained in teaching through 8th grade, but the highest I've ever done was 6th. My wife teaches junior high though in the district here, and is going to work with me to get my curriculum set and prepare for dealing with 8th graders. I'm sure it will be fine, and I am really looking forward to it. Harman is keeping my job for me while I attend meetings and such and will let me work right up until my first day of teaching, and even work after school a couple of times a week if I like. They are happy I'm going full time, and if the teaching job sucks, maybe I can just roll into 40 hours with them. But now I have OPTIONS. It's a great thing. I'm still sick. I still struggle. But i made it through a day of working at Harman and 3 days of teacher meetings, and it went ok. I like the folks I work with already. We're like the "Bad News Bears" and I think we're going to shock people with what a great job we do with so little funding, a small building, and a different set of glasses to view education from the point of view of the child who needs some extra help. I'm excited. EXTREMELY excited!

    Plus I get the same days off as my wife and kids, which means that the weekend I was coming to town for the wedding is a days-off situation and I can see the Hawks play the Titans and meet many of you as previously planned. YAHOOOEY KABLOOEY!!! I am stoked.

    It's been a hard 2+ years away from education full time. Just walking into "MY" classroom yesterday was cause for a few stray tears to make their way through. These kids are lucky, but I'm MORE lucky to have them. Thanks for supporting me through this all guys. I hope I do Seahawks.Net proud and show you all that I still have what it takes to help the youth create a better life and to succeed. Don't be surprised if I'm here a lot asking you all for advice on how you deal with teenagers, or what worked best on you as a teenager. I'm sure it will be a learning experience, but I'm the guy who has never yelled in a class, yet they always behave. Respect goes a long way. :)

    Jon
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  • Ay man! Congrats! So is it like a secondary type school?
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  • Wow nice! its good to see you are going through better times.
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  • Throwdown wrote:Ay man! Congrats! So is it like a secondary type school?


    It's a charter school. So we're public... but we're our own district. Utah didn't have charter schools until the mid-2000's.

    So... it's run with taxpayer funds. I'm an employee of the school rather than the district. We still are under the same scrutiny as other public schools, we're just basically on our own. It is basically a way to give an education geared toward what your child needs, but it is a "choice" school, rather than a boundary school. The split between minorities, and non, and disabled, and non, is almost identical to district averages, so this school isn't exclusionary in any way.

    The thing with a charter, is that their "charter" is an actual written document that they present to the state school board telling what they want to do in their school that is not currently being offered by a district school. If the state board approves it, then you get funding and go through a provisional process trying to establish as a school. Typically the buildings are built by a company that is obviously looking to make money, and then rented out to the school board that oversees that charter. The funding is the basic funding chunk of money that a traditional public school would get for that kid. The charter has to figure out how to do everything (like pay me) with the money they get per student.

    I guess what it really did was fill the void between private schools (which are so expensive, and many times religious in nature) and district public schools which do a great job in my view (around here anyway), but are stretched so thin that they can't do things like a charter can.

    I know of charters here that are technology based, and are teaching kids coding at age 5. There are those that are based on dual language immersion. There are charters specifically for kids with autism spectrum disorders. But then there are charters that are just weird and are how to say this? Very focused on one specific set of understanding of the world around us, and they force that point home. I wouldn't work in one of those no matter how much they paid me. But this one is the reason why a charter committee and funding was approved. To give those who just aren't prepared yet for the junior high lifestyle to get a top-notch education, and not have to go to a private school (which most can't afford) or to go into home school. We're meeting that middle ground where I am. So it's different than a secondary. They do have charters that are set up for those students who have failed a traditional day and are charters, and a lot of them are online charters. They still have things like sports and band that meet in a small building once a week or so (building small enough that it has one total classroom space), and they will rent facilities for other things, but they have an online format that just works better for some kids (like those who are confined to bed, or those who just can't function in a school environment on a daily basis, and so on).
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  • Wow! Congratulations continue, Jon!

    This sounds like a great match for you.
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  • :th2thumbs: :th2thumbs: :th2thumbs:
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  • Congrats on the new position. Glad to see positive results coming your way.
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  • You deserve this Jon. Very happy for you!
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  • SharkHawk wrote:I think once I got my other job testing stuff for Harman/Digitech, then it made me stop stressing so much about work. I kept applying for full-time benefit positions. I got called in for an interview at a brand new charter academy (which is the part of the system I've never worked in, as the relationship between districts and charters is somewhat adversarial, and I started in the district system prior to the charter laws going into effect... so I was kind of stuck pension wise). But anyway... I was so burned out on getting screwed on interviews, that I just stopped trying really. I decided I was done, that I wasn't going to waste my time and shave off my beard, cut my hair, wear a suit, go in guns blazing and selling my years of "winning" as a teacher. I got this text of all things from a principal across town asking if I could come in 2 hours from then for an interview. I responded that I could. She gave me a weird address that didn't match up with the school where I applied. I thought maybe it would be at her house.

    I get lost on the way (even though it's literally three blocks from my mom's house, which is where we lived all through the winter months and so on until I got my last job and we got into a house). I finally find the place, and it's this beautiful new little school building next to a pond tucked into a grove of trees right at the base of a 12,000 foot peak mountain (literally... right at the bottom... you leave the parking lot and you're climbing a mountain). I went into the interview and told her I wouldn't waste her time. That i'd applied for 50 jobs, interviewed for way smaller an amount than reasonable, that somebody is blacklisting me (2 districts) because one HR guy doesn't like me because I quit at mid year because of my health, and now was going after him at the state level for his illegal practices and they were pressuring him, which was preventing a great teacher from working.

    So it was her call. Thanks for talking to me. Tell me about your school. I'm interested to learn something new since i did take the 15 minutes to drive over. She explains it, and it sounds cool. Gender differentiated classrooms for the kids who need it (some kids function better in a same gender peer group when it comes to academics because a crazy amount of stress piles on them from dealing with the opposite gender, fear of failure in front of them, social stigma of being "smart", etc.). Then the kicker... the school had reformed as a new school this year after being a strictly K-3 school initially, but it is now going K-8, and they will have one 7th grade class capped at 18 students and one 8th grade class capped at 18 students (hopefully 18 anyway... they may stretch it to 19, but if they have tons more interest they will let a flood in off of a waiting list and create two classes). The idea is that these are kids that just can NOT function in the junior high environment very well. They still need an elementary style classroom. They need somebody to teach them all subjects, they need the same classmates through the year and day, and so on. There is quite a bit of data that supports this model as an option. So I told her I thought it sounded cool, and I was one of those who didn't handle the transition and could have used an extra year or two of elementary.

    I thanked her for her time, and thanked her for thinking outside of the box and meeting the needs of KIDS and not worrying about what teachers thought (many had quit, because they didn't like her ideas of changing to meet the needs of the school population was there).

    I got a call first thing the next morning offering me the 8th grade position. It was a bit bizarre for me, because I'm elementary certified. But in Utah, elementary certification is grades 1-8. The reason is because in many rural areas you'll have a grades K-8 school that is an elementary/middle school and you want teachers who can teach up through middle no matter what, and then you can have enough people to cover jobs. I was trained in teaching through 8th grade, but the highest I've ever done was 6th. My wife teaches junior high though in the district here, and is going to work with me to get my curriculum set and prepare for dealing with 8th graders. I'm sure it will be fine, and I am really looking forward to it. Harman is keeping my job for me while I attend meetings and such and will let me work right up until my first day of teaching, and even work after school a couple of times a week if I like. They are happy I'm going full time, and if the teaching job sucks, maybe I can just roll into 40 hours with them. But now I have OPTIONS. It's a great thing. I'm still sick. I still struggle. But i made it through a day of working at Harman and 3 days of teacher meetings, and it went ok. I like the folks I work with already. We're like the "Bad News Bears" and I think we're going to shock people with what a great job we do with so little funding, a small building, and a different set of glasses to view education from the point of view of the child who needs some extra help. I'm excited. EXTREMELY excited!

    Plus I get the same days off as my wife and kids, which means that the weekend I was coming to town for the wedding is a days-off situation and I can see the Hawks play the Titans and meet many of you as previously planned. YAHOOOEY KABLOOEY!!! I am stoked.

    It's been a hard 2+ years away from education full time. Just walking into "MY" classroom yesterday was cause for a few stray tears to make their way through. These kids are lucky, but I'm MORE lucky to have them. Thanks for supporting me through this all guys. I hope I do Seahawks.Net proud and show you all that I still have what it takes to help the youth create a better life and to succeed. Don't be surprised if I'm here a lot asking you all for advice on how you deal with teenagers, or what worked best on you as a teenager. I'm sure it will be a learning experience, but I'm the guy who has never yelled in a class, yet they always behave. Respect goes a long way. :)

    Jon

    Congrats Jon! :th2thumbs:
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  • Back into teaching! What a terrific turn of fortune for you and the kids.
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  • As an aspiring teacher myself, it's awesome to read stuff like this!

    Congratulations and good luck.
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  • Thanks a lot guys. I stopped coming around here for a while because I was in such a bad place and just embarrassed and sick and so on. Life had sort of skidded off of the tracks. Les hassled me into stopping by and at least letting people know I wasn't dead. Non-coincidentally life has improved exponentially since that day. It's good to have a support system and a place to have a hobby. It takes a lot of pressure off.

    If anybody ever needs an ear... I'm here. And Maelstrom... as you pursue your teaching career, feel free to ask me for any and all assistance you might need. I went from the "Golden Boy" to public enemy #1 because my back got busted. But I do know how to deal with a lot of the crap that goes with the system. I've been through it. I probably should have fought at the end rather than walking away, but some fights just aren't worth fighting. You know the old saying... fight with an idiot and they'll beat you with experience. I chose not to have that fight.
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