How can I say this......
Well after working a year under a principal who sexually harassed me and most of the women staff, who was arrested in the fall for stealing light bulbs (where the arrest and story was posted in the newspaper), had multiple affairs with women in the school building, bullied me about whether I was going to stay the following year or not, and over all was just a dysfunctional human being, my transition to a new school was bound to be a very different experience for me!
I suppose its fair to share that the principal was fired over the summer, but I was already long gone.
However, my favorite new development to that whole story is the new principal has been finding envelopes of cash with hundreds of dollars at a time in them throughout his old office. Weird right? I'm not lying... you CANNOT make this stuff up.
I hear rumors the DOE (department of Education) has not 1, not 2, but 9 investigations on him. Now granted that's all a rumor, but think about it.. if that's even half right that means there's at least 4 investigations going on. Regardless of what the actual number is, I think it's fair to say there is probably more than one.
The stories never get old. My old coworkers always joke that I got more stories my first year of teaching than most people get in a life time.
We all laugh about it now, but the I think the custodians in the building say it best. "You know, when he (the old principal) was in charge, the sixth floor hands down had the most beautiful staff in the building."
Ha we laugh about it now. And it was true, I worked with a lot of beautiful, young women (who have all mostly left).
Sometimes I wonder how these things find me.
Flash forward to now. I have had an extremely difficult time transitioning to a functional school. It has lockers, the kids say please and thank you, they do their homework, they want to learn, and are smart kids!
The culture of the school is 100% different (which is a good thing), but I've really been mourning a lot of my experiences from last year. I think when you work in a dysfunctional setting where schedules and polices are as inconsistent as the weather, you become incredibly close with your staff. My staff last year all shared this attitude of "we are in this together, and no matter what we will make sure we all get through this." Sure there were people I didn't always like or trust, but we all realized that our fate as a school and teacher were so closely linked we made sure we all made it.
My 12th grade team last year was amazing and I miss them almost every day when I am at work. Looking back at all the work we accomplished with those kids against nearly impossible odds is truly amazing to me.... I do not know how we did it. It's hard to be ripped apart from something that powerful even though it was clear that a change needed to happen. Every 12th grade team member except one left that school and its clear to see why given the dysfunction of the situation. I'm not doing justice writing about it now. Maybe someday when I'm feeling particularly sappy I'll share the story of that hardship, but not now. I just really miss them, which makes the transition hard.
Every day at my new school is a reminder of the injustice in the education system. I'm thankful my new students get support and I'm thankful I'm able to teach, but I'm always thinking about the other kids in NYC, who are not at my new school or schools like it. I feel a strong disconnect from my new staff because often the loudest voices are the ones who have not worked in a broken school and see the reality of our situation very different from the those who have. I don't know what to do about that, so I sit in silence doing nothing, and walk back to my classroom to focus on what I think really matters - my students, one day at time.