Helpful hints, position essays, and useless blather from the Assistant Principal of a high school in Southern California. Posts here do not necessarily reflect the positions or views of the school or district with which he is employed.
From the Desk of
Name: Q6 From: Southern California, United States About me:
Ah, Spring. Baseball fanatics awake from hibernation, seasonal fruit returns from its winter journey, and educators begin a game of career-based musical chairs. Although the school year begins in September (and one would think that the educational draft pick occurs over the summer), the choice jobs are all usually gone by the end of April. So educators (particularly administrators) seeking change will begin looking as early as November. With the ease of the Internet these days, it's not hard to see what positions are available (in California we use Edjoin.org); I peruse them every once in a while, though I've already received my contract for next year. It's nice, occasionally, to see what shade of green the neighbors' grass is. Administrative shifts in any school district are a lot like reality TV: we pay attention to see what effects politics, rumor, scandal, and nepotism can have on an organization. So says the only administrator not voted off the island last year.
Today I was standing in the front office when a teacher, whom I’ve worked with closely for almost five years and still have no idea where most of his loyalties lie, asked me, “Hey, is that a new shirt and tie?”
“No,” I replied. He looked me over a second time.
“Are you sure?”
I just stood there and blinked for a moment. In that blink, a myriad of responses filled my brain—it was just a matter of picking one that would work best with someone whose loyalties are still nebulous after five years. Among the best of these possible responses were:
(a) “Well, I haven’t been shirt shopping in about two years, so I suppose it has a lot to do with how you’re defining ‘new’.” (b) “Actually, I think this was a shirt my ex-wife gave me; and since I pitched her over the side a year and a half ago, yes, I’m pretty sure.” (c) “Yeah, I’m sure.”
I went with (c). Since my wardrobe was clearly taxing him enough, hitting him with wit was hardly fair. It makes me wonder, though, about the environment I’m in and the people I’m working with.
Measure A is a bond measure which provided schools in our area with an obscene amount of modernization money—money which, apparently, we can only receive if we use it to modernize things like paint, lights, and flooring (things that are, in school terms, highly perishable and anything but “modern”). The entire program also seems to insure that certain aspects of our facility that failed to function properly would, when modernization is complete, still fail to function.
Case in point: the English Department Office. (I refer to it as “the fishbowl” for two reasons: first, it is a six-by-six foot room that is entirely encased in glass and sits in a high-traffic hallway for everyone to see; second, I have a penchant for assigning quippy names for things, names that almost always fail to catch on.) This little cell has never had appropriate climate control, which is to say the air conditioning works far too well. As a result, English teachers have spent their supplementary grading time in the library, in classrooms, and even in the front office where certain administrators (myself excluded) think it a terrible idea to actually present the idea that someone is working harder than they are.
Measure A has now finished that part of campus in which the frozen fishbowl is contained, and its Arctic climes continue to drive working people into the light of day. We are, if nothing else, terribly consistent.