Uncertainty

This is an uncertain time economically, of course, and that uncertainty has shaken our little school district quite a bit. A small district, we boast less than a dozen schools but a closely knit community, and I have always been happy teaching here. Repeatedly, I’ve said that the best part of working in this district was knowing that the administrators, teachers, classified staff & volunteers are all working toward what’s best for the children (and, sadly, not all districts are as hands on & child-centric as mine is).

That said, it’s breaking my heart to see the strife caused by our uncertain state budget and its ramifications on my profession in general, district & school in specific. We currently have six third-grade teachers at my site. If we stay at a 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, we’ll keep those six or even have seven classes next year. If we move to 25-to-1, one teacher is bumped. If we move to 30-to-1, two teachers might be bumped. At best, they’d be moved to other grades at our school. If not at our school, they could be moved to other sites at any grade level. At worst, they’d have no job.

These are my friends & colleagues whose futures are so uncertain. It’s my first student teacher, the girl who sat across from me at Bunco a couple of weeks ago, the woman whose baby shower I just attended, the girl whose hiring committee I sat on, the lady with whom I chat on yard duty, my grade level teammates & site colleagues… and it’s killing me to watch them unable to plan their futures.

We might know what’s going on by the end of May. We might know by the time our year-round school is slated to begin (July 7). We might know mid-August (after which some tracks will have been in session for 6 weeks).

I know that everyone is feeling the pinch, and – trust me – I know how lucky I am to know I have a job next year. It’s not the layoffs per se that are causing such discontent. It’s the uncertainty.

The worst part of all of this is that every single person in our district – from the superintendent to the yard duties at lunch – just want to know… and we don’t. We can’t begin fixing our problems until we know what they are, and our problems aren’t in our hands, which is extremely frustrating. Argh.

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