As I approach my retirement, I can’t help but wonder…what if? There are a number of “what if” questions that I would ask. For example, what if I never purchased that bicycle? What if I never took an interest in the guitar? What if I didn’t follow my passion? The list could go on and on…but there is usually one “what if” that haunts everyone.
In my job for the last 17 years, you could definitely divide it into two distinct halves. The first half could be defined as the “passion years.” In those days, my passion defined my work hours. I was committed to delivering the kind of experiences that I never had in high school and I treated that as a mission. That commitment meant that I never watched the clock and was often surprised that I was receiving a paycheck. I never worked so hard and I never had so much joy and I delivered experiences to the students that they had never had before in this school.
Things changed in 2011 when it became clear to me that my ability to communicate my value to the school became compromised. The “entitlement mentality” meant that if a person (student or staff member) felt that they were somehow mistreated, they could complain loud enough and use the prevailing political climate to effect a change to their advantage.
What followed were 2 attempts to revoke my tenure, based on the combined desire of the district to save money and put a “favored” teacher into a position that she was clearly unqualified for and honestly, unavailable to do. While they didn’t succeed either time, I was suspended for…nothing…for an entire year. But it changed me. It changed how I approached my job, shortchanged my students and robbed me of over a year of salary and pension time.
Several years ago, a student interviewed me as part of a project for a documentary. Here is her footage. I have been fighting this travesty for over four years now. My lawsuit has gone nowhere.
I stand on the side of truth. I have conducted myself with the highest ethics. I have pointed out the violations of policy and ethics to my employers, my attorney(s), and still nothing. Justice delayed??? Justice denied!!!!
As a footnote here, it should be noted that, coincidentally, the size and quality of the music and theatrical program that I had built, has fallen off considerably since my removal from this position. Also, the size of the student body has dropped by over 30%…coincidentally…or maybe not coincidentally.