Friday, March 18, 2011

Mr. Substitute.

Teach for America didn't fly.

And here's the worst part: They give no reasons to any of the applicants as to 'why?' Though it's true that, as time passed after the interview, I contemplated pulling my application so that I could re-enter the university system, I still hate not being picked for things. This was a frustrating time.

What can I assume about my interview? I created a laundry list of reasons for why I might not have been picked....

1) I said I could quit.

Well, not exactly like that. In my one-on-one interview, I was asked if there would be any reasons for quitting the job. I said that, of course there would be numerous reasons, both foreseeable and unforeseeable, that would cause any human being to quit a low paying teaching job. I sighted physical violence and weapon use and/or intimidation as a perfect example: why would a teacher go to work in fear of her or his life?

2) Social Studies was not needed in this most recent rotation of job hiring.

Sad but true. As much as we live in an educational contradiction, both in this state and country, we live in a contradiction with the Social Sciences, or History. Americans want their schools and students to be the best, but we don't want to pay for it (that's why education is ALWAYS the first to be cut in budgets). As much as we want students to know US History, we don't want students to know everything. Just look at the numerous flaws, oversights and omissions that can be found, or not found in American textbooks (All men were created equal, right?).

The good ol USA doesn't compete with other countries in the category of US History knowledge. The same fact applies for Geography and other Social Studies subjects. We do, however, compete with countries all over the world in math and science. Math and Science are the two most easily relatable subjects worldwide, as, for the most part, the same rules apply. 2 + 2 = 4 in any language. Similarly, the composition of DNA is mostly agreed upon world wide by scientists from most all nations.

The history of say, the formation and expansion of the United States, is most definitely NOT agreed upon in any one country. Go ahead and ask around, I think there's some type of war going on or something.

3) I was over-qualified.

I know that's a huge boost to my ego, but let's face it, I was. I interviewed against zero candidates with any teaching experience whatsoever. As far as pay scale goes, most of the poor schools that teachers are sent to in TFA accept TFA Corp Members because they are, for lack of a better term, cheap labor. No teaching credential = a working contract that can be negotiated to lower wages for the teacher. Furthermore, TFA Corp Member teachers cannot join unions, which means that an uncredentialed teacher lacking union membership demands a very, very low salary which is coincidentally perfect for an inner city school in need of teachers.

Oh well. Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter. And yes, my laundry list is usually only three deep.

For the past few months I have been substituting at my old stomping grounds, Joan MacQueen Middle School in Alpine, California. It has been a blast working with young 12, 13 and 14 year old students, and even more so when you include the fact that I have been substituting for many of my old teachers. The cherry on top is that they are very excited to see a former student return as a teacher. Now if I could only talk some of them into retiring...

Aaaaand at some point I finished 4th in a bike race. A road race, that is. 58 miles worth of road racing. With over 4,000 feet of climbing. Wait, what?
This fool won...then crashed himself out. You can see him saying, "oh s#%*!!!"
He was DQ'd and bumped me from 5th to 4th.

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