Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell to 2009 and also to Canada

2009 has been a great year. But that's not what this post is really about. This post is about Canada.

I teach geography to 9th graders. (One of the many great things that happened in 2009) I recently finished a unit on Canada. The students each researched a province and gave presentations on their province. As an end of unit wrap-up I had the students write a farewell to Canada. There weren't many rules. It was to be 1 page long and it was to mention the required information from their powerpoints. (history of the region, culture of inhabitants, economic factors, and physical geography) Some students wrote poems, some wrote songs. I got a rap, I got an angry letter, I got several break-up notes. I'd like to share with you a few funny parts from their papers.

To Canada in general:
"Don't be an ice-hole." (The student gave credit to the Colbert Nation, I shouldn't laugh but I did)

To Prince Edward Island:
"At first I thought I loved you,
loved your fishing, beaches and pastures too.
But now Prince Edward Island we're done, finished, we're through.
At first I thought I'd stay with you forever, leaving you never!
I was drawn to Green Gables, the horses in the stables,
But those horses smell weird,
and Green Gables should be feared!"

To Canada:
"We still have 5 cents on your dollar!"

To Canada (tune of Frosty the Snowman):
"Farewell to Canada
goodbye to mind numbing cold
We've had some fun
Now it's time to run
On to Central America!"

To Canada (a 2 page breakup note):
"Red and white look especially cute on you my little bread basket."
On Canada's "Stunning Figure"
"You have very intoxicating Rocky Mountains plus clear reflective lakes specifically in Banff. I don't even know if I could live without your long luscious plains/crops."
"You have a strong history which makes you interesting. I mean French and English men were constantly fighting over you until I came in and swept you off your feet."

As you can see, we are having a blast in class. The last note I read to the class like I had confiscated it from a student and it took the class till about halfway through to figure out what it was. They crack me up.

So farewell 2009 and Canada, we're moving on to 2010 and Central and South America whether you like it or not.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

P.R. for the H.R.

I have a job. I love my students. My last post alluded to some of the frustrations I have been having with said job. I have begun more actively searching for a new job. Not because I don't like where I'm at. I am not full time where I am at. I want to be full time. I want to be taken seriously and not taken for granted like I am at my current job. The interview I am talking about is for a job that wouldn't start until next August so it isn't like I am abandoning my current job. I just wanted you all to know this. The real post can begin now.

Today I did my hair. This is a rare occasion. I like to save it for special days so that it means more. "Oh Amy did her hair there must be something really important today!" Or maybe I'm just lazy. It is much faster to just spray a bunch of product in my unruly hair and pretend like it's "done". I know I'm not fooling anyone but it just takes so long to straighten. I know it's been too long since I've put effort into my hair when people are convinced I've cut it or dyed it when all I've done is straighten it. But this is only part of my story today......

Today I was supposed to have a job interview. It was a special occasion so I did my hair. I wore heels. Teaching in heels isn't a fabulous idea. Walking down the halls in heels draws way too much attention to yourself from the classrooms you pass. (Is that a horse I hear coming down the hall?) I was supposed to have this interview before Thanksgiving but they had to reschedule because the administrator who wanted to be present couldn't make it to the first interview. I told them I am already teaching and would need to schedule an afternoon interview. You would think that this would be a pretty standard request when interviewing teachers for a teaching position on a school day...."I teach at a school across the valley currently can I schedule an afternoon interview?" "Sure. How is 12:30 on Tuesday." Seriously? Luckily that was the interview they decided to reschedule and so a 3:30 interview was looking much better. I did my hair, wore my heels and put my phone in my bag, in a filling cabinet while I taught. Because good teachers don't conduct telephone business while teaching. Which is why I was surprised when I checked my phone at 1:00 and saw that the scheduler had tried to call me multiple times during the morning. She left a message saying I needed to come a half hour early or tomorrow. I got permission to leave early so I could make it. I called and she didn't answer. I called again a half hour later and she said that my early option was no longer an option, so she rescheduled with me for next Friday. (with no option for tomorrow like her message said) She had the exact same reasons as last time. The other interviewer couldn't make it.

Where is the communication? Shouldn't the scheduler be checking with the interviewer before scheduling? If an administrator is agreeing to an interview time and then canceling repeatedly is this a good sign? I had many struggles with this same district over the summer and have actually been trying to schedule this interview since last March but have been getting the run around since then. Even in school as future educators when discussing job opportunities with current educators this district was never spoken highly of. Sure the schools are nice. Sure the teachers are good. Sure the kids tend to be highly motivated and well supported. But every time they talk about the district it was negative. (Think about it... I'm sure if you pay attention to the news and talk of education you know which district I'm talking about... what have you heard? making decisions without talking to the community, taking away retirement money from long time teachers or forcing them into early retirement...) So here is what I think. I think the H.R. department needs some P.R. training. (Ashley? You on this?) Stop treating the "customer" badly when that customer is actually the person who will be teaching your children. Because when you treat teachers badly, they go elsewhere or they never come at all.

Unfortunately, with the way the job market is these days, I'll take the job in a heart beat and the run around will be validated to them.