So here’s a relatively recent conversation with my 12-year-old niece who is obsessed with Panic! At the Disco.

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I like being uncle Steve.

I’m afraid I’ve been blacklisted by my former principal.

Transitioning into a new career as a teacher has been a challenge - nay, a nightmare for me. I was informed by my student teaching co-op teacher the first week that he didn’t want a student teacher at all. I was afraid to ask the condescending and severe principal for another co-op because I had already been bounced around to three different teachers before I even began.

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Then when I got a job it was a full month - after I started work - before I could access all of the tools I was supposed to get. Then I wasn’t paid for six weeks, and had to start a case with payroll to get paid.

As I mentioned before, I was at a tough school. In the semester I was there, there were 3 firearms found on campus brought by students. My teaching coach told me she was giving up on me the third week because I wasn’t making 20 parent phone calls a week. According to CMS policy I was supposed to have a coach to observe at least twice a week and offer action steps to improve.

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I got none of that. 3 teachers quit - including the other two science teachers - after being assaulted and threatened by scholars. Since we couldn’t get any substitutes, that meant I had anywhere from 3-12 extra kids in my room during any given class block.

They implemented a “literacy through content,” plan to help with the ELA scores but there was little to nothing given to teachers as far as expectations. We couldn’t give grades for the work anyway so only the most dedicated kids even did the work.

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There were 4 lockdowns to the point that I wrote this on the board during the most recent one:

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It’s horrifying to me when terror is mundane.

Then, during testing week, I had a fight break out in the middle of my classroom. Because they decided to fight right next to me, I broke it up. During the scuffle, I caught a fist to the face. Fortunately 140-pound 8th graders don’t pack much of a punch.

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It’s nothing like the sucker punch I got from the drunken metal head at the bar when I was working security. Dude was about 6’5”, 240 lbs and muscular.

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March of 2011

It was a challenging semester. 20-year teachers had the same issues with class management that I did. Yet, I succeeded. Here’s a screenshot of my 8th grade EOG scores. For NC, 3 is grade level proficient, and 4 and 5 qualify a kid for honors biology in 9th grade.

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The mean was 3.1

Mode and median were both 4.

So despite all of the challenges, my kids learned a lot in my class. And yet I can’t even get an interview with a CMS school despite these successes.

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I have the feeling that my assistant principal has something to do with that. She said “your classroom management and temper concern me.”

Yes, I frequently had a loud class. Sometimes it was barely controlled chaos. However, the kids were learning.

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The “temper,” comment was likely because of an incident where I said, “you’re acting like a bunch of little assholes.” Because the 32 13- and 14-year olds (only 24 of whom were my class) were acting like little assholes.

And it got on Snapchat and Instagram.

My kids learned. I worked 60+ hours a week doing all of the things teachers do.

But because I told them I didn’t want to come back, I feel like my name is spreading around the community.

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On the plus side I had a great interview today with a district closer to home, even if it’s about $4000 less per year.