Thursday, December 31, 2009

Venting - about school

For those of you who are up on my health and school issues and care to learn more of the saga, read on - however lengthy. If not, skip down to my previous post :)

Well, now on to the venting.

I blogged earlier about my first day back at school after being off for 10 weeks due to surgery. And to answer some of your comments, yes, all of that clean up was and still is to do during my free time. Joy, Joy.

Well, I made it through Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday came and I was a hurtin' unit. I knew that we got out early for a teacher inservice so I thought I would just head for home - not that missing inservices are a good thing, but better than missing "teaching".

I went to talk to the Principal and I was literally "reamed". I was informed that it was "my choice to go" however there were Parent-Teacher Conferences that night after the inservice and that I had a lot of very unhappy parents that wanted to speak with me - WHAT?? (Side note.....PT conferences were supposed to be the week before, but were moved due to poor weather - this was all new to me!)

I was informed by the Principal, in a not so very nice tone, that "we used to have a great Middle School vocal music program and now it is terrible, both the Winter and Veteran's day performances were terrible, there are students wanting to drop choir right and left, parents are calling and complaining that their student has wasted a semester of their time in choir......"

I was stunned, I just stood there, and had no idea what to say. When she was finished, I said I would re-evaluate and let her know what my plans were.

After a few tears - okay a lot of tears, and an internal struggle with health vs. paycheck, I chose to stay.

I went back to the Principal, in tears (I hate that!) to inform her that I would try and stay as long as I could and that I felt I was being blamed for something that was completely out of my control. She backed off slightly - but barely.

I also asked her if I could use part of the inservice time to get grades printed off - so I could have at least something to go off of when parents started to show up (another side sub did not update all of the grades before she left, so I had plenty of grades for me to insert - in other words the grades weren't even up to date! - grades still aren't up to date because the grading program on my computer crashed and has to be reinstalled!!)

Anyway her response was no, because I would have 1/2 hour to do that between when the kids left and when the inservice started!!!

It was close, but I did manage to get the grades all printed off. I had 16 parents come in and Praise the Lord (literally!!) they were all very understanding of me being gone, etc. I was so nervous because I thought, according to the Principal, that I was about to be yelled at all evening long!

It got to be about 6:00 pm and I went to double check that conferences were done at 6:30 and that it was "ok" for me to leave at that time. She replied that I "would have to take 1 hour unpaid leave" because all of the Middle School teachers were to stay another 1 hr. (a contract thing) - another thing I knew nothing about!

By this time, I was beyond hurting, stressed out, tired, you name it - I went back into my room and told the band director, that I share the room with, that I was going into the office to lay down - I just could not handle sitting or standing any longer.

Needless to say, I made it through the 16hr day, only by the Grace of God and my allotted amount of pain pills!
I was sooooo tempted to call in "ill" on Thursday morning because I could hardly move. But, I was already scheduled for a 1/2 day as I was to see my surgeon that afternoon for my 3 month follow up. So again, Thank God and Pain Pills!

Went to the Dr.'s and the good thing is that everything is healing as it should. None of the rods, screws, or spacer have shifted out of their place = good news! It will take at least a good year though before things start to feel "normal" Pain wise, it is primarily muscle and nerve issues compensating for an area that used to be able to move but now can not. Hence, I'm doing physical therapy to get these other areas strengthed up!

I also learned that the nerve effected by all this (if not permanently damaged) will regenerate itself up to 1 millimeter a day. I am 6'2", and granted this is my lower back we're talkin' - but I have a LONG way to go as there are 3 mm in 1/8 of an inch. - See you learned something new amongst my venting :)

I told my surgeon about the previous 16hr day and was then told by him that I should not be having those kind of days until I reached the 6 month point. As a teacher - that is unrealistic, and I explained this to him. He wasn't thrilled but again - health vs. paycheck! I did ask for him to write a "Work Release" that during my break time, if needed, I am to go "lie down" for 10-15min. to relieve pressure and stretch things back out.

So back to school I went on Friday, with my "Work Release" form, and then e-mailed the Principal and Superintendent a rather lengthy e-mail, explaining what the Dr. had said and that I was not using my back as an excuse to get out of my obligations but for them to understand that when I'm hurting, I truly am hurting, and if I need to lie down, I need to lie down! I reminded them that when they hired me I informed them that I would do the best that I could and that statement still stands.

I never heard back from the Principal, the Superintendent (a man of few words) did e-mail me back and answered the few questions I had posed in my e-mail.

Okay, so in case you haven't been up on my "saga" let me remind you - I was not at school from Oct. 1st - Dec. 11 due to my back surgery where I had two vertebrae fused. A pretty intense surgery, not to be taken lightly.

I had started my students on the Veteran's Day music the first day of school (so I'm not quite sure why that ended up being so "terrible"), I had all of the Winter Concert Music picked out and ready, and I had 2 weeks of lesson plans done for my elementary classes - so, I ask how was the above all my fault??? (I'm not entirely blaming the sub - it is not easy being a sub...)

Now, not only do I still have to get things caught up, I have to go back and get the Middle Schoolers ready for a concert in less than a month. And that's IF there are no snow days during that time! No pressure there!!

I am a high anxiety person and suffer from the occasional panic attack - so even though I have been on break, the panic and worrying about how to get things back on track has been in hyper drive!

Long story short, I feel like I'm being blamed for something that was out of my control. I defenitly know that I will not win any "great teacher awards", and I know that I can not please everyone all the time, but I try - and that should count for something - right?

Well, that's enough venting and feeling sorry for myself. I'm not looking forward to going back to school on Monday, but it is what it is, and I will do the best I can.

If you've actually made it through this whole post-thanks for listening :) Elizabeth


Heckety said...

Of all the stories I have heard and lived through with Principles this one takes the biscuit. I'm so mad on your behalf I could hit something. I've been through similar in the past and was even sacked for my poor health at one school.
I am really, really sorry for your troubles, and as a fellow Music/Choir teacher I understand completely what you are up against. Can you choose fairly straightforward pieces for your next concert so they sound good whether or not they have had adequate rehersal? Unfortunately I think peing a stressed out perfectionist goes with the territory of Choir teacher...I'll be lifting you up in my prayers that's for damn sure!

Heckety said...

(Sorry about the spelling errors- that's how mad I am...)

Dorothy said...

I'm wishing you the best Karma and year ahead as you've really been given a bum rap..this is really disgusting, school administration today can be so cruel and unkind, I'm so sorry you have to endure this stuff and that they lack empathy.

Blessings and prayers..

Dorothy from grammology

Shirleymac said...

I'm so sorry you're going through so much with this. I suffer from panic and axiety attacks so I know exactly what you are feeling with those. A lot of mine is worry too. I think your sub was more of a temporary teacher. I see a sub as someone who comes in for a few days, not 2 months. Anyone who takes any pride in their work would have done a much better job than that. No marks even? That's ridiculous. My prayers are with you. I hope you won't have many 16 hr days.

Love 2 Quilt said...

Isn't it amazing how some people are, no compassion at all. I had a boss like that and after 14 years I had to quit. What they did was not fair to you. I'm glad that you stood up for yourself. Blessings to you for the rest of the year. Hopefully you can recover during summer.