As in break. As in I broke tonight.
I am so overwhelmed with this job. I don't know if I can adequately describe what this job entails- I'm afraid that if I try, you still won't understand what all the fuss is about. But I'm going to try.
1) It's middle school. My students are 11-13 years old, with a random 14 year old thrown in for good measure. That should be enough to make me a saint!
2) I have FIVE (5) different "preps". That means I have to plan, prep, and grade FIVE different classes. 7th grade regular English, 6th grade Highly Capable Social Studies and English, and 7th grade Highly Capable Social Studies and English. If you're not a teacher you may not understand just how much work this is. Most middle school teachers have one, maybe two, preps. On rare occasions 3. The teacher I am covering for requested this schedule because it means she gets to teach 4 periods of Hi-cap. She is insane.
3) There is NO hi-cap curriculum. No book to work my way through from start to finish. Just a lot of material to chose from and hope I don't screw the kids up too much for next year when their teachers ask, "What the hell did you do last year? You don't know anything and are completely unprepared." (My biggest fear.)
4) I do not have long-term leave replacement contract. I could be making the exact same amount and have none of the stress. Awesome.
5) "My" principal has yet (3.5 months later) TALK TO ME. Not a single solitary conversation about her expectations for me as a "new employee". Not a single offer for help if I need it. Not a single, "Do you have any questions?" Not a single, "Welcome aboard. We're excited to have you." Not a single, "Thank you. It's so nice to have a consistent sub instead of a different person everyday." Nothing. Nadda.
6) She HAS requested that when "we" (and by we, I mean "my" school) are short on subs, I be requested to cover a class during my planning period (the hour when I don't have students) because they don't have to pay me extra. Yep. I know, that IS low. A teacher with a contract gets paid for that extra hour of work. I just take it "in the shorts" so to speak.
And tonight was my breaking point.
After a day of kids whining about how there are "only 18 school days left" and "this is too much work".
And I literally brought 12 inches of papers home that need to be graded. I am NOT exaggerating. Work that I am in no way getting paid to do.
And Griffin wouldn't go to sleep.
And as I laid there getting angrier and angrier at my son because I had work waiting for me downstairs, I lost it.
This is NOT healthy. There are so many things wrong with this picture. I can't fix or control everything but starting tonight there are new boundaries.
1) NO work comes home with me. Ever. Again. (This school year. Obviously if I get a contract in the fall, that changes everything).
2) I need to have a "chat" with the kids tomorrow. They need to know how hard I am working for them and why I expect them to work hard for me...for 18 more days.
3) I need to have a "chat" with the head secretary who asks me to cover classes. No more. I NEED that prep time. It is beyond unfair and I've bent over backwards for 3.5 months and I can.not.handle.it.anymore.
4) I need to have a "chat" with the principal. This, more than anything else, scares the poo-poo right out of me. I HATE confrontation. I HATE saying no. I HATE letting people down. Unfortunately, what I hear from the rest of the staff- I don't think this will go over very well and I may never work in "my" school and district again.
But I know what I have to do. God has made it clear. And because I've been ignoring him and putting him off, hoping I could make it on my own- I've reached my breaking point. (Think Jonah). So now I'm burnt out, bitter, and emotional. Not exactly the right frame of mind for a professional meeting.
Thank God for the world's best husband. He just laid there with me and let me vent, cry, and process all this. Then came downstairs and wrote a letter to "my" principal on my behalf, defending me. Like a modern day knight in shining armor. He may drive me nuts from time to time but I love this man so much and thank God (almost) every day that he brought us together! (Let's be honest, some days are better than others but that's a topic for another post).
And if you've made it this far you should know my greatest weakness: Talking (or writing) it all out and then never following through with the tough conversations I need to have. I only have 4 more weeks to work up the courage or let it all go. I know I need to just do it. Prayers welcome:)