June 1, 2008

Cut Short

I received an e-mail from the principal at my night school telling me that there is no more grant money to pay me for the last week of school. Circumstances beyond his control. Sorry for the inconvenience. Bring your keys and grade book in.

If you'll recall, it took me nine weeks for my first paycheck to come after I started teaching last fall. (It was because of the grant and the way it was paid out.) I'm not really surprised, but it's still weird. (Pfff! Depending on a grant to get paid sucks.)

What a teacher I am! My first thought went to my students.

Is the class canceled for the last week? My students are expecting to come in and finish up their online lessons on Monday. What about Celia? She came in last week saying the principal told her to talk to me about how she can pass the class after being absent too many times--there's a diploma on the line. I know Celia has what's coming to her for not coming to class, but she is expecting one more day in class to work.

If the class isn't canceled, will the principal conduct class? I wasn't asked to provide lesson plans, so what's the plan? The first night will be a last ditch effort for those who are still working on lessons, and some need those two hours to save their butts. The second night is the final. The final is worth 10% of their grades. I wasn't asked to provide that either. I haven't made it yet, but should I feel obligated? The final was going to be an essay, but I haven't finalized the topic choices yet. Not too complicated, but still not done...

When I first read the e-mail, I instantly thought that I would volunteer to go in and conduct class on Monday so I could create closure. I could take care of it all--collect work and do a mini final--in the two hours. I'm not very good at closure, but if the class is suddenly canceled--and I don't know if that's the plan--that's just weird. It's rather unprofessional, too.

Oh no! Technically, I can't wrap up my business in two hours on one night. I'll have papers to evaluate and grades to enter into the system. It doesn't take a lot of time because it's only for 20 students, but that work happens on my own time, and in the past, I usually need to make a special trip to the school to enter my grades. I don't mind doing it because it's my job. We do a lot that doesn't take place during school hours.

But work for free? I don't have this part-time job because I love students so much. Sure, I do enjoy teaching the students at this alternative high school--it's a nice departure from my magnet middle schoolers, but I have this job for the extra money it brings to my family. No, I wasn't asked to work for free this last week. In fact, the e-mail had a matter-of-fact, you've- been-terminated tone to it. So why should I worry? Print off my grade book. Turn in my keys. The year is over for me.

It just doesn't feel right.

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