August 8, 2013

Post Traumatic West Creek Disorder

Teaching in Tennessee was supposed to be my thing. Grant had the Army and the Army was our reason for moving to Clarksville; but I had picked a career that was available and needed everywhere. I planned and researched the transition. I had my letters of rec in, my application submitted months ahead of our move, and had passed all the Praxis tests to have my credential be valid in Tennessee.

Leaving my job in California was the hardest thing about moving behind leaving my family and friends. I was lucky enough to have a full time Special Education teaching job at the only school I had ever wanted to teach at. It's where Grant and I met. It's where he proposed. It's where I first stepped into a high school classroom as a teacher, not a student. It was the best place to start my career and I never would have left if life had not had other plans for me.

But life did, and in July I finally got a phone interview for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. After that interview, my application was released to all principals with open Special Education positions. Basically it's first come, first serve. Whichever principal can contact you, being you in for an interview, check your references and offer you a job has the best chance of you choosing to work at his or her site.  When West Creek High School called me in for an interview I was beyond excited.  I had heard good things about the school from two different people in Clarksville and I knew it was basically brand new.  The interview went great and a few hours later I was hired.  You can read about that day here.

We set up my classroom, I went through all the training, and I survived the first week.

From there, the whole experience was a complete and total let down.  In retrospect, I think the experience was largely tainted by the fact that I was incredibly sick with my still to be diagnosed POTS...however, the other two young women I was friends with left the school after that year...and as of this summer both Emily and I could have reapplied for our jobs since those positions were once again open...

I never thought I'd be teaching at a school where students were trying to fight and/or make drug deals in my classroom. I never thought I would walk into my classroom to find the campus police officer (who was covering my class) discussing the legal amount of drugs that could be found on my students instead of making sure they were on task. These are obviously extreme examples of what my life was like, but they did happen, and they were reported to my administration.  On one day in particular, when students were making drug deals in my class and I called the administration to have someone come down and remove the students, no one ever came.  At the end of the period, I walked down to follow up and my principal started laughing. She thought the whole situation was entertaining.  I could share many more examples, but they would only further highlight the miserable situation I was in.

While I was devastated to have to medically resign my job, I am extremely thankful I got out of that situation before it presumably got much worse.  When we moved home and I started long term subbing this past spring, I was actually anxious about going back in the classroom.  It didn't matter that I've been in a classroom since West Creek; I still kept thinking about that horrible experience.  Fortunately, I was quickly reminded about how much I love teaching and that my time at West Creek was really just a horrible situation.  But it certainly did make me appreciate my teaching situation here even more.  I couldn't be more excited to be back home about to start a new school year.

1 comment:

  1. Ho. Lee. Crap. That is INSANE!!!!!

    I mean, am I too surprised that this happened in Clarksville? No. But that grown people would laugh about drug deals instead of DOING something about it?? That's surprising. And sad.


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