And Other Things That Make Me a Shitty Liar
I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I would do this, but shit, who am I fooling? When have I EVER kept my mouth shut? Just ask my grandpa. If he begged me to do it once, he begged me to do it a million times.
Now, I WILL give myself some well-deserved credit because I DID sit on this shit for a LONG time, at least in my world, it was a long time. I knew about this since March 25, so yeah, that was a good long time before I spoke out. And to be honest, as I write this out, I’m STILL not sure what I’m going to say.
I DO know that what I’m going to say is MY truth, and anyone else who sees it otherwise can just go right on and fuck themselves. Twice if it makes ’em feel better.
Today we’re gonna talk about why I REALLY quit teaching. And I have a feeling I’m probably going to get nasty because I’m bitter, y’all. I. AM. BITTER. DO NOT misunderstand me. I AM MUCH better off. I don’t have to deal with the bullshit involved with the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life. And that, folks, is the damned shame about all of this.
I apologize if this is a stream of consciousness, but it really is. It’s going down as it’s coming out. Just bear with me. I have a better idea of where I’m headed now.
I LOVED Teaching
There was never a moment’s doubt about what I was going to do with my life. I was ALWAYS going to become a teacher. I fought tooth and nail to get there but get there, I did. And I was FUCKING GOOD AT IT. Modesty be damned. I never brag about myself, and I don’t plan to start now. I’m just speaking fact of business. I wasn’t just good at the TEACHING part; I was ALSO good at the relating to my kids part.
I took to the kids no one else wanted to deal with. No one else loved. And I could get through to them in ways that others just couldn’t seem to do. I credit a lot of that to being from the same neighborhood and background that they were from, but whatever it was, it worked for both of us most of the time. Oh, I’m not going to sit here and tell you every kid who walked through my door loved me. Nor will I tell you I loved every one of them. We’re all human, after all. But I DID love the vast majority of them, and they loved me.
I ALWAYS went the extra mile with my kids. Throughout my career, five of my students lived with me at some point. I took kids to school, brought them home, and made sure they ate, even if that meant I didn’t eat myself. I clothed them and their children. I helped pay bills and for funerals for their parents or children. I took calls from them in the middle of the night because they were thinking about hurting themselves or they just needed to know someone out there in the wide world cared. And I was glad to do it. All.
Again, I don’t want to make myself sound “special.” EVERY SINGLE TEACHER WHO TAUGHT AT MY CAMPUS DID THE SAME THINGS I DID AND MORE. For 17 out of my 21-year career, I worked at a campus comprised of 100% at-risk students, and the teachers who taught there CARED not just about their JOBS, but they CARED ABOUT THEIR KIDS.
And then it all went to shit.
A Change is Gonna Come…And BOY, Did It EVER!
I will not lie; for about 11 years, the inmates ran the prison. What I mean by that is that the teachers ran the school. We had a principal who could be led to believe that certain things were HER idea, and she LOVED having a good idea, so we pretty much were able to work together as a team to do what we believed to be best for our students.
During that time, our graduation rates were the highest they were before or since. We had more kids who were successful on their standardized tests, fewer dropouts, more kids receiving larger amounts of scholarships, and more kids going on to college or trade school than ever before or since. We did it together. We LIKED each other. We had a great time at work because we enjoyed our jobs, we enjoyed our kids, and we enjoyed EACH OTHER.
But you know what they say. All good things must come to an end. But they didn’t just end. They came to the fastest screeching halt that has ever been felt by a group of people at one time, and I’m sure of it.
The Heartless Bitch Ass Mother Fucker Who Ruined My Life
Just to give you an idea of the monster that we would be dealing with, the week before the new boss (who was NOT the same as the old boss) took over duties as the campus principal, yours truly had a stroke.
I was going through A LOT. I was in the middle of a custody battle for my son, and I literally almost died from the stress. I was in the hospital for four days because I INSISTED that the doctor let me leave because I was in the middle of summer school, and my kids only got me for 22 days, and I had missed two of them because of the fucking stroke. I had to go back to work. And I did. WEEKS before I was actually cleared.
Luckily, I only lost partial vision in both eyes as a result of the stroke, and I was unable to drive for nine more months, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t back for summer school that Monday. And he was there.
I went to him and asked if I could visit with him during lunch to fill him in on my VERY personal situation. He seemed rather put out but agreed.
I remember taking a box of tissues with me to his office because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it through the conversation without crying. I was going to have to tell a man I had literally spoken tp one sentence to prior that day about all of my personal drama between my ex-husband and me, the fact that I was unsure as to whether or not I was going to be physically able to return to work, or if it would even make financial sense for me to return if I lost custody of my son.
I did not get halfway through my “confessions” before he stopped me and said, you tend to miss a lot of work, don’t you?
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
Ummm. When I miss work, I always have a reason. I took care of my grandmother until she died, and she was bed-ridden for most of the last seven years of her life. Very soon after she passed, my mother became terminally ill, and my husband of 20 years and I filed for divorce…at the same time. I had two school-aged children who sometimes got ill, and even while I was married to their dad, he was an OTR truck driver, so I was basically a “single parent,” and I would have to take off to take care of them. I also have several chronic illnesses, and I suffer from bipolar disorder with severe depression; some days, I simply could not get out of bed.
So, did I miss more than my eight allotted days a year? Most years, I did. And I had a doctor’s note for virtually every single day. In 21 years, I took THREE DAYS OFF that were actual PERSONAL days. The rest were covered by someone’s doctor, a lawyer, or the need to appear in court.
So, again, please remember that I have not even been asked how I am doing or what the doctor has said about THE STROKE I had less than five days ago. Then the tears started to fall. I told him that my job and my kids at school were the only things I had. I NEEDED to be there. IT. WAS. MY. LIFE.
He matter of factly told me that I really should think about what options were available to me because, at a certain point, I needed to stop thinking about myself and start thinking about my students who didn’t have a teacher in the classroom enough the time.
Now, let me inject this. At this campus, the students did not have schedules, they only attended school for four hours at a time, and all of the curricula were self-paced. I NEVER had to stand in front of them and deliver a lesson. That is not to say that I DIDN’t because I DID when my kids needed to be moved through at a faster rate than they were going or they needed remediation for their standardized tests, but if I wasn’t at school, they just went to a different class that day and worked on something else. Finished up another class a little faster. I NEVER had a kid not finish my class, not graduate, or not pass a standardized test simply because I was not at school. I ALWAYS stayed extra hours FOR FREE, worked through EVERY LUNCH FOR FREE, and talked to or texted them when school was out to help them with their assignments. I NEVER didn’t get the job done.
And if you were to go poll EVERY SINGLE STUDENT I EVER HAD, they might not all say they liked me (98% did 😉 ), but NONE OF THEM, even if they hated my guts, would say that I didn’t do my job. They might tell you I was tough on them and made them work when they didn’t want to. They might tell you that I made them try to do the work independently before I intervened. Well, FUCK ME! How the hell are they EVER going to learn to be independent thinkers if they DON’T HAVE TO THINK ON THEIR OWN???
I felt like I had LITERALLY been kicked in the gut. He KNEW I had JUST gotten out of the hospital because I had a FUCKING STROKE from FUCKING STRESS, but fuck me, right?
I stopped crying, thanked him for his time, and walked back to my classroom, where I completely lost my shit.
The summer school principal, who happened to be in the room with me when I told the doctor that I HAD to be back to work, was just as floored as I was. He actually accused me of HURTING the kids that I did EVERYTHING to try to help and protect? And prior to that “meeting,” he’d spoken to me ONCE? What the actual fuck???
I made it through the next week before he called me into his office again. But this time, I didn’t bring a box of tissues to boo-fucking-hoo into. This time I was PISSED.
I sat down across from him, my legs crossed and my foot popping. Let me tell you when you get the legs-crossed-foot-pop combo, you are in for a SHIT STORM, buddy.
He said to me, I shit you not, Ms. Snyder; it seems like you don’t have a lot to say to me these days. Ummmm…Ya fucking think???
I didn’t SAY that, but I was THINKING it…LOUDLY.
I told you I just can’t keep my mouth shut, so I didn’t. I told him basically that he was a complete jerk for making the judgment call about me he did without knowing absolutely NOTHING about me as a person OR a teacher, and he was THE most insensitive person I had EVER met for coming at me the way he did KNOWING I’d just gotten out of the hospital for a stress-related stroke.
Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot explain exactly what happened during the course of this meeting, nor can I explain why. But before it was all said and done, we had pretty much kissed and made up. I shit you not.
The just of it was that we both said our peace; he had heard nothing but good things about me since his time on campus, I let him know he was wrong for what he did, but I was willing to start over. And we did.
The Beginning of the End
When school started the next year, to say that things were different, well, they don’t make a word for what things were.
The ENTIRE CAMPUS, literally including everything BUT the floor, was COMPLETELY physically changed. All of the traditions that we had made over the years were gone. None of us were consulted. None of us were warned. We were simply told that we could either get on board or we could go somewhere else because if we did not share his vision, we had no place on that campus, and he had the full backing of the superintendent to make that statement. WELL, FUCK ME!
So, I got on board. I actually think I had a fairly successful year overall. I supported him at every turn, even losing friends over it. He and I became closer as the year progressed, and we even kept each other company on sleepless nights (we both suffered from insomnia), discussing ideas for the school.
It wasn’t until three weeks until the new school year started that I was brought it and told that I had fallen short in terms of my standardized tests.
Now, let me be clear about something. These students had already taken these tests multiple times, and my assistant principal, who originally set the expectations for the program (and consequently jumped ship at the end of the year, getting the hell out of Dodge), told me to focus on GROWTH rather than passing rate. If the kids showed improvement, I should be pleased with that. Apparently, he forgot to give that memo to the principal.
In the next few minutes, I was told that I should be fired over the scores my kids produced, I should be ashamed of myself as a teacher, etc, etc, etc.
I let the wave of shock wash over me, and then the line from the comedy classic “Friday” hit me like a ton of bricks. “How the hell you gonna get fired on your day off?” My sentiments exactly! Here I was, three weeks prior to school starting, and my job was being threatened.
If I recounted every ridiculous thing that happened to me during the next two school years, I would be here for the next two school years, so I will cut it down to the bare bones.
The Turning Point
On September 11, 2020, his third year (I skipped an entire year of crap), I found out I had a birth defect, and I was going to have to have surgery. On top of this, the condition I have is very rare, to the point where my doctor, who has close to 40 years of experience, has never seen such a case. It was going to take him time to devise a plan of action. And during that time, COVID hit.
He did not want me to go back to work until he had everything figured out and my surgery planned, but after five weeks off, I got him to let me go back until I could have the surgery.
I did my job. I stayed in my room and in my lane, and out of everyone’s hair until I had to leave to have my surgery in January.
Initially, I was going to be out for around four to six weeks. Until my initial defibrillator in my chest malfunctioned, and I had to have another surgery. I was out from January 30 until March 22, the day we returned from Spring Break.
On March 25, I was called to HR and told that I could either resign or get fired. I’d missed too many days in addition to the erratic behavior I had a tendency to display.
I immediately called my Union Lawyer. After investigating, he said the district had no reason to fire me, my record was spotless, and I could fight it and win.
My thoughts at that point? FUCK IT! If I have given almost half of my life to a place, and that is how much they value me, they can shove it straight up their collective asses. I resigned.
And I had no fucking clue what I was going to do.
I started poking around on the internet to see my options, and “writer” kept coming up. But I couldn’t be a writer. I mean, yes, I can write. I can write WELL. But get paid to write? I don’t know about all of that???
But I can. And I am. I’m poor as fuck. I have no insurance. I have no plan C. But I am doing it, and I love it.
Fuck Them Hoes
I know that God is going to strike me down for the way I feel, but I harbor HORRIBLE will towards the principal and the head of HR. I hope, at the least, they wake up one morning to all of their tires slashed…it wouldn’t be from me, as I don’t know where either of the fucking pieces of shit live.
But the really sad part is, I know that there were people who I thought were my friends who were pushing me out the door. I know this because the head of HR told me that no one I worked with liked me, and she even had a written list of “grievances” that they had against me containing information that only my “friends” were privy to. I hope they all have multiple flat tires one day too.
See, what they don’t seem to realize or care about is that they fucked with someone’s LIVELIHOOD. That was how I made a living. I am single, and it was the only way to support myself. But, hey. If it wasn’t going on with them, fuck it, right? Karma is a big ole bitch, and she’ll make her way around to each of them in turn. I just hope they remember me when it happens.
So, no, it was not my choice, per se, to quit teaching. But I am not unhappy I did. And if I hear ONE of those fuckers try to say they did me a favor, I WILL GO TO JAIL. BET THAT!
Yes, I am bitter as fuck. Yes, I will get over it, though it’s already been over a year, and I’m still pretty fucking pissy about it. Such is life. Everything happens for a reason, and all of that old bull shit.
So, there ya have it, the truth behind me turning to write. MY truth. And if anyone has anything to say otherwise, you can feel free to get a hold of me so that we can discuss it like adults. I’ll leave my tire popping instrument at home.