Packing it all up again

For the past three or four years I have packed up my work stuff and moved each year. The first year it wasn’t much, I just took stuff little by little to a room hidden away on the second floor of the district office, where I worked part of the day. It was nice there, it felt serene. The only window looked out into a treetop, and people had a hard time finding me, which was okay. The second year, I was going to the D.O. fulltime, so had to pack up my office, classroom and parts of a storeroom. I tried to be brutal. Figuring I wouldn’t be likely to return to the classroom, I let go of a lot of stuff, or left it behind for others to use. Still, it involved boxes of stuff, a bookcase and my computer. I moved to a small office that was squeezed in between two larger offices, those of the Directors. The office was fine, but was the center of everything. Too many people were squeezed into one large office area, and their constant conversations from one office to another, and the constant traffic from teachers, parents, and administrators made the area anyting but calm.

Last year, at the end of the year, I was told my office was needed for someone else, and I would have to move. Again. The office I was offered was not great. Huge and dirty, with big air conditioning ducts inside, windows that looked out on the air conditioning machinery for the whole building. I balked at that room (which its new residents have made very nice – where is my bluster, my creativity?) and decided to move into a smaller office with great windows with an old friend who was a teacher on special assignment for a couple of years. No one wanted this one because of its distance from everything else in the building. This office was very nice, although it was another easily forgotten place. It had space and a storage closet along with the good windows, so I packed up again, ready to move. The day I finally finished packing all my goods the superintendent came in and told me I didn’t have to move. She had changed her plans, and I could stay put if I wanted. Or I could move, it was my choice. With all my stuff already in boxes and the prospect of some serenity again, I decided I’d move anyway. This one has definitely been the best office yet. The sun does kind of beat in through those magnificent windows in the late afternoon, but other than that, it is lovely. And calm. Very calm.

So last February, about a week after our Governator announced massive imminent budget cuts, and in the midst of rancorous negotiations between the district and the teachers’ union, in which the union berated the over-abundance of Coordinators in the district, while they suffered with an inadequate raise, I was called to my supervisor’s office. I sensed what was coming. It was a Friday afternoon, and her voice was laden with trepidation – I could hear it through the phone, as she asked me to come down to speak with her. She told me that this was hard, but she had to figure out how to keep me on 40% next year so I could continue to do the Supplemental Educational Services work (which a good administrative assistant could do, no MA or even BA, certainly no credential BCLAD, Administrative or otherwise was needed) and coordinate the district Spelling Bee. Shaking my head I asked her what about the other 60% of my job. She tossed that off with a flick of her hand. Oh that, I was already back in the classroom for that part. That part was definitely gone.

She praised my teamwork, the efficiency of my work, my willingness to do whatever I’m asked without complaint or question. And yet. She said she knew I”d need time to think, and she would help me any way she could with supplemental contracts to keep my income from falling too much. I could call her over the weekend if I needed to talk or if I had any ideas for other little jobs I could do. I got up from her office and went directly to personnel, where I spoke with the director, who told me they were allowing me to keep my tenure and I could go back to the high school where I had worked before. Fearing that the person I would be bumping was my own daughter, I asked him about that. He told me who it would be, and although it was a friend, it was not my child. Saying I’d think it over, I went home, dazed.

The last few months have been packed with intrigue, not only with regard to my position. The short part is that I decided to go to the middle school next year, rather than the high school. Going to the high school felt like going back, and the junior high feels like something new, something I’ve never tried. I like site administration at that level, and feel like spending some time in the classroom will be beneficial. So, here I go again. My boxes are nearly packed. The computer is coming home for the summer, the bookcase and file cabinet are (again) labeled, and I’m moving again. Still trying to whittle my stuff down, but not being very successful at it.

I have a big box of McDougal Littel 7th grade curriculum, along with the district pacing guide to bring home for the summer. I will be leaving everything else in the office with the windows until a portable classroom with my name on it has been installed at the middle school in early August. They hope. When that is in place, I’ll move. Again.

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