It was amazing—that she could find a job that quickly and then lose it so easily. It was nothing about what she did; it was all about what she didn’t do. It wasn’t until it was too late change anything that she found out how she lost her career.
She taught public school. It was her first real job, her first career, and she had seen herself working happily in the field of education for the rest of her life. Her dreams, however, were cut short by one hateful woman. Often, she referred to this woman as Big Red, a term she had picked up from one of her favorite television shows. She had respected this woman, and she looked up to her as a fellow educator—someone who had worked in the field she so desperately wanted to be a part of for the rest of her working life. These ideas of rapture and fascination for a human being were soon squelched.
It was a brisk, fall morning when she attended her first day working at the school. She met many students, and by the end of the day she couldn’t differentiate between most of them and couldn’t remember 80% of the names she had learned. It was a basic, first-year-teacher’s first day on the job. The first grading period came, and by then she could actually remember who most of her students were without mixing them up. However, as she looked over her first set of report cards, a frown crossed her face. Of her eighty or so students, over sixty of them were failing her class. She had no idea what had transpired to cause such a failing rate, but she knew she was going to find out.
The second grading period started with angry parent phone calls, unplanned parent/teacher conferences, and added responsibilities to her work load that no flesh-and-blood human could complete successfully. Yet her campus administrator expected and required her to do so. By the end of the second grading period, her failing rate had dropped from sixty to forty. She believed this was a significant improvement—her administrator, however, had other ideas.
The third grading period is now best remembered as the few weeks when she remained at school until at least six in the evening. Her days were full of activities, meetings, conferences, observations, and other things she found unnecessary. It wasn’t her fault the students were failing; she wasn’t purposefully giving them failing grades; somehow, the students had in their own minds that she would pass them even when they didn’t turn in the work. Her teaching philosophy explained her stand point on this issue, yet no one paid it any mind. Her first semester of teaching ended as she closed her documentation on every parent/teacher conference she had held—three a day every day after school, lasting for five weeks.
The second semester of her teaching career began with her attempts to regain control of her classes. This was also when she realized that she was overworked. She not only had a second job on top of this career, but she had also signed up to assist with community theatre. It was this latter portion of her schedule that caused a rift between herself and her administrator. One email ruined her career. When she informed her administrator that she would be unable to work a sporting event due to her overwhelming schedule, her administrator informed her that she would be required to work at least two sporting events before the year was out. However, she was unable to fulfill such an obligation.
Her students were finally realizing that their work must be turned in for them to receive passing grades, and many were doing well in her class. However, this was the semester that was plagued with the ever-existing administrative requirements of her position. After hostile emails and harsh words were exchanged between herself and her administrator, she soon found that she had lost her job. She was informed that she would not be returning to the school for the next academic year.
Despite her sudden, unexpected termination, she was expected to see out the academic year. She felt betrayed. She had no idea what she had done. According to any and every observation she had suffered, she was proficient as an educator and well on her way to becoming a great teacher. Yet her administrator had a severe issue with her—the best explanation would be a personality conflict. It was this personality conflict that caused her to become hostile towards everyone on the campus. She was never informed of the reasoning for her termination, even when she asked for a direct, straight response when she inquired as to those reasons. It seemed to her that Big Red, now referred to as the Governess, was unable to give such a reason. It was this belief that led her to question the administration of the independent school district. She wrote letters, retained documentation of every grievance she had suffered at the hands of this administrator, and she did everything in her power to retain a career in education.
Despite everything she did, to this day, she is unable to find employment in the education system. For this reason, she has begun to look for employment in other industries that do not require any education. It has not seemed to matter what she does—nothing will ever be enough for this school district—nothing she will ever do will cause them to change their minds. Nothing she ever does will be seen or heard by these small-minded individuals who ruined her dreams, her goals, and her life.