Wednesday, May 31, 2006


What do you have to do to get written up at work?

My latest "stunt" was less of a stunt, but it required all sorts of meetings. It all started with the requirement for me to turn in a copy of my final exam to my department head (insert the word 'bone' and it still works perfectly). I refused. To be an asshole? Partially, but not really. Mostly, for test security.

See, when you're really masochistic and in the education industry, you do crazy weird shit like agree to create a new course. Such as Advanced Physics Principles / Robotics. And when you do stuff like that from scratch, you find that there aren't a whole heck of a lot of resources for teaching such a course as an advanced high school level science class. There are plenty of resources for the technology and programming aspect, but not a whole lot for the science/engineering principles, especially the real science application part. So, you make a lot of the shit up from scratch. To make a long story somewhat shorter, it takes a hella lot of time and effort. So, you tend to be pretty protective of your shit. No, not 'pretty protective'. We're talking get your ass attacked by a pack of fat ladies because you want the last cookie on the buffet line kind of protective.

So, when asked to hand over a copy of my final exams to my department (meat)head? I reply with a simple 'no.' Well, you have to understand that there is a perception of a power struggle that has been going on all year long with me. I say perception because it's not authority I defy, it's stupid. Somehow, you can be an ineffective teacher and have all of the kids and faculty like you a lot, to the point where you get Teacher of the Year honors. But those of us that get the kids afterwards know better. Not only are these kids dumb with regard to basic physics principles after an AP Physics class, but they're typically the classroom management issues. Perhaps poor behavior was overlooked in prior classes? Of course, I have been accused of expecting too much with regard to high school student behavior. I've also been accused of being 'elitist.' I don't remember refuting the statement.

Anyhow, it all ended up with him having a real hissy fit. We're talking along the lines of writing e-mails to the assistant principal and telling me that I would have to take it up with her because he wasn't signing off on my sheet as turning them in. It was fun to watch him squirm, but it wasn't an issue of me vs. him as he wants so badly to think. It's just an overprotective, rabid wolverine protecting her cubs. Or whatever you call a baby wolverine. But with intellectual property, not real cubs. And not a real wolverine, just me. Fuck, it was just an analogy.

Fortunately, he's leaving for the new school with the old principal. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Total BS

Remember that whole rant about not getting a decent raise? Well, turns out it was total hogwash. But let's not forget how the political spin machine works. Not to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, but I think that there are deeper issues at hand here.

See, once the superintendent's plan went to the board (in a private meeting no less), they put the smack down on it and are supposedly reinstating the full 3.4% raise as opposed to his paltry proposal of 1.7%. Oh, thank you! 3.4%! Hey, it's another $900 bucks in my pocket. Still have to work on the $250 furlough day, but hey, the big part is back. Or was the plan to make the furlough day more acceptable?

To be honest, I think that the real impetus was two-fold.

First task: make the governor take the heat. Oh woe is us, budget cuts. We can't find a single source of fat to cut and you're making us hire more teachers with less funding. So, let's take it out on the teachers and convince them that it's that nasty, evil governor!

Second task: lest we forget that it's board election year. The super can't lose his myrmidons! That'd just be cause for him to train a whole new race of blame swappers and a whole new slew of executive retreats to learn useful skills such as responsibility avoidance and the importance of hiring a good spin doctor.

Screw it. Seriously. I'm getting awfully tired of assisting in Marx's ten step program anyhow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fuck The Man!

The Man. The proverbial Man. Capital M Man. Oh, he's real. And he can go fuck himself.

So the Governor of Georgia proposes new legislation and it gets written and approved. (I say it's not really his law because I understand how government works. The Governor doesn't make laws, he just signs off on them which is really sort of symbolic anyhow because a Congressional vote can override the veto. Surprisingly, I'm a graduate of a government school and I understand that.) Anyhow, the legislation is about how school systems can spend money. The part that the upper level admin are concerned about is that it states explicitly that class sizes have to meet a required minimum (no averaging anymore) and 65% of education funding must be spent on or in the classrooms. That includes teacher salaries, building maintenance, supplies, books, etc. from what I understand. That leaves almost 1/3 for upper level admin duties. Obviously not enough, surprisingly, if you judge by the roars from the county superintendents (mostly the ones in suburban Atlanta).

So, the superintendent in our county has a wonderful solution to the hits to the budget for next year. How much do you want to wager on the fact that it's cuts at the top-heavy county admin level? Ha ha, you lose!

And again, despite the fact that I am a graduate of a fine government school, I am surprisingly good at math.

The governor approved a 4% pay raise for teachers for next year. That's for the state salary schedule. See, some (most) counties offer an additional stipend on top of the state pay, especially those in areas where the cost of living is higher (aka metro Atlanta). Our county does this. So, a 4% raise on the state pay makes the raise come out to about 3.5% for us, assuming the county retains the same level of additional pay.

If you read the linked article, you find out that 3.5% is too high compared to what we will get. See, the net raise will only work out to be 1.77%. They want to add the extra significant figure to make it more attractive than 1.7% but not lead people to expect 1.8%. So, figuring on what I expected to make next year, instead of gaining $1713 dollars based solely on state contributions, I end up with $844 extra dollars. A loss of $869. Basically, they're lowering the county contribution by $869.

They cite having to hire more teachers to make class sizes smaller as their justification. I find it particularly interesting that not a single cut was made for county positions (much higher paid than lowly teachers, as in the very close to if not 6-figure range) or for their particularly ridiculous legal expenses. "Nah, let's stick it to the guys who are actually doing the grunt work. We'll make those teachers pay for someone else's decision to try to help teachers out with a little extra folding cash. Literally, make them pay!"

But it's not over yet.

They're also making us take a furlough day. I didn't even know what that was until today. But basically, I signed a contract for 191 days just a few weeks ago. They will be changing the contract to 190 days, thus changing the contract however they wish at any time. Ok, they're the employer. But we had an agreement. Yeah, an agreement that puts pretty much everything in their favor, like the ability to change contracts at will. I wish I could do that, but I'm not the employer, I'm the employee, I understand that. So back to the furlough day. The one less day is an unpaid day. For me that will be roughly a $254 loss.

So to add up all of my losses, the pay that I expected next year will end up being $1123 less than I expected it to be. "Oh, bitch bitch bitch, you're still getting a 1.77% raise." Did you notice the percentage that energy costs have gone up? I think it was a bit more than that just in the last month here just for fuel. And how does that affect the prices of goods? "It makes them cheaper, right?" If you think that, you obviously didn't have me as your teacher.

Oh, and I really enjoyed how we got the notice of this news from the county after I found out from the local newspaper. Apparently, we're not worthy of being the first to know.