Many moons ago I was in a Outdoor Summer Historical Drama (All of the adjectives I hate in front of the word “Drama” ) called Black River Traders. (I was also in the sister show, Dreams and Drillbits, but that is a nightmare for another time.).
In Black River Traders, I played a character called Wife of White Eagle. I was asked to audition for Josefina, one of the leads, but the director looked right into my little brown face and told me I wasn’t right for the part of the Hispanic woman in her thirties. I was thirty-two at the time and have been Hispanic for many years. The nightmare for the other time is directly attached to the woman who did get the part, but I digress. (That’s a shock.)
As Wife of White Eagle , I did little except stand around dressed as a Navajo and hover frantically over my ill son. My very few lines were allegedly the only English my character spoke, because I said nothing else to the Billagonna who helped my child. Several scenes later, my clan invited said Billagonna to dance ceremonially with us. Prior to this dance was a sit and chat by the fire. One of the lead characters delivered his line, “The only constant in life is change” directly to me. It took about two months of performances before he realized that his character talking to mine was an exercise in clueless and closing night he mouthed,”You have no idea what I’m talking about.” I nodded my head and we went on with our lives.
I am about to jump right into a change.
Today and tomorrow are my last day in the employment of Kauffman Leadership Academy. I have to go out there to tidy up my classroom, take inventory of my room and have my exit interview, as well as attend my last faculty meeting. I’m trying to get everything situated so I can just go to the meetin and then blaze out of there. This is because of what I plan to say in my exit interview.
This has not been the idyllic experience that I had hoped. Mostly because all I had was hope. I worked fifty hour weeks in stuffy classroom with almost no back plan by the administration for things that might go awry.
What went awry: Five times our paychecks were late. Many times plans and schedules were not distributed until moments before they happened. The superintendent is married to the biggest bully in the school and can’t/won’t do anything about it. We did not have a school nurse or full-time counselor. Several times the schools bills weren’t paid and we were left wondering if we would have to adjust our lesson plans to accommodate no power or internet. A lot of things happened in a “let’s just cover this up and see what happens.” It seems that they only time action was taken was when it was something that the general public witnessed.
I am trying to find a tactful way to present all of this. I’m pretty sure I’m going to give up on that and just boil it down to the two major things that helped me decide to get out of the haunted house.
One of the several times our checks were late and one of my colleagues asked, desperately, what we were supposed to do, since we were all broke and had no real safety net. The principal/superintendent said, “This is an at-will state. You can always go or somewhere else.” In the ensuing silence, my colleague put his head down and cried.
Then there’s the bully that no one does anything about. This full-grown man seems to take great delight in talking down and denigrating teachers and students. One of our students is transgender (female to male) and was very upset that the Bully kept calling him “her”. Bully was corrected by other students, yet insisted on using this word. This is in direct violation of the school’s policy and counts as bullying. I did not teach this student, but since the teachers who did teacher him wouldn’t do anything about it and since I have nothing left to lose, I’m going to mention in.
Because something has to change.