When someone makes stupid comments or attacks my character, I can generally let it roll off my back with the understanding that person is spending far more time thinking about me than I will ever think about him or her. Last year, I stayed relatively silent as people repeatedly searched my blog and constantly clicked on "Angry Rants" and "Another Kind of Rant" to find information that supported their ideas about my personality. (PS. Your IP addresses really give you away.) And mostly, I subscribe the the belief that what others think of me is really none of my business.
But occasionally, I have enough and I have to comment. Feel free to stop reading if you are uninterested in my comments regarding personal attacks.
First of all, I fail to understand how a website like Topix is allowed to operate or why any person would be willing to comment on the inane drivel posted regularly. It's not a site I visit--mostly because I don't need to gossip endlessly about topics that are none of my business. Today, however, I was informed there was a comment made about my salary, and that comment was basically connected to other "I've heard it before" issues that really just ruffled my feathers.
I understand I really had no business visiting that stupid site and confirming any information I was given. But I did. Call me a glutton for punishment.
So a few things you probably don't know because I've never posted them on my blog:
1. I work in my hometown at the same high school from which I graduated almost fifteen years ago.
2. My father serves on the school board for that same high school.
That information alone is enough for people to scream nepotism, though I think some of those people fail to understand part of the definition for the word includes the phrase "regardless of merit." It simply means family favortism, plain and simple. But I think most of us would agree those who have merit should be subsequently rewarded.
That said, here are a few other things I've never addressed on my blog:
I graduated in December more than five years ago, and I knew it was highly unlikely I would be hired for a half a semester in the classroom. Since I felt a particular pull to hometown high, I met with the current principal to let him know I was available to substitute in any and all subject areas in order to get my foot in the door. I also shared I would be very interested in any opening in the English Department.
A few weeks later, I received a call. Would I be willing to cover a maternity leave in the math department?
I said yes, but you should know I had no idea what I was doing. I was completely incapable of teaching the subject matter and would have been little better than a babysitter. Unfortunately, there were no other able (or willing) candidates. All I had going for me was "willing" and the administration jumped at the only bone available at the time.
Due to some real insufficiencies in mathematics, the principal gave me an "easier" math class (read: lower level freshman math) to teach and moved the other teacher into Algebra II. The teacher who was moved was a trouper. Not only did she encourage me every.single.day, she also willingly taught a class she wasn't prepared to teach as it had never been a part of her schedule.
It was a trying couple of weeks. I cried every day when I went home. I was sure that if any English position became available, I was ruining any shot I had at a permanent placement.
But apparently, willingness is an appreciated quality. Not long after my stint in math ended, a teacher who had been waiting for another placement at a university retired. Since I was already in the building, and obviously more capable of teaching English, the administration honored my "willing" stint in the math department and hired me as a permanent substitute in the English classroom.
Over the next few months, I worked hard. I had no lesson plans prepared and felt lucky to stay a few steps in front of the students. I spent hours planning for those three preps and more time trying to grade the ridiculous amount of assignments I thought I was supposed to give (new teacher mistake).
When the English position was posted, I applied like everyone else. I wrote a cover letter, submitted my resume and filled out an application. I interviewed with two other candidates. And when all that was over, I was positive I lost the job.
I didn't feel my interview went well, and any person involved in the process was completely stoic about the route they would ultimately choose. So when my department chair (at the time) told me the administration was recommending me for hire to the board, I almost knocked her out because I flung my arms so far to hug her. I was that surprised.
The recommendation was made and the board voted. At this point, I should tell you my father abstained from the vote given our relationship. But you should also note that even if he had voted, he was one vote out of seven. One. And I wouldn't say all the people sitting on that board were my dad's biggest fans, either. Still, the vote for my hire was unanimous.
I have never received special treatment, asked for special treatment or expected special treatment because of my father's position. If anything, I have worked harder to prove myself capable of a position I truly enjoy. I don't always get it right, but I'm next to positive few teachers feel they do.
Despite the rumors on Topix (the stupid, stupid, inane, ridiculous rumors), I do not receive extra money on my paycheck because of my father's position. My raises are in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement that impacts the entire faculty and all the staff. Any "extra" pay I have received was due to taking on special assignments like forensics coach, after school detention, tutoring, etc.
Now I totally understand people are entitled to their own opinions, and there are likely several who continue to assert that I am the worst thing to happen to hometown high's faculty since porkchop sideburns. That's fine. For every one of those people, there are a handful who really seem to have enjoyed my classes and benefitted from the material I taught. Frankly, I'd rather people just not like me than attempt to attack an idea that simply has no basis in fact or proof.
That said, search my blog. Continue any character assassination you wish to continue. Believe I am a horrible, hateful human being if that strikes your fancy. I just needed to have my say.
And now I'm done.