Aug 9, 2009

The Diary Of A Terminated DC Teacher

I decided to share an email that I received from a terminated teacher from DC Public Schools. This 14 year teacher wonder did little to deserve her arbitrary fate under the Rhee administration. A review of her school's DC-CAS scores obtained unofficially on my blog from an insider reveal that her school made significant gains. Too bad she was fired before the NCLB scores will be released on August 14th. Had she been a probationary teacher she might have had the chance of an expedited appeals process. I'm not sure what's been tougher for me than watching great teacher colleagues get fired this year by the Rhee administration or watching great teachers give up on their love of teaching. I don't blame them. This email sucks.

Dear Diary:

"It is Saturday and I could not wait to get home and write this. As you know, I was fired from my job as a teacher in June 2009 after 14 years. I have been at peace throughout it all as I have an abiding faith and know that God has all the answers. I have forgiven all and any people who had anything to do with my dismissal.

As it stands, I don't plan to return to TEACHING again, unless I am reinstated. However, I doubt that is going to happen. I have had many good years but I need a change. As such, I have been preparing for my "survival sale" to get more of a cash reserve. In order for me to move forward, I had to let go completely of my past. I am not sad or bitter as I had a wonderful teaching career. Also, I was blessed to be mentored by two of the greatest principals during my teaching career.

In the last few weeks, I have thrown away almost everything related to my former teaching career. Yesterday, I poured through a lot NICE board games, and books, and other items and decided to give back to my neighborhood. I just put everything outside my yard and placed a sign that said "FREE, PLEASE TAKE". I am happy to report that most of the items are gone.

Today, I decided to do a dry run of my sale at my hair salon. I went into the salon with a box of items for sale not really expecting to make any money. All my items already had the prices on them. In less than 15 minutes, I walked out of the salon $72 DOLLARS RICHER. Customer 1 purchased my CD Boom box for $20, customer 2 brought my pair of new leather tennis shoes for $10, customer 3 brought my pair of new Ralph Lauren collection tennis shoes for $20, and customer 4 brought 2 new DVD's for $6 each. If you add this up, it is only $62.00. Now here is where the love comes in: customer 1 gave me a $10 love gesture. When I left that shop, I was so happy, joyful and appreciative.

Most people would be going crazy if they lost their high salaries and did not have a spouse or relative to back them. However, God is working through me and in me by giving me a calm nature. I believe that I will one day make a lot more than what was taken away. I am a survivor when my back is up against the wall. For instance, I have central air and normally my electric bill is over $300 in the summer time. Yet, the day after I was terminated I turned my central air off and went to Walmart and purchased 3 extra large fans. My electric bill was $50.00 this month.

If you take anything from this, please know that I wish you good health and good fortune. Yet, be very thankful for what you have as it can be taken away. Now, I live each day to the fullest and relish even the smallest moments. I appreciate all your love and support. I will stand strong and never give up. I am determined that I will not live in fear. It would be easy for me to get another teaching job. Yet, I am going to try to go into another career. And who knows, I may even get a job in sales. $72.00 in 15 minutes that must be a record for an amateur like me.

Posted by The Washington Teacher


Anonymous said...

This is the new reality of life under Rhee. More terminations of DC teachers are expected this year.
I hope your writing wakes more people up.

Toni said...

How was this 14-year veteran terminated without any warning? Any observations? Any 90 day plan?

I don't understand.

Stephanie said...

Didn't you hear Rhee is above the law. So is Mayor Fenty who supports her. They don't follow any rules. There were teachers who were terminated without evaluations. Some teachers were targeted for various reasons like advocating for students. Just look at Columbia Heights Education Campus as an example where 21 teachers were all fired from the middle school campus. Certainly all of them weren't ineffective.

Kings said...

Toni - you have a point. Without this information, it doesn't make sense and makes me wonder what's missing and why.

Did the union completely abandon this teacher? Was the teacher put on a 90 day plan then fired?

Toni said...

Stephanie, where is the union? If the teachers have tenure and were fired without due process, why isn't the union fighting to correct that?

About a Teaching Fellow in DC. said...

Please tell her good luck and all the best in the future. !!!

Who will the WTU endorse for mayor in the next mayoral election?

About a Teaching Fellow in DC. said...

Please pass on best of luck to the teacher.

Has the WTU given any indication of who the union will officially endorse in the next mayoral election?

Old School DCPS said...

A 14 year veteran is someone with tenure, not a probationary teacher. I assume this teacher was fired under the 90 day plan, only because she couldn't have stayed uncertified for so many years (unless she was teaching outside of her field for a while and didn't pass that Praxis and was let go for that reason). I would like to hear more details of how she was fired. Was she repeatedly observed by her principal, then by someone sent out from 825? Was she given areas in which she was to improve and failed to do so? I want to hear more.

The Washington Teacher said...

The union is fighting cases like these but it can take as many as several years or more. The approximately 70 probationary teachers who were fired last year are still awaiting hearings. it has been over a year now. One probationary teacher won his hearing but has yet to be re-instated by the Rhee administration despite a hearing officer's determination. This teachers case involved approx. 32 contractural violations. It is my understanding that Fenty has interefered with arbitration and these cases are now pending a court hearing as a result of not being able to go through the administrative process.

In the meantime, all other terminated teachers will have to work elsewhere while awaiting due process. Justice is a slow process.Unfortunately, last year's probationary teachers were not afforded an expedited appeals process like they were this year.

The COPE committee which comes under the auspices of the Washington Teachers Union makes endorsementts for the mayor. Last election COPE members voted to endorse Linda Cropp.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone: This is the Terminated DC Teacher of 14 years. Prior to this year, I had received very good ratings. Yes, I was terminated under the 90 day plan. There were a lot of violations that occured with my case, which is undergoing a grievance process. All that matters is that I am moving on and again hold no ill will. Thanks.

Old School DCPS said...

To the terminated teacher: For your own mental and physical health, it is good that you are holding no ill will, even if you were unjustly terminated (which may well be the case, with all the violations you mention). Have you considered PG County? I know so many former DC teachers that moved over to PG and got all their years creditted to them, and are doing well there. They are respected and supported and continue to serve out their calling to educate mostly African American children and youth, in a less chaotic system. Just an idea and I wish you well.

Post Free Ads said...

I wish her best of luck in future

usereason said...

Did anyone read this article in the NY Times:

"Next Test: Value of $125,000-a-Year Teachers?"

A charter school in California is betting that teacher quality is more important than principal quality and small class size. Just FYI...

Peace Out said...

Excuce me,before you go ! Will you help us get one fire truck and a marching band,end the mandates on PL107-110,NCLB and wave a few banners that Public Education Is America ! The where and when details begin ! " Never throw the first punch,always throw the last !" After Rhee reform and teaching 14 years,try another school district for perspective before you walk out professionally.

Linda said...

Terminated Teacher:

I am happy for you that you are moving on without bitterness. With your attitude, surely there will be a silver lining.

However, it is important for you to fight your termination for the sake of other teachers. Please continue with due process. Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I as well would like to make a comment and be Anonymous. I am a former DCPS teacher, and was unfairly terminated. I was not on a 90 day plan, and was hired Oct. 30, 2008. I was also excessed, and received an excess letter on April 30, 2009. My former principal was providing me with dates of career fairs for excessed teachers. My problem with all of this is how could my former principal provide me that information when she knew I was going to be terminated?

In addition, I was working for a major school system for twenty years before coming to DCPS. In the twenty years that I was employed with the former school system, my evaluations were all satisfactory and I met competency ratings. I get a job with DCPS, and my former princiapl rates me terribly. When I asked my former principal for additional information as to the "whys" I
was rated so terribly the answer
I received was "It is my opinion, and I am not going to debate it." Look, bottom line is this....not all but many school administrators are using the "tools" of the trade inappropriately as well as sharing untruths of the employee(s). If
a principal for example does not like a teacher, let the person go on with his/her life but don't take steps to destroy the career that they have placed so much time and energy into so that he/she is ubable to proceed forward with life. I as well have tossed up my former principal to God, and have asked God to please help me move forward with life. I feel as if my joy, peace and livelihood have been taken from me. I am struggling financially, and have not been able to get another teaching job. If only Chancellor Rhee, and Mayor Fenty knew how this is having an affect on many of us who were terminiated. I often wonder if they would appreciate being treated in this way.