Potential Change and My Thoughts

My job is in jeopardy. I’ve known this since November.

The county is facing budget cuts. 20 professional personnel need to be cut, and about that many service personnel as well. There will be plenty of transfers and RIFs this year. Unlike in the past though, the chances of being rehired after a RIF will be minimal, if one gets hired back at all. We’ve all heard the reasons from the superintendent about why the cuts must occur. Enrollment across the county is declining. There are more homeschooled
students, and quite a few students who have crossed borders into other counties and even states to attend school. Our county is not the worst off when it comes to having to make cuts, but cuts of this magnitude are going to have an impact on morale. Already my middle school has lost a staff member. He was in his first year, knew he would likely be cut. He was also making a long commute…and that’s when he didn’t stay overnight at the school. So he cut his losses and got a job back home teaching instead.

Most of my followers know my job is the technology integration specialist (TIS). I work between an elementary and middle school during the week. It’s my job to help teachers integrate technology into their lessons. I bounce ideas, find resources, co-teach, and more. I teach students how to use the technology they’ve been given. I voluntarily teach computer classes at the elementary school. I love my job. It’s where I feel that I belong, and where I feel that I make the biggest impact on the student population. I also run a few clubs- a coding club at the middle school, a coding club at the elementary school, a Jr. FIRST Lego League team, and a sport stacking club at another elementary school. I am often busy. I love what I do. It’s where I feel that I need to be.

And yet, come next week (or so they’ve told us), I may find that my position is cut. I was the last TIS hired so I would be the first one RIF’d. They could transfer a TIS into my position, or just not fill it. My job is not federally funded, so it can easily be one of the first to go. I am in my 7th year in this county, and so what they would most likely do if I lost my job is to transfer me back into a classroom position.

“You’ve got enough experience, right? You’ll be able to still have a job! They’ll just put you back in the classroom!”

I hear the above statement more often than I’d like. It frustrates me a bit, and my reply gets a bit passionate. I’ve also been told that last bit as well. Let me explain my thoughts.

I don’t want to be back in the classroom. I don’t watch the stress and pressure, and the job that meant often working beyond the school day just to be somewhat on top of things. I wasn’t completely happy with it after a time. I wanted to do something else. I got my masters degree in integrating technology and then my TIS certification because I wanted to do something different in the education field. I love technology, always have. In college
there was even a point in my first year that I thought about switching to computer science, but didn’t. I attributed that thought to homesickness at the time, but part of me does wonder what that would have led to…

Anyway, back to the original point. I want to work with technology and teachers, as well as students. I feel like I have a chance to make a wide impact in my current job, and I know I do. I get to work with so many types of students and teachers. I get pushed to my limits coming up with ideas to suit a variety of types of teachers. I am constantly required to rethink my ideas when something doesn’t quite pan out the way it seemed like it would in
my head. Try, and if I fail, reflect and try again. I love working with a huge range of students too. From preschool to 8th grade, I have to constantly change my way of teaching. It’s interesting to think about, and tough to do sometimes. Because I am not tied to one school or one classroom with all the responsibilities, I can offer more things for students outside of the usual school curriculum. I have more time for something like that. I have my clubs. I love my clubs, though I’m ending one of them at the end of the year, possibly two. My coding clubs will stay though. That is, as long as I have a job for next year as a TIS. If I don’t, they’ll all have to end, and that would break my heart.

So what will I do if I lose my job, and find myself transferred back into the classroom?

I plan to leave the district. I plan to cross the state border and go find work in Virginia in a similar technology position. I don’t care where yet at this point. I would like to be somewhat close to my girlfriend though. I have looked at what different technology jobs seem to be in that state, and so my next step if I lose my job would be to look into transferring my license to the state and start seeing what potential jobs I can find. It will be a long road if this all occurs… I’d have to move and everything. But if my path is meant to change, then surely there’s somewhere out there that truly needs me.

If nothing changes, then I will keep my job and stay here for at least one more year. It’s all up in the air though. I can’t predict the future or what will happen. All I know is that my path will lead me where I need to be.

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