Years of Service – Part Two
Once again the school year started up and once again I didn’t have a teaching position. I decided it would be a good idea to at least substitute teach to have myself “out there” in case a position would become open. I made index cards with my name and address and took it to each of the schools so I wouldn’t be just another name on the list.
I got two sub requests from College Park Intermediate School, where I had gone to school at during those years of my life. I substituted for Mrs. Reeves a couple of days and then for Mr. Johnson another two. It was on the last of that four day stint when I go a call from Clinton Sigmon, who at that time was principal at Grandview Intermediate School. He was the principal at College Park when I had been there as a student. He told me that he had a sixth grade position open and wanted to know if I would be interested in that job. I agreed and the very next day found myself at Grandview preparing for students that would be coming from overcrowded classes on the hall.
That sixth grade year was much smoother than my first year. I found the intermediate school schedule much more to my liking. You would have the students for about an hour and a half and then would get a whole new group. My responsibilities were teaching math and science, so I didn’t have to worry about language arts, reading, and social studies.
The end of my second year in teaching rang a familiar tone. A month before the end of school I received a certified stating that my contract was not being renewed. The only difference was, this time the principal said, “I think we still may have something for you.” A common sense approach would say that those extra sixth graders would still be in the school the next year and the seventh grade would still be short at least one teacher. So before we left for summer vacation, I had signed a contract for the next year. It seems that if there’s even a slight possibility that you may not be hired back, that dreaded letter has to be sent. It would have been so bad if they also hadn’t published our names in the paper without explanation.
The next year I was once again teaching seventh grade math and science and the schedule was very much to my liking. At the end of this year another teacher had decided to retire, so although I had to switch rooms I didn’t have to worry about being without a job.
During the next twenty years I taught math and science at Grandview. There was a five year stint where I was moved to the eighth grade, where I taught algebra. It was during that period of time that I got to teach my son Patrick. He was in algebra class and there was just the one and I was the teacher, so it couldn’t be avoided. There weren’t really any problems, although I will say with thirty-six students, that class was the largest I’ve ever taught.
I was back to the seventh grade and during that tenure also got to teacher my daughter Heather. This time around there were other math teachers she could have been with for her learning. I didn’t request that she be in my class either way. At that time I figured if she was supposed to be in my class she would and if not, so be it. There were some class adjustments after the first couple weeks of school and I do remember telling the principal that I didn’t want her moved out of my class. Once again, having a child of my own as a student didn’t pose a problem.
After twenty-two years at Grandview and one additional year at Southwest, I decided to leave the Hickory system. I had gone through a lot of other life changes in 2002 and came to the decision that perhaps I needed to get a fresh start at a place where I could begin anew.
I didn’t have any problems getting another position. As it turns out if a principal has a teacher with twenty-three years of experience, it saves them a lot of angst in knowing how the teacher will perform. The choices were narrowed down to River Bend, Jacobs Fork, and H.M. Arndt. It was indeed a difficult decision to make, but he Arndt job afforded me a unique situation and that’s where I decided to make my move.
To be continued…