Monday, April 04, 2011

Irony Rich

About an hour ago, my telephone rang.  By the caller ID, I knew it was the board secretary from the school I sub at the most.  And I let it ring three, four, five times, before I put out my hand to pick it up and answer it.  And when I did, I saw that my hand was shaking.

I do not want to substitute teach at that school.  Sometimes, I wonder if I want to substitute or teach anywhere at all.  But let's stick to that school.  It's gotten so there's only four of us who'll come and sub there.  Everyone else has told them not to call any more.  But do we get any respect from the administration?  No.  The principal thinks it's perfectly all right for the board secretary to call us in for one class, then switch us to another.  We're the ones who get yelled at when the regular teachers leave inaccurate or conflicting schedules or lesson plans.  The principal persists in spelling my name wrong on the office assignment board, even though the school secretary has tried to correct her on it.  Their  attempts at discipline are useless.  You can't send a disruptive child out of the class unless she or he is physically violent.  The detentions we give seem to have no effect.  The kids are trained to the utmost pitch to recognize when they're being 'bullied,' but never seem to notice when they're bullying somebody else. 

The kids, especially the younger ones, can be well-meaning and sweet.  They're at a disadvantage, really, when it comes to focussing and working quietly.  The school's a partial open-plan, and even if your class is fairly silent, you still get noise from all sides.  And other teachers' students walking through the back of your classroom, to get to theirs.  Stressful and distracting for everyone involved.  And the stress is mounting up for me.

Between my regular expenses and the credit card bills and the medical copays, I am appallingly broke.  Even if I were to work seven days a week, subbing and front-desking and preaching, I still couldn't cover all my expenses.  But still I felt a wonderful peace this morning when 6:45, 7:00, 7:15 went by with no call to come in and teach, especially from that one school.  Am I lazy-- or do I show signs of truly being sane?

But the irony.  Yes.  That comes with what was told me nearly three years ago by my executive presbyter, when he said my Committee on Ministry unilaterally decided to bar me from looking for a new solo pastorate, because I was "too traumatized" by what went on in my last full time call.  And that they'd be more likely to recommend me for the kind of ministry posts they will allow me if I'd get some secular work, even if it was just clerking in a department store.  Hey! I'd like to say to him now, I'm doing that.  I've been sub teaching for almost two years now, and don't get any help out of you or COM at all.  And now, if my trembling hands are anything to go by, I am traumatized.  So what has been the point of keeping me from fulfilling my call?

But never mind that.  Yeah, I told the board secretary I'd come in tomorrow.  It's not like I can afford not to.  And I have to go in two more times this week as well.  But this can't go on.  I have to think of something else, because it can't go on.