The one about too little, too late

My job as a correctional education teacher in a Super-max prison is fraught with danger and distrust and lies and minefields one isn’t even aware of existing.
It’s a tough room to play.

This year, there have been dismal financial reports, floating furlough days, a cut of 24% in our pay. More work to do because it never lets up and we aren’t here all the time anymore.

About six months ago (when we should have had this training), three teachers got their layoff notices. 120 day later, nothing happened. So where was the meat behind the notices? Maybe they were just a political ploy.

Then a couple weeks later we hear that education and vocations are being cut and cut hard. 2/3 of our staff will be gone. This means in my school out of 35 teachers, six or maybe seven will continue working.

So to say that we are scared and worried for others (while at the say time thinking–well, I guess I’ll have a better pick of parking spaces now) to worried and scared for myself (Oh, that Mongolian sailor! She ought to quit and hop into her sailboat and sail to India and become enlightened. That would open up a job.) and (How long is P going to hang on? How long is O going to stay?) if those three people left, maybe my job would be saved.

So this expensive motivational speaker drove up from Orange County (Disneyland) in his zippy little car and talked to us in his very dapper outfit. He was a surprise from the main office and not well received. There was a fair amount of venom flooding the room, along with a lot of venting and finger pointing.

Speaker boy couldn’t fix what we wanted fixed. He didn’t even know who we could talk to about our concerns. If they had served either margaritas or a lot of chocolate, he would be at least able to manage to get thru his four hour presentation.

It made me very proud to have my friends open themselves and share personal and frightening revelations about loss and layoffs and losing everything and losing a parent and the regrets we had about those incidents. It was a great workshop for those of us honest enough to know that our luck, our survivorship would bring with it some guilt.

For the young teachers, here less that 5 years and many less than that—they are still in the part of “They can’t be laying me off!” ‘To, “I gave four years to the department and this is what I get?” To “If they funking think I’m DOING anything for them for the next 100 days, they are crazy, My only goal is to stay her long enough to collect my check and look for work elsewhere.”

Except where I live, there is no elsewhere. There are no jobs available. Nothing. Lisi has been looking for two years and there is nothing. She’s going to go to school someplace else. Mills maybe. She can borrow the money, live and look around there for two years and then look someplace else.

My idea is that she go to Cuesta College and Cal Poly and live on the boat until she decides that this is going to work. (I’m just her mom. I know to the classroom how many teachers are out of work and how many students are jammed into one class.)

I think I have a good chance into nudging her into the SLO direction. We have both a house and a boat there right on the water. She has a place to both live and park her car…..the bay is very pricey to live and I’m not all that sure that there actually are an extra million jobs just waiting for the right person to show up.

But she needs to live somewhere. She needs to make some kind of plan. And if it doesn’t pan out, so what. In two years, she is going to be 24 ANYWAY. Fretting over it isn’t going to DO anything except squander her time. And she is so gregarious, she will make friends at work or at school. Her overhead is so low, she could get a job as a receptionist at HepKats and be perfectly happy.


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