Monday, July 16, 2012

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Hi,  my name is Michelle Arrose.  I hope that you follow me along on my journey as I try to take the steps to make it as a published author.  I am currently an educator.  I love being creative and writing my thoughts and ideas onto paper.  However, I do enjoy writing fiction.  The book that I wrote which I am trying to get published is titled, "Ignition."  It is mainly about a first year school teacher who was given an opportunity to teach in a middle school.  Unknowingly, she was assigned to teach one of the worst classes in the school.   Instead of administration backing her up, she is found to be looked upon as an awful educator with no classroom management.  However, one of her students who happens to be a troubled young man becomes part of her obsession as she starts to fear for her life. The reason I wrote this novella is because one year I was assigned an inclusion class in a middle school.  For those of you who do not know, inclusion means that there are two teachers assigned to a classroom.  One teacher is a special educator and the other is the generalist.  Together, they collaborate and come up with ideas on how to meet the needs of all of the students.  In this type of setting, no one should be able to tell which students are the ones with special needs that have an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) from the rest of the class.  That year, they took out my co-teacher and all of my students were off the wall.  They would curse at me, scream out loud,, stand on desks.  I was left for most of  the entire year without a co-teacher.  They hired a sub who basically after three days, lost his mind and threw a chair against the chalk board.  He started banging on the chalk board and quit the very next day.  Another lady that was hired as a sub was as good as the students and stood on top of the desk, preaching to them about JESUS and how they better shape up if they one day want to enter the pearly gates of heaven.  The substitute teacher, (SUB) was accused by one of my students that she pushed her.  The student reported it directly to me.  This particular student was a huge trouble maker and was filled with lies.   I did not believe her.  However, since she reported it to me, I know that you have to cover your "tush" in this field and I needed to report the information to my assistant principal, (AP).  If I didn't and the girl reported it to administration, my job would be on the line.  This student also had a nasty mother who would definitely make trouble for me because when I called her mom to let her know what her daughter was up to, she told me that her daughter would never do that.  (Her daughter was an angel from heaven, according to momma).  When I reported the information to my AP, she told me to call the sub from home and let her know that her services were no longer needed.  I felt I was put in such an awkward situation.  I  could not believe I had to fire her.  I told my AP that I felt uncomfortable doing this.  She looked at me and said that I had to.  I then told my AP that I would tell her that another sub that had worked with me in the past was coming back to work full time.  The AP said that she was fine with whatever I wanted to say as long it was done. (Wasn't that kind?)  To this day, I don't know how but I made it through the year.  That was also my tenure year.  My AP was quite spiteful and on my observation, she gave me an S- which is not a true legal score.  A teacher can get an S for a satisfactory lesson, an E for excellence (which no one usually gets) or a U for an unsatisfactory lesson.  At the end of the year, she told me that I needed to step it up.  I could not believe my ears, after the torture of not  having a co-teacher, dealing with students that were emotionally disturbed, being ridiculed by them all year long and this is what I was told. 

I am happy to say that the following year, I was given a different class and there after.   My students were more cognitively low functioning.  They were sweet adorable kids and just needed some TLC.  That AP was as sweet as sugar to me when she saw that I did such a wonderful job the following year.  I am also happy to say that I am no longer at that school and transferred to another school this past year. 

As an educator, I hear many stories from other teachers.  One teacher commented recently to me that one troubled boy in the building threatened to tear off her pantyhose and hurt her.  Other teachers I know were told they would be killed.  Another teacher came out with bruises on their arm.  This is acceptable in education as teachers are not truly protected and no one wants to and wage war against administration as they are fearful for their own jobs.  It hurts me to hear about Kathryn Camille Murray, the teacher from Texas who was accused of sexually assaulting a student, as well as sleeping with a 15 year old in particular.  Some one like that ruins it for us hard working educators.  It saddens me to see that the media always seems to look for the negativity in teachers and follow many stories similar to Kathryn's.  There are many respectable teachers, paraprofessionals, and others that work in this field that care about their students.  There are some situations where they fear for their lives (like my character, Karen Woolsworth, in my manuscript).  When they open their mouths to complain, they are seen as the worst teachers.  I have seen many cases where teachers have to face the emotional abuse everyday from their students and the administrator's abuse as well.  There have been some cases that teachers are accused of sexually assaulting students.  In this particular case, this was further from the truth.  The man accused was in his late 60's and could hardly walk.  However, he was told to leave while his case was reviewed.  The girls that accused him were not happy with their grade.  Someone very close to me worked this year in a school where there was absolutely no management in the building.  Kids ran the asylum.  They did not like this teacher because he wanted them to work.  These kids did not feel that education was necessary and would rather curse and play.  They accused him of pushing them which was further from the truth.  Four other teachers were accused of the same act before he arrived.  He felt it would be better to resign rather than to fight city hall and is working at another school, more at ease.  Teachers today face many injustices.  People tend to focus that they have the summers off so therefore, it is a great job.   However those two months they have off are well deserved.  A wise person once said, "In this field, a teacher is always found guilty before being proven innocent."  I follow these words carefully.  Bless the teachers of the world.

In terms of my book, today most people have to self-publish.  However, that could be very expensive.  Honestly I could not afford that right now with my mortgage and other expenses.  I hope to find an advocate for teachers.  Besides my manuscript being a novel, I truly see it as a screen play.   There are many movies out there that focus on educators entering a tough school with tough kids and they are miraculously able to change them.  It could happen, but most of the time, it is unlikely that it does happen.   I thought of a few advocates, but no luck yet.   I thought Ellen Degeneres would be great as I believe she is very kind hearted and has a tremendous respect for teachers of the world.  Another possibility would be  Tony Danza because he experienced first hand what it can be like to be a teacher through his reality TV show.  Unfortunately, it looks like Tony fell off the face of the earth.  Come on Tony, wake up, I need your help.  People have told me that Robert de Niro is a strong advocate.  I apologize Robert, I don't know much about you but would love your assistance.  Last but not least, I would very much like the assistance of Ashley Judd.  The reason why I say that is because she has a strong voice and is an excellent orator.  I heard that she is a member of the NEA (National Education Association).  When she believes in something, she makes it known to the world.  I commend that.  She also is a published author.   So, Ellen, Tony, Robert, or Ashley, I could use your expertise and assistance.  You never know, Ignition could be up for an Oscar one day.

In terms of myself, I tend to be more on the quiet side.  However, I definitely think I need to change that about myself.   That is why I am trying to write to you today so that you are aware of what teachers face and how they need a voice too.  I do apologize if I seem too pushy but I do have to go after this project as I strongly believe in it and hope you do too.  Please stay tuned so you can follow my steps in order to make my book become a published work.  Also, I will include chapter one from my book in another blog.  Thank you so much for reading this.

1 comment:

  1. It gives me a sense of relief to know that you are giving us educators a voice. I can definitely relate to the hardships that you have described so far. Out of curiosity, do you also plan on writing about the additional work that we have to face, which takes away from our teachng time (bulletin boards, extra paperwork, etc.)? Good luck and I am here for you 100%!