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awaiting the "axe"


Senior Member
Hi, everyone. I am a K-6 teacher, and I post at proteacher often. I have recently gotten the "heads up" from a friend, the DAY she lost her teaching job, that someone just walked in and handed her a pink slip, and told her THAT DAY would be her last. She asked what she did wrong, and was told, "you did nothing wrong...you are being laid off, due to workforce reductions."
Well, over the weekend, I was reading an onlin forum, and learned, from a newspaper article, that what my friend was saying, was true. On Monday, everyone in all of the schools learned that the newest hired, would be the first ones "let go", if monies weren't increased in the local tax base, and federal dollars. you see, I live in an area that was messed up by Katrina, and of course, after that, many families moved away, and those parents who did relocate here, are only here temporarily until they can go back to their own parish, and now, even some of them are leaving. We lost a lot of students throughout the parish, and a letter has NOT ONLY been sent to every person in the school systems, but later this week, was also sent home with every student in the school system. We no longer have subs, and those subs who were in long-term sub positions are being weeded out, and some have already been let go...and if the teacher who is out, does not return to fill their spot again, they may be let go as well..some already have been.
Here's what gripes me...I have one year of senority in this parish. My husband has already lost his job,(in Sept., when we returned home from being evacuated from Katrina), and now, I may lose mine as well.
We don't own our own home, so if I lose my job, we'll have to move away, and live with his parents, until we can both get jobs again. I have NEVER been unemployed before...what's it really like?

I've worked since I was 15 years old, and this comes as a tremendous shock that cuts would be made in teaching, this severe, and although in the letter that went out, they claim they are trying to keep everyone until the end of the first semester, I know that cuts have already started being made in employees...for a fact, because I know 3 people who have been cut.

So, I find myself, biding my time, until I, too, get the swift kick in the pants...

Oh, and here's another thing that makes me see red...many of these teachers and employees lost their homes due to flooding, and wind damage, and trees through their roofs...they lost boats, cars, and some of their spouses lost jobs, and now they may lose theirs as well...it just doesn't seem fair...
Now, instead of looking forward to my job everyday, I have knots in my stomach, and don't eat all day, fearing, that I'll be next, and might just puke on the person who hands me the pink slip...and nope...I'm not joking, so instead, I don't eat, and I just fear for the worst, and hope for the best. Also...what's more...some of my teacher friends have said that they have started drinking, afterhours, because of all the stress of their homes being gone, and now their jobs might be as well...at least I haven't gotten to that point yet, but to be honest, I'd rather be cut now, than them waiting until right before Christmas to do it, if I have to lose my job.

Teach 5

Senior Member

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I wish I could offer you a solution. You have had a tough couple of years and it is NOT fair. If it is beginning to effect your physical health, maybe you should just quit. Go & be with your husband & daughter. I know you miss them.
Here in Ohio, elementary music teachers are always in demand. Maybe you can find another job quickly.
Is your principal someone you can talk to about this? I know you don't want to break your contract but if things are that tough for the district, they might release you from it.
I'll be thinking about you. Let us all know what happens, we care about you.

Miss C

Senior Member
So sorry!

Oh, Reb! My heart is breaking for you! I've wondered how the educational system was being impacted by the hurricane, and my heart really does go out to those of you who are living in the midst of it. Often when a tragedy strikes, we remember to think of and pray for the victims right afterwards, but we forget that the tragedy goes on and on for a very long time. I really have no advice to offer. I can only say that you and your colleagues will be in the thoughts and prayers of my colleauges and me. Please let us know how things turn out for you!


Senior Member
Dear REB,

You must be an awfully strong lady because God doesn't give us any more than we can handle. And honey, he's been givin' you a lot lately! Hang in there; we're thinking good thoughts for you.


Senior Member
Thanks, y'all....

Hi, again. I have come up with an extra part to "plan B", and that includes squirreling back money from each paycheck, just in case, ya know? Especially now that the hint has been put out there, and the hint came off pretty strong...I want to be as prepared as I can be. I guess the only other thing that would be as good, is if I could get settled with the insurance company,from my accident, by the time I lose this job, then I would most likely be set, until I can find something else. So, there are lots of things in the works, if it doesn't work out here. At least I DO have a "plan B" to fall back on...I am still certified in another state, until 2009, to teach music, should I lose this job, and I'll file for unemployment, until I can land a job in the other state. And, I guess plan "C" would be to get walking, before I get the axe, so I can push for the insurance settlement that I need to pay all my medical bills, and pay off all my credit cards with some of the money after that, and live off the rest, until I can get a new job.
I had been thinking about this situation since Katrina hit, and always knew it might be a possibility, but when my friend lost her job a week ago Thursday, it made it more of a reality. Since then, I've really been pushing to get walking....now it's not a "want to"....it's a "need to".

My birthday is coming up this week, and I had the strangest thing happen yesterday...I was in the mall, in a store, and my husband wanted to buy me either a dress suit, or a pants suit for my birthday, and as I was sitting down waiting, while he was checking out...I saw one of my two best friends...I had not seen her in OVER A YEAR!!! I had been e-mailing her, though, since my accident happened, at another friend's house...(she knew the other friend, and wasn't at all happy with her about what happened to me...she wanted to fight her for me...lol.) (Redneck women...lol.) :)

Anyway, I saw her, and of course, I yelled her name across the store...and she was looking around like she might need to run any minute...(it was really funny). Then, she said, "Oh....it's just you", and she ran over to hug me...it was really funny, because people were staring...lol.

She is coming over next weekend, so we can hang out, and I think that will be pretty cool.

I just wanted to thank everyone for your prayers, and encouragement..."this too shall pass"....and that's my motto of the year...lol



Senior Member
We sure are all rooting for you.

I'm thinking you don't really need us to cheer you up - you have enough positive spirit for everybody on this board. You write one letter telling about how your life is being devastated in so many ways and a few posts later, you're back to your old self with plan b and c, etc. I don't see anybody getting you down - One way or another you'll find your way back to the top of your game. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers


"RIF Notices"

Hi Reb!
My heart goes out to all of you as well. One thing on top of another and then to see friends being RIFed (Reduction in Force) is so discouraging, as well as down right scary!

I have been a teacher for quite some time. At the beginning of my career, I had some awful luck. I hope this gives you even more faith in your situation.

The year I found myself in a downsizing situation was the same year my husband left us (my daughter was nine months old). I started really power-searching for a job where I wanted she and I to eventually live.

When I finally made it into the corporation I had always wanted to be in, I thought I had it made. I was hired for a sick leave and felt certain that another position would open up the next year when the teacher who was ill returned to her classroom. (The teacher had cancer and eventually passed away, but before she did she came to me and said, "At least my death will mean something. God will be allowing me to take care of you and your daughter." We both sat there and cried!)

Anyway, after she passed away, I was pink slipped. (I am so thankful she never knew. She died believing she had solved all of my financial fears.) I was not sure what I should do........Yes, I paniced and was upset like you.

I did not quit..........Please do not do that. You cannot collect unemployment if you do. It is not much, but we got by on it. The next fall I was recalled (there is always hope). I was asked to take a halfday kindergarten..........needed more money, so I taught part time at a preschool and I tutored.

That spring, I was handed my second pink slip! That year I sat down outside my classroom (they gave it to me during class) and cried at the realization I had no job again!

This back and forth of being RIFed and being recalled went on for six years straight!

My prayer line to God was continuous! I was a single parent and had to have a job. Each time I was RIFed I collected unemployment while I hit the pavement looking for a job. Each fall God had one waiting for me. The last year I was so totally worn out (you would think I would have just had faith to know God was taking care of us).........that I knelt down and prayed for my job to be secure. The superintendent called me and offered me a job that day! He said he had never had to pink slip anyone that many times in a row and if I was willing to teach Physical Education, I had the job. I took in.........I did not know what I was going to do, but I knew I could do anything they wanted me to do to work! I immediately fell to my knees again and thanked God for this job and I heard His voice.........He said "I told you to trust Me, my child."

(And to all of you special subjects teachers...........such as you, Reb with music........I applaud you! Every classroom teacher should have to teach a special subject for a while. There would be a new respect for you! In college I was a voice/art major with a theater background before I added elem ed, so I never thought of specials as "my break." I knew first-hand what went into doing what you do!) I did survive not only one year in the gym, but two! WHEW!

I now have taught in this same corporation since 1989. I became president of our teachers association a few years back and went through a major lay off (of 13 teachers, including all of the elementary building's special subjects). I know God placed me in that position because I could hold each teacher's hand as they were being pink slipped and honestly tell them I knew how they felt and that it would be alright.

All of our teachers except the ones who moved on to another school corporation were eventually recalled by the new superintendent. I pray the same for all of you!

My advice, for what it is worth:
Keep praying for guidance. Put feelers out there for other job openings, expecially since you are in an area for a limited number of job openings in corporations. Do save money and think of ways to put back, just as you said you are. Go to your teachers' association and ask questions about your RIFing regulations there. There are time-lines and rules the school must follow to lay off teachers. Check your master contract and go over it with a teacher who knows how it works. If they are going to RIF you, just make sure it is done correctly.
Once again, I say.......do not quit. You never know what is going to happen between now and Christmas. If it is to be and it happens, I feel you will handle it with grace. Do not give them any ideas that you are "expecting it, so bring it on." You know it is a possibility, so just let it stay there. Don't force something to happen that might not otherwise happen.
Just start looking at options. I do not know where your husband and child are (I think you said they are away from you now). Talk to him and see if moving is in your plans......if so, start there.

Keep looking at that things that are important"
YOU and YOUR FAMILY (stay healthy for them! You will do no one any good if you do not eat and become ill). You must eat. Eat small meals and more often. That is an old trick with anorexia patience and it will work for you as well.
YOUR STUDENTS (they look up to you as their role model. You all have been through so much there already.........appear postive for them too.)

I hope my ramblings have helped somehow. Our church has continued to pray for everyone effected by Katrina and the like. I will add you and your family (and your friends) on our prayer chain! Great things happen when my church starts praying. Please let me know what happens.


Senior Member
Thanks, Darci, I needed that.

Hi, Darci. Thanks. I needed to hear that today. I am the insanely happy person in both schools I teach at, and of course, some of the "mully-grubbers" hate that, and others seem to think I might be high on something other than life. (only life...that's it.)
As for the students, they really seem excited about what they're learning, and I can honestly say, that since I told everyone the other day, about what is going on, I haven't been in fear everyday. I truely believe it helps to know that it's o.k. to vent, but if you vent, and keep a "nail biting" wait and worry approach, then the kids know you're stressed out, and some of them get stressed, and then nothing gets accomplished and everyone feels uneasy, but after posting here, I just said, "God...it's not up to me, it's in your hands, and if tomorrow's the day, then please grant me the patience to get through it positively."

And, since I prayed that prayer the other morning, I haven't felt knots, and I haven't been afraid, because I know this is much bigger than me, and today I got one of the most inspiring moments. It was my birthday, and I didn't tell a lot of people, because I didn't want anyone making a big deal about it at school. But, one of the teachers had remembered, from a conversation I had earlier in the week, and two classes wrote me birthday cards, and some of the students from one of the classes stopped by, during a 5/6 grade class, to hand deliver the cards. They were the SWEETEST cards. I started to read the first one, and I was about to burst into tears, so I decided to wait and read the rest, during my next few minutes between classes....so I did. And, I cried. Every card was from the heart, and you can always tell the students who just write something because someone else did, from a student that genuinely means what they say...and I knew that every kid meant what they said in their cards, and I enjoyed their art work on each card as well. And, every card, out of about 25, had the words that every teacher loves to know..."I love you, Mrs. ___" And, most of them said, "You're the best music teacher ever." And, a few of them wrote things like,"I'm glad you're my music teacher." And, I think a few of them may be writers when they're older, because they wrote me a whole page, on my birthday card, which I read word for word, and loved every minute of. Little do they know, I always keep things that kids give me, and have been since I started teaching. (P.S. the cards all came from 4th grade boys and girls.)

And, yes, it was a good birthday...not because I was dreading the pink slip, but because I was enjoying the opportunity to spend it with my students.