I blog today with sadness, anger, resentment and disbelief. I know that budget cuts make schools and school boards make decisions that bring out a variety of emotions in teachers, students and parents. Unpopular decisions. But probably decisions that made sense to those making the decision at the time.
But this time... the decision impacts me profoundly and I am angry, I am sad, I am in denial. Our middle school is closing. We are being sucked into oblivion. Sixth grade will go to elementary and be self-contained. The good news is, the two teachers going with them are both awesome, caring, giving souls who will make this switch work for kids.
The seventh and eighth graders are being sucked over to the high school. The promise is that there will be as little mingling as possible between high schoolers and middle schoolers, but in reality, the day to day, class to class reality will be a jumble of people.
The theory is we can save $30,000 by closing off the middle school which is housed on the second floor, above the middle school. The theory is that we will just be absorbed into high school life, not causing additional costs over there. The reality is, parents and students are angry and some will pull their children to go elsewhere. If just 4 students are lost, the saving are pppffftttt... GONE. Just 4....
The high school rooms are small. They are dusty. They don't have storage space. We'll be getting the leftovers, the rooms that are now crammed with stuff, shoved there when it outlived its usefulness elsewhere.
The days of spreading out kids into groups to work on projects will be over. The days of hanging projects in the halls and on classroom walls for display will be over. The days of middle school kid getting another few years to be middle schoolers will be over. Suddenly, they will become little high schoolers, hearing the words tossed carelessly aside by high schoolers, the swear words, the sexual comments... The middle schoolers will be exposed to the public displays of affection exhibited by our high schoolers, blatant and flaunted. The middle schoolers will grow up quickly, sucked into the high school world. Our middle school girls will become prey for high school boys.
I am angry that budgets make us forget what is best for kids. I am angry that I have to pack my things, sort, get rid of, downsize years of teaching supplies, resources, stuff.... to fit into a classroom much smaller with no storage space. I am angry we are expected to do all this with a smile and a suck-it-up attitude. It always seems as if the middle school gets the short end of the stick here. It has been that way the entire 17 years I've been here. We were the ones to lose a principal, our counselor, our everything. We have to take whatever leftover hours are available in the schedule.
And now..... we've lost our building.... we're done. We are no longer middle school. We don't exist.