Back on February 9th, I was escorted by the principal out of my building. At the doors, without really looking at me, he said, "Someone from the district will contact you when a decision has been reached." On February 22nd, the superintendent read a press release at the school board meeting that not only stated untruths (the bit about my so-called attacks on special needs students; see "Below the Belt Tactics" post) and indicated that a formal decision would be reached while I was out on maternity leave, but also that, by my own actions, I had made it impossible to teach in the district. (Read the entire press release)
Apparently, they've had a change of heart.
However, I was not contacted by district regarding my status. I had to contact them.
First, I had to call the district number 5 times. The first time, when I opted for 0 to talk to an operator, the phone rang and rang. I tried again with the same results. On the third call, I tried to dial by name. Apparently the Director of Human Resources must get a lot of annoying calls, so he's not even in the directory. On the fourth call, I tried accessing him through the department listings. Only, when I chose Human Resources, I had to listen to a long message instructing job candidates on how to access information on the Internet; there was ultimately no option to talk to this man or another human. Finally, I tried the operator route again and got a human. She connected me to Herr Director's secretary, but I only got that woman's voicemail.
Second, though I'd gone to all of that trouble and left a message before noon, I didn't get a return call until this morning around 11:15. (I suspect, perhaps, that the fact that there was a board meeting last night may have had something to do with the delay, though there's no way to be sure.)
Third, the call was ridiculous.
It went something like this:
HR: I'm returning your call.
ME: I called yesterday to find out about my job status because I was told that someone from the district would contact me when a decision had been reached, but I still haven't heard anything.
HR: You haven't heard from the district?
ME: Not about my job status.
HR: I was under the impression that you'd received several pieces of mail from your school but hadn't responded to them.
ME: I received a tentative schedule--which could mean nothing other than you being sure you've kept your ducks in a row in case you brought me back--and I received an evaluation that also means nothing regarding my job status. Was I to be a mind-reader and assume that these items meant that I have a job to come back to, after I was told I'd be contacted about the results of the suspension decision?
HR: Those are indicative that you have a position to return to. As far as I'm concerned, you've been out on maternity leave.
ME: Let's not pretend that my leaving was a normal occurrence. I've been on maternity leave before, and there was no question that I'd be back after that.
HR: Well, you're on maternity leave now.
ME: The fact that you're acting now as though my confusion over my job status is silly--when my inquiry is after my union attorney attempted to find out my status and was informed that only I could find out--, and when we both know that this was not a simple case from the onset, is just preposterous. If you take the maternity leave out of the equation, any person who had been suspended would need to be informed of whether they were no longer suspended, and you know it.
HR: Well, you do have a job. Hopefully this clears things up. If you have further questions you can contact your principal. Do you have any further questions for me?
ME: Yeah. Can I get a transfer to another building?
HR: At this late stage? I don't think so. You'll be in the same place.
And there you have it.
All innocence. How silly of me not to have realized that these documents meant something definitive and were not just a means of making sure that the district would be covered if they had to have me back. How foolish of me not to have connected the dots. Only, had they determined that they were firing me, and I'd just shown up to set up my classroom thinking that these 2 innocuous documents meant that I was no longer suspended, they would have said, "Wait. What are you doing here? That schedule was tentative. We said you'd get notified when a decision was made! We didn't change your status-- you're still suspended!"
In my mind--and, I'm pretty sure, most any reasonable person's--if one is suspended, at the end of that suspension--whether it ends with a termination or a reinstatement--one should receive a formal letter saying something like:
Dear Suspended Person:
This letter is to inform you that your suspension is over. You are expected to report back to work on X date. Please contact X person to complete X paperwork.
But I received no such letter, and was instead made to call to find out my job status, and then made to feel as though I was some sort of dolt for not being a mind reader. For whatever reason, it feels like the games are continuing; I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at this juncture.
In any case, according to the tentative schedule, I'll be back at the same building, teaching almost entirely the same classes I taught before (except for one new elective addition).
On the bright side, I've really missed Macbeth.