It’s all in the details

Going back to my home university has been a bit of a shock over the last few days. I finally figured a contributing reason: Last year I got used to an environment in which decisions didn’t seem to be made with a lot of careful thought. Administration and teachers (me included) just did the best we could and we didn’t sweat the small stuff. Lots of things and students fell through the cracks. So, the level of detail that goes into decisions made at our university seemed a bit overwhelming when I first stepped back on campus.

Example: Our school is small so one of our associate deans manually matches first-year students with faculty based on their personalities, interests and other things that they might have in common. This associate dean briefed me on some facts about my advisees and what kind of advising might need. A lovely thing to do, and completely worthwhile. But, this feels totally foreign to me right now given my experience over the past year. I immediately thought about a girl in my Geometry class who I discovered was enrolled in a second Geometry class by mistake. I discovered this about two months into the semester.

Student: “Oh Mister, I did this already in my other Geometry class.”


Another example: Today I talked with two other colleagues who are co-teaching a course. We talked about common themes between the different topics that we are planning on teaching and how to make more connections to bring these themes out. Awesome awesome awesome. I missed this kind of conversation. Made me sad that I never got to talk about such things at that level with my colleagues last year. And it’s not like that took a huge amount of time to have that conversation…

Overpayment !@#!$%! ????

I received this letter today in the mail from my school district:

“Dear xxxx,

Our records show that you have received an overpayment as a result of a change that was processed in June 2010. The total adjusted gross amount of your overpayment is $12,197.66. This letter is intended to advise you of your options in repaying the identified overpayment.”

This is ridiculous. I definitely have not been overpaid this amount.

Since September 2009, I received a total of $17,454.97 from the school district. There, now the entire world knows how much I made from my year of teaching high school (at a part timer’s rate, for someone with alternative credential).

Now the’re telling me I was overpaid by $12,197.66 and they want their money back?

That would mean that I would only have made $5,257.31 for the entire school year. Is that how much my effort was worth?

When I first read the letter, I was furious. After talking to a dear friend who went through something much worse with the district, now I find the whole thing so completely stupid and ridiculous.

My friend is right–I need to frame this letter.