I have a special headache. There is a certain part of my head that starts to hurt when I get overwhelmed by budget issues. It's damn near a migraine right now.
I've been right on the edge of our rif issues in the school district for two years. Last year I got so stressed out because I saw the impending threat of a rif coming at me like a freight train. I didn't know what to do if I was riffed because I was enrolled in grad school through the district. I ended up being temporarily being displaced, but I got to keep my job in the end.
According to my W-2's I've progressively made a little less money every year than I did when I got the amazing wages of a first year teacher. I have been threatened with a rif every one of the past three years, but hasn't actually happened to me yet.
This year I resolved to stave off worrying about it unless it actually happens. I can't do it, though. Things are bad. Things are worse than they've ever been, and we all know something serious is coming. Remember when I said I wish our superintendent would give a speech similar to that of the chief of police? For better or worse, he gave almost exactly that speech and it is going to run in several newspapers. At this point, I can no longer ignore the voice in my head saying, "brace yourself."
The thing is that this year I had it rough. I really did, and I know I've done a good job. I had a difficult job and I worked so hard to give these kids the best. I helped out with our school reading program. I worked nights and weekends. The kids have learned so much and I have been an excellent teammate. My team had problems before I came, but I am a team player and I've helped them. The thing is that none of that matters. In the end, it will come down to a number on a rif rubric. My glowing review from admin won't save me. Non-reader's parents who told me I'm the best teacher they've ever had can't help me. Bob's pictures of me as a superhero can't save me. It's a number.
My understanding of a wild card is that it started as a way to give teams who don't qualify by the book a shot. I know I am an asset to my school, and I wish I could apply for a wild card. I do.