Chicago Public Schools Just Laid Off More Than 1,000 Teachers. Here's What It's Like to Be One of Them
School boards and district leadership designed the layoff process to minimize their own responsibility.
I got my official layoff call at 8:28pm last Friday night.
I was one of more than 1,000 Chicago Public School District educators laid off this summer. It is the third time in six years I’ve been fired.
My principal left a cryptic message during the afternoon (I had been expecting the call since June). She tried her best:
“I’m sorry to have to make this call. They asked me to read a script, but I think that’s inhumane, so I’m just going to tell you.”
I immediately messaged those students (my former students? my forever students?) who had requested I inform them as soon as I knew. In the Chicago Public Schools, when inhumane decisions are inflicted on students and communities, there are a hundred protocols but there’s no plan in place to support the students who are the victims of those decisions.
As I’ve written before, the unelected school board and district leadership have designed the layoff process to minimize their own responsibility. Students (especially those of color) often end up blaming themselves or thinking their teachers chose to leave. I spent the evening talking to students online, receiving love and support from friends and internet acquaintances and sharing mutual support with my partner, Erin. All weekend, we did the mutual care work and, this being my third layoff, it felt almost horrifically normal. We went through the motions of surviving the indefensible.
I found myself doing some consoling of my friends and acquaintances. People asked how something like this could happen again to me. They were “shocked.” They “couldn’t believe my bad luck. Some asked what they could do to help.
Most tried to exceptionalize me, “Don’t worry you are a great teacher, you’ll find something better!” as if it would console me, as if seeing myself as more deserving would somehow protect me.
I want to be clear: Our friends were acting in love—in many ways it was salvation in a time of need—but it still felt wrong. I had to tell them that there were no Chicago Public Schools Just Laid Off More Than 1,000 Teachers. Here's What It's Like to Be One of Them | Alternet: