Thanks to those of you who have been checking back and expressing interest in the outcome of the situation with Co-Author. And the news is ... there is no news. We're all waiting around for Co-Author to give us the new version of her chapter. The Librarian nudged her on Wednesday, I nudged her gently on Friday, and yet no new version has been forthcoming yet. Everyone has agreed that all must be resolved by the time classes end, on May 31, but I'm increasingly thinking that we're going to run up right against that deadline.
I think what's going on is that, for all of her apparent deflecting of all criticism and her condescending to us as rank amateurs compared to her "professional writer" status, she actually realized that something serious had to happen. So my hunch is that her "playing around" with the chapter has actually become a serious revision. And in a way that means the whole system is working, of course, ... except that everything would be much more clear-cut if her chapter remains badly written. And at this point, what I'm now expecting is that her chapter will still not be well-researched or as well-written as mine, but that the difference won't be nearly as glaring as it was, and so it will appear as though the best and easiest thing to do is to keep us on as co-authors, with the quiet expectation that Librarian and I will whip the whole thing into shape in the end.
Or at least this is what I'm preparing myself for, so that I'll be able to smile with apparent (even if not actual) good will and say, "super!"
I had told Librarian last week that I might take myself off of the project if Co-Author stayed on. I'll have to decide if I really want to follow through on that threat, but there seems no point in going down that road until we get the new chapter. So for right now we're in a holding pattern.
Onto happier news: D., who has been re-framing herself as an independent school teacher, has had all of the expected emotional ups and downs of applying for a lot of jobs and having those applications not go anywhere. But in the meantime, she has also this spring studied and then passed the state tests to teach middle and upper school history and English, so she is now a certified teacher in our state. She also worked with her recommenders to help them craft letters of rec for her that stress all of her great independent school teaching qualities; this was a major project with two of her recommenders, but in the end she finally got the appropriate letters that she needed. At the same time, I've pulled the only strings I have -- first, to get her the subbing gig at FGS, which has been great and has led to a glowing letter of rec from my Dept Chair; and then to get her an interview at the independent school summer program I've taught in for the last five years. That interview apparently got off to a difficult start, since the program director was skeptical given D's lack of formal teaching experience with kids and was clearly only interviewing her as a favor to me, but she clearly rocked it in the end, and as of three weeks ago she is employed for six weeks for this summer! And the program she's going to be in end will be enormously helpful in her job search, even though it's not at all the course she would have chosen to teach -- she'll be teaching English in two three-week sessions in a program designed for rising sixth-graders to help them develop the social and emotional as well as academic skills needed for middle school. She would really prefer to teach older students, but this course will be an amazing resume-builder, especially since what I think she has really needed to prove is that she can teach young students.
And lo and behold, this combination of new supportive evidence -- i.e., her upcoming summer gig and her now being certified (which isn't a requirement for independent schools but does make her academic qualifications clear) and her finally having three really strong letters of reference that she includes with her applications -- have resulted in two on-campus interviews and teaching demonstrations this coming week! One is at a Quaker girls' school and the other is at a new, experimental school; both would be amazing, but my hunch is that she'd like the latter school better, at least based on the sense of the schools I get from the website. But the great thing about having these two interviews is that it means neither interview has everything riding on it, which will help her relax.
We're also trying to be very clear that if she doesn't get hired anywhere by June, there is another hiring season in mid-August as schools scramble to cover last-minute openings; those schools tend to be more desperate and thus more amenable to folks with different backgrounds, plus she'll also by then have a letter of recommendation from the summer proram director. So I'm beginning to feel more optimistic that she will actually be employed next fall. Fingers crossed this week!
My post title comes from The Wiz, the school musical that I went to last night. My brother and I grew up singing "Ease on Down the Road," and in fact we're known to sing it vigorously to this very day when we get together at holidays, much to the amusement of my nieces, but I wasn't familiar with the rest of the musical at all.
Turns out I don't like it. Ah well. I also don't like student theatricals in general, so it was not a great evening, but these things must be done.
At the intermission, a couple of colleagues and I escaped out into the cool night air, since it was really warm in the auditorium. And this is when we discovered a junior, one of my current students, languishing on the outside stoop, clearly in ill health. Her mother and her friends were with her, but as employees of the school we felt it incumbant upon us to go over and see if we could help, summon more official help, etc. I asked if she wanted us to call an ambulance or the school switchboard, but her mom said that she was simply dehydrated and that the heat in the auditorium had overcome her; we then offered to stay with the girl while her mom went off to get their car and that we would then walk her to the car so that she could go home. So her mom went off and I sat down with the kid, who was still surrounded by her friends, who were all relaxing now that adults were clearly in charge. And it was sitting there that I began to wonder whether there was more going on than simply dehydration, because would dehydration make one lose feeling in one's hands? That seems weird to me. Also, someone had given her a bottle of water, but she was having trouble coordinating the tipping her head back and drinking from the bottle, and then she'd giggle softly about it. But she didn't seem drunk, and I didn't smell any alcohol. Her mom showed up in due course, and one of her friends and I walked the student to her mom's car, and I assume that all was well when she got home and went to bed.
But afterward my colleagues and I were chatting, and one argued strenuously that this had been more than a simple case of dehydration and pointed out to me that there is more than one way to have an altered state than simply alcohol and that in fact prescription drugs were the drug du jour, especially for kids with money, such as this girl. The other colleague who was with us said that she thought that the mom had been covering for her daughter and anxious to get her away from school property as soon as possible. Now, who knows what was actually going on? And I think that we handled the situation in the only way we could have. I'm not second-guessing what we did last night, but I am now wondering if we should at least let the girl's advisor and the school know. And I'm trying not to allow into my consideration the fact that the girl's mother is on our board of trustees and that the girl's advisor is our head of school -- although I'm not sure which way that information would point my anyway.
The other things I did yesterday, after school but before the play, were (1) to go to a short reception after school to meet the new baby of a colleague, and (2) to go to a fairly short rehearsal of our faculty band, since we're playing at the retirement part of one of our members in a couple of weeks, and (3) to have drinks with the two colleagues with whom I'd later have our student adventure during intermission; our get-together wound up being a testimonial from two of us to the third about the power of anti-depressants; and (4) to have dinner with another colleague who is at a real cross-roads in her career and thinking that the next step is going to involve leaving FGS (and I think she's right). Then I went to the play and had the adventures described above. And then I finally got home around 11:00 to find D. in the throes of anxiety about the reality of her new career path and the fact that this well and truly means that she is leaving behind the church, which has been her professional milieu for so long.
So I didn't wind up getting to bed until after 1:00 a.m., which is not my norm at all. It was an entirely too event-filled evening, and I'm planning to recuperate by having no other eventfulness at all this weekend! I have some grading to do and should do some picking up around the house, which has descended into its usual end-of-year pig-sty-ness. But I want no more emotional turmoil or any social activity at all!
I really am hoping to ease on down, ease on down the road into summer.