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It pays to be well qualified

On February 6th, I was summarily fired from my teaching job with no warning and no reason given, other than “We are going in a different direction, and you are no longer a good fit for us.” Rumor had it that a student who has a wealthy and well connected father was angry that she got a C on one of my Chemistry exams, and had had her father come in and demand that I be fired.

I got an informal job offer today and will start very soon, pending background check and salary negotiation, meaning that I was out of work for exactly 20 days. I will be teaching Chemistry and Physics to 11th and 12th grade honors students. The new school is 30 minutes away from my house, but that is fine with me.

It seems that teachers who are certified to teach STEM classes are hard to come by. I am certified to teach Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Health, and a number of other sciences.  Teachers with those certifications are not easy to find.

Other than putting my resume out there, I spent the last three weeks getting caught up on household chores like yard work and getting some maintenance done on the cars. The old school had to pay me some money under the terms of my contract (which came to two months’ pay), I got two weeks’ unemployment, and now I am back to work. As it turns out, I actually made money on the deal.

As for my old school, the morning before I was fired they hired a guy to take over my classes who isn’t even certified to teach those subjects. He is a teacher who is only certified to teach Middle School physical education and has never taught before. The school has to send a letter to the parents of all of his students, informing them that the classes are being taught by an uncertified teacher. I am guessing that he won’t last long.

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Poor leadership, part 2

This is my rant about my life. 

In my post from earlier in the week, I talked about the Principal firing me because a politically well connected student received a C on one of my Chemistry exams. The story continues.

I applied for unemployment. The evidence is pretty strong in my favor:
– Three weeks before I was terminated, I received my annual evaluation, and it rated me as an “effective” employee.
– Two days before I was terminated, my evaluation score was a 2.7 (effective), which is pretty good for my school.
They are fighting my unemployment, saying that I was fired for misconduct. There are no previous discipline entries on my record, but my evaluation was changed the day after I filed for unemployment to say that I have a 2.2 (needs improvement). I have copies of everything.
During the termination proceedings, this principal (who is an amateur competitor in men’s bodybuilding) told me that PE is the most important subject, because they learn skills there like teamwork and work ethic that they will use their entire lives, whereas the stuff they learn in science and math, they will never use again. Spoken like a true jock.
They hired as my replacement a guy who isn’t certified to teach Biology or Chemistry. His certification is in Elementary School Physical Education. His transcripts show that he failed freshman Biology in college and had to take it over. He received a C the second time he took it. So much for schools only hiring highly qualified teachers for core subjects under “No Child Left Behind.“.
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2015 in review

Here is the obligatory year in review post. I don’t mention a lot o personal stuff on here, but this post will be an exception.

This has been a pretty good year.

Professionally:
I began the year working as a part time science teacher. While doing my taxes, I was able to get an exemption from the Obamacare penalty, but it was obvious that I would not be able to do so forever. The penalty is going to be quite a bit more expensive for 2015, and buying insurance is also too expensive. I needed to get a job that offers health care benefits.For reasons that I am not yet at liberty to discuss, I could not return to my old career as a paramedic, so my only other option was to go full time as a teacher. So I now teach Biology and Chemistry at the High School level.

Personal:
In November, I became engaged to my girlfriend of the past two years. We are getting married next fall.

Financially:
There is a post to follow in this, but the bank finally managed to foreclose on the house from my bankruptcy six years ago. I am glad to finally be rid of that albatross.

This was a good year for travel.

This year, I took road trip to New Orleans in March, and one to Canada, Maine, and many places in between in July. In June, we  flew to Puerto Rico and took a seven day cruise to Aruba, St Martin, St Kitts, and St Thomas.
In November, we took two cruises: the first being a two day trip to the Bahamas, and the second was a seven day cruise to St Thomas, St Martin, and the Bahamas. We were on the French Side of St Martin when the Paris attacks occurred.
For Christmas, we decided to take a trip to Hawaii. We left on December 18th right after work. We arrived in Oahu the next day. We flew home on the 29th, and arrived home on the 30th. There are a few posts on that coming up.

All in all, this was a pretty good year. I look forward to what 2016 brings.

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Mortgage bank again

Today is an important day. I have been in a four year fight with SunTrust. It seems like they will never learn. The lawsuit that I filed against them in December has been settled. Although the exact terms of the settlement are confidential, I can say that I received a 5 figure settlement. That is the second time that they have paid me 5 figures within the past year. In the settlement, I agreed to hold them harmless for everything that they had done as of the date of the settlement.

The day after the settlement was signed, they again violated the court’s order. I am going to wait a couple of months for them to do it a few more times, and I will sue them again. Sooner or later, they will get the message.

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Finding my center

As you read this, I will be about halfway through a week long Caribbean cruise with my new girlfriend. I say new, even though we have now been together for two months. We are enjoying some alone time. One of our common interests is travel, and I think one of the points of this trip is to see if we can stand to be around each other for more than a couple of days at a time.

We will be enjoying Grand Cayman and Cozumel, as well as the cruise ship itself.

Life is good.

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Changes

It was my birthday this past week. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I recently began seeing a new woman, after being dumped in early December by the last one. The new woman’s name is Jennifer, and she lives in a town about 70 miles from here. She decided to surprise me by taking a vacation day from work without telling me, drove to my area, and then called me to tell me to meet her at 3 o’clock.

She then took me on a date and paid for everything. We didn’t do anything fancy: we played mini golf, got some dinner, and then went to a movie. We were out for eight hours. It was one of the best times that anyone has ever shown me for my birthday. Let me explain:

In 2013, my girlfriend at the time and I went to a steak restaurant and got dinner, then we went bowling. Total cost for the night? $124. I paid for it all.
In 2012, I got nothing. I was in Grad school, and we had a party for all of the people in the class who had a February birthday, but that was it.
In 2011, I was informed by my wife at the time, just five days before my birthday, that I was getting a divorce, because I wouldn’t give her money to get another college degree, when she wasn’t doing anything with the one that she had just gotten the year before.

That’s as far back as I can remember. Birthdays (and women) have never been that good for me. This year was a major improvement.

She gave me a card, and told me that she had spent hours looking for one that said exactly what she wanted it to say. The card talked about my qualities as a man, and said that the world needs more men like me. She then texted me when I got home, and explained that while she isn’t good at expressing her feelings, she wanted me to know that she is happy to be on life’s journey with me.

While in the movie, Jennifer flipped up the armrest, placed her head on my
shoulder, and stayed there cuddled up against me for the entire movie. I
spent the entire movie intoxicated by the smell of her. Her perfume,
the smell of her shampoo. I didn’t watch most of the movie, because I
was busy looking at the curve of her neck and enjoying the feel of her
against me. It was one of the most intensely erotic and enchanting experiences that I have ever had.

All of this, and we have only been dating for four weeks. I don’t know if this woman has read “The Art of Seduction” or some other similar book, but she could not be doing a better job of enthralling me.

I feel like I am chasing her and earning her affection, but at the same time, it seems like she is orchestrating the entire thing. I’m thinking that if this is what it is like to date an intelligent, stable, independent woman who knows what she wants, I am going to be a happy, happy man.

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Continuing Shenanigans

For those just joining us:
I had a house that lost its value in the real estate crash. I declared bankruptcy, and was going to turn the house over to the bank. The bank testified in court that they were the owner of the note and the mortgage, but I caught them lying. They had sold the note and mortgage to Fannie Mae, two year earlier. I sued, and we settled out of court for almost 10 grand. They then sold the note and mortgage again, this time to Nationstar mortgage. They recorded the sale in the county clerk’s office.

Then SunTrust tried to foreclose. The foreclosure was dismissed, and Nationstar claimed to not have any record of owning the mortgage.

The feds stepped in and sued the banks. I got another $4,000 in THAT lawsuit.

SunTrust continued to send me demands for payment, even though prohibited from doing so by the bankruptcy court, and the fact that they no longer own the note and mortgage. So after a few years of this, I got tired of it and sued again in May of this year (the hearing was in June). This time, the court awarded me $14,700 and instructed SunTrust to have no further contact with me.

The next day, SunTrust began sending letters and leaving notes on my door. Since that court date in June, I have gotten 2 letters, 5 notes on my door, and two phone calls.

Today, I get a letter from SunTrust, telling me that they have sold my note and mortgage, and effective October 1, 2013, I should send my payments to yet another bank. I am thinking that this is going to be my new career.

Bankruptcy is supposed to allow you to start over. It has been four years, and this bank STILL will not leave me alone.

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Misfit

When people I know ask me which political party I consider myself a part of, many are surprised to hear that I do not consider myself a Republican because I own guns. As if gun ownership is the exclusive domain of the Republican party. However, I have done a lot of soul searching and decided that there is no political party for me.

I cannot be a Democrat, because I do not believe in taking money from one person and giving it to another, for no other reason that the rich have more than the poor, and because I am a gun owner who believes that gun ownership should be far less restricted than it is.

I cannot be a Republican because I believe that people should be able to marry whomever they choose, and that includes bigamy, homosexuality, and incest. As long as you are an adult, it should be your choice. It is none of my business what other adults do with their lives.

It is at this point in the conversation that many friends will thoughtfully say to me, “It sounds like you should be a Libertarian.”
I cannot be a Libertarian, because because they think that immigration should be free and open, and there should be no borders. Libertarians also believe that services like police and fire should be private subscription services, but I would counter that these services are a part of the defense that causes mankind to form communities in the first place. (Although I will admit that many police and fire departments are much larger than they have to be.) In fact, I think that many people who attempt to claim to be Libertarians are actually confusing anarchy with that particular philosophy.

That brings to mind that anarchy will not work for me, either. I still think that we need police, fire, courts, and jails. We need national defense, but nowhere near the levels that we have now.

I do have to say that I really like the thoughts here, and they mirror many of my own beliefs. In short, I think that I am going to have to say that I am very Jeffersonian in my beliefs. I have read Adam Smith and John Locke, and I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what niche I fit into, because I am a political black swan.

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Endorsement

After thinking about my choices, I have decided that I am done with half measures. I am always voting for the lesser of two evils, and we seem to keep heading for the cliff. In light of this, I am just going to vote to get it over with.

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School terms

When we return to class on Monday, there will be a week and a half of class, followed by the four calendar day Easter Break, and then there will only be six weeks until the end of the term. The first, and from what I have been told by previous students, hardest semester will be behind me.
We have a three week break before the summer session begins, and then it is back to the grind.