I’m looking for the person who taught me charter schools are bad

To recent college graduates:

I’ve wanted to articulate this post for a while. I have been trying to process through the fact that I left college with a negative view of  charter schools in comparison to getting a job at a public school. I don’t know where it came from. I tried to think back through my classes, when I sat down and let my thoughts settle, a charter school job was like a piece of toast (ok), but a public school job was like a toaster strudel (really good). I’m still not sure where along the way I started thinking like this, because it was was causing a conflict inside of me that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Get out there and find a job, send those applications out, take whatever interview you can get. These were the instructions I received before I left Central Michigan University having graduated from the Music Education program.

But I was struggling on the inside with this pubic vs. charter thing. Where do I want to work? Maybe I fell asleep in class when we talked about all this but I do not feel like I know a ton. I seem to remember this;

Public School  ( Good job ) = Good pay, Good job security, Good retirement

Charter School  ( Bad job ) = Low pay, No job security, Bad retirement.

So I took a job at a charter school. Along with a lot of support, I got a lot of these comments in response to my decision…

“That’s a good stepping stone job..”

“That will be ok for a couple years.. then you can get a real job”

“Did you ever think maybe they offered you the job because you were the only one that applied?” (seriously, I actually didn’t think about that! haha)

Some of them kind of surprised me! : )

Once I started teaching I finally got to process through why this separation existed. By the way, everyone was about 90% right regarding the pros and cons of Public vs. Charter. I teach in a school with low pay, low job security, and bad retirement.

But when you take into account the pay, job security, bad retirement, etc. All those have to do with your comfortability. But what about your values, your ideals. Don’t lose them. 

 Just because there is more competition for public school jobs, doesn’t mean they are better, it is just more valued by the culture as a whole.

But for you, Listen close and let me tell you a secret. If you are a recent college graduate, read carefully. If you are able, why not put your comfortability on hold and take your dynamite teaching skills to a place where no one expects you to go, where you might possibly be the only person that even interviewed for that job. Where everyone else looks at your job as a stepping stone, you turn your class into a cornerstone for your kids. Believe me, there are teaching jobs, just a lot of jobs people are not willing to take. Go for it!

Charter schools and Public schools should both have amazing teachers.

Does this mean I won’t go for a public school job someday? No. I have nothing against them. I have great friends who teach in public schools and do an amazing job. Every kid needs a great teacher, charter and public alike.

I’m getting married soon, I’ll have more financial and relational responsibilities, I’ll have to manage my time differently, I’d love to raise a family someday and I don’t know if my charter school salary will support that, but I can look for another job that pays more when the time comes.

For now, I am happy having the opportunity to be where I am at, with the teachers and administration, and serving the community I am a part of.

For you, during your job search, challenge your own views on where you would be willing to work. Maybe you could open yourself up to some enriching opportunities.

Happy job hunting.

Joe

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Greatness

Jesus.

Ghandi.

Martin Luther King. 

Visionaries, peace-keepers, civil right fighters, passionate, loving, forgiving, convicted, and driven. They could see into the future!

Heroes.

(p.s. Jesus is still amazing because he is alive and strengthens me and lives in my heart)

They were world changers, the type of people we want to be like. Hoping that maybe a spark of their greatness and vision could land on us so that we could do great things as well. 

You know what else these guys have in common. They were all killed for doing what they were doing. Is this crazy or what? Why does our society kill our visionaries?

For anyone hoping to do anything great, I want to point something out that is very important to understand – Listen. People do not do amazing things without planning to do something amazing.  It’s not organic. If you want to do something great, make a plan, commit and go do it.

Kind of a touchy subject, ya know? Like, “oh, you want to be famous huh?” 

Not Quite.

Greatness is different. Greatness is on behalf of others, where you become the servant. That’s why it is a noble thing to pursue when you do it the right way.

But the further you set out to do something great, the further you row away from the shore of mediocrity and complacency, the harder your life will be. 

The more truth you speak, the more people will twist your words. 

The more you chase justice, the more people will try to talk you out of your convictions.

The more you selflessly serve people, the more others will question your motives.

Why? Because that’s what humans do. Don’t be surprised when you receive pushback for doing good things. 

 

The more you invest, the more tired you will be, no one will understand your burden except you. But it’s ok because you feast on a dream of what could be and that is enough to satisfy. 

Count your tired eyes and heavy heart as an honor. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publicity

It has been an interesting week.

Fox News did a story on Beasts of the Beat (Click HERE to watch) that aired over Thanksgiving weekend and Glenn Beck mentioned the boys and myself on his talk show that apparently peaked a lot of curiosity around the country.

The Beasts of the Beat video received over 5,000 views in one day. It was pretty astounding and humbling to see that happen. I started to get phone calls and e-mails from people all over the country wanting to know more about the boys. It was pretty crazy.

I regularly talk with the boys in BOTB outside of practices over breakfast/dinner to develop what I believe is the most important aspect of BOTB; deep meaningful friendships.

It was early Friday morning, I sat in a little diner in Ferndale to have some eggs and bacon with one of the boys before school. We sat and talked over the week. We talked about a book he and I are writing in together about his life, we talked about how we could help support the other members in the group, we talked about how insane it was that 5,000 people watched our Beasts of the Beat video in 24 hrs. We talked about all the e-mails and phone calls received about the boys and people wanting to be part of the adventure.

Then he said something that made me stop and think…

“Mr. V, I was talking with some of the other guys and when we get rich and famous, we wanna buy everything we never could have..”

I knew exactly what he was talking about, I read raps almost every day about the Trues with the white stitching and the Cartiers with the dark tint. Not entirely surprised by his statement I asked a couple more questions.

“How do you know if you are famous or not?”

“By the things you wear, the car you drive, how many fans you have.”

“What does a famous person look like?”

“A famous person wears nice things, has nice things”

I had to stop for a minute and realize something. The more realistic the idea of being rich and famous is, the harder it is going to be for me to reach these boys to help them discover the true treasures in life, Relationships

– Not the money, not the cars, not not girls, not Trues, not Cartier, not Versace.