By Dina Martin
Irene Frazier, Guy Greever
Irene Frazier is retiring this year after 32 years teaching English in Grass Valley. Guy Greever is a first-year science teacher at the same school, which he also attended while growing up in the community. Both are Nevada Union High School Teachers Association members.
Irene: How are you doing?
Guy: I’m a little beat these days, with a newborn.
Irene: Are you getting any sleep at all?
Guy: She sleeps for about five hours a night now.
Irene: This is your first full year of teaching.
Guy: Yep, I student-taught here last year. I split time between PE and science because I was getting my credential. I coached varsity basketball last year. This year I coached freshman boys as head coach.
Irene: So you’ve had a new baby, you taught for the first time, and you coached a sport.
Irene: If that were me, I’d say you shouldn’t have been allowed to do a sport.
Guy: It definitely was a heavy load. Luckily, the sport ended right before the baby came.
Irene: I’m sure you were excited to do a sport, but as a person who’s been a BTSA [Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment] support provider, and seeing how much time that entails, and how difficult it is to maintain a normal life and teach the first year anyway… Most of us don’t remember much from the first year except staying up really late and getting up early to do lessons. It’s a job that if you’ve got a few years under your belt, you can take on all that, but most principals are looking to hire someone who could do sports, who can take on a club. Sometimes new teachers are afraid to say no because they are afraid they will lose the job. We’re not always kind to our new teachers.
Guy: I’m going to make it through, though.
Irene: You are. The sad thing I heard is you got a pink slip.
Guy: It’s the way things are with the seniority list. I can’t say it’s totally unexpected, but it’s still disappointing, especially with a new baby. I don’t know where the road leads from here.
Irene: The fact that you got your layoff notice has nothing to do with your teaching ability. You know that, don’t you?
Guy: That’s what everyone tells me.
Irene: I mean, we have declining enrollment. Last year we laid off someone who had been here 20 years. Declining enrollment is really hard.
Guy: I heard that the projection is by 2016 we’ll have lost 1,700 students. That’s faster than they thought.
Irene: Our young people are our greatest export. But you have roots here. If something does open up, you live in the community. You don’t have to buy into the housing market. It’s becoming tough for teachers who move up here. I wonder if we will get more commuting.
Guy: That’s what I’m looking at now. There’s not a whole lot out there. I might be looking at a bit of a commute. I may have to head down to the valley. At least to Rocklin.