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JournalistI'm a Montana reporter who spent 4 months investigating why my state fails to provide adequate care for women who use meth or opioids while pregnant. AMA.

Dec 28th 2017 by JaymeKay • 54 Questions • 89 Points

Greetings everyone my name is Ian and 10 years ago next month I flew home from Beijing on BA 38 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_38).

This came up during the recent AMA from a flight attendant so here I am AMA.

Proof:

Here's the BBC article. There is an interview linked on the right hand side but it appears that the video is lost in RealPlayer hell.

and here's me now hiding from my in laws post Christmas.

Edit: Just taking a little break to watch the Snow Bears show on BBC 1 and the mandatory socialising. I'll be back in an hour or so to answer more questions.

Edit 2: I'm back now

Edit 3: Thanks everyone it's been fun. I'm going to go to sleep now but I'll check back tomorrow in case there are any urgent burning questions left over.

Q:

I'm a lawyer who works juvenile and Child Protection cases. The big thing that I see in my state is that resources are available, but the hard thing is to get the women connected with the resources. Most drug users understand that they are breaking the law, and fear that by going to get help they will some how get in trouble. Even if immunity is granted under the law for those who seek help, there's still that issue that the women tend to be uneducated and just don't know what community resources they can go to. These women tend to be poorer, and they tend to be in complete isolation compared to the rest of society. It's not like they are seeing a regular counselor, or are in regular contact with the state's department of health and welfare. It's only after the baby is born, and the drugs are detected that the state can get involved and start working with the women.

How do you propose we overcome this barrier?

A:

There’s always that kid showing up in your office multiple times a week. What does this adorable human say?


Q:

ATC checking in. I was 4 months into my training at Heathrow as a young trainee ATC when I walked back upstairs from a break and was greeted to the sight of the BAW 777 coming over the fence and crashing. I probably had the best view of anyone of your near death experience! Up in the tower at first we thought the pilot was being a smart arse and trying to do a short landing to come off at one of the early exits, then it dawned on the controller in charge of that runway that shit was about to get real. There’s a good YouTube video of the ATC tape of my former colleague doing a fantastic job of co-ordinating the emergency. In it you will even hear the pilot calling the mayday and uses the incorrect call sign, he used the call sign BA use in their simulator when they PRACTICE emergencies, so they literally went into “auto pilot” mode.

It actually was a blessing that the plane landed short of the runway and in the grass, which was soft from the perpetual English rain, as it’s believed the runway surface may have caused a fire on impact. Having low amounts of jet fuel left in the tanks after a long flight also probably decreased the likelihood of fire.

10 years later, I have never seen anything like it in my career as an ATC, and I don’t wish to. The whole tower staff on duty were deeply affected for days afterwards but everyone involved from ATC, pilots, crew, ground staff, emergency services did an amazing job and turned a potential disaster into a Very British Plane Crash which caused some minor disruption, some grumbling about delays, and was mostly forgotten by the media in a matter of days.

How did it affect you afterwards? I see your sense of humour is still intact but did you have any PTSD or similar? I’m sure I’m not alone as an ATC/Pilot that has dreams about crashes or emergencies, some of which are based on my memories of your crash.

Thanks for doing this AMA

A:

You echoed a lot of the women we talked to. It's definitely a complicated issue that will take commitment from a wide variety of Montanans to address. The biggest thing we heard from women is how important it was to have someone help them connect to all those resources. When they sought help, it was overwhelming to navigate the hospital, treatment, social services, safe housing and all the usual challenges of life and pregnancy on their own. They also said it was critical to know they had somewhere to go for help where they wouldn't face trouble or scorn. There are several pilot projects funded by the Montana Healthcare Foundation that are testing different strategies. Wrapped in Hope in Lake County has helped dozens of women, primarily by serving as navigators through those myriad services from pregnancy through a year after birth. (Relapse risk is higher immediately after birth, so it's critical care doesn't stop when the baby is born.) One hospital, mostly through cultural changes and better connections to community groups, reduced CFS removals by 70 percent and cut the length of NICU stay by more than half for infants who experience withdrawals: http://missoulian.com/kalispell-hospital-shifts-to-care-for-mothers-with-addictions-alongside/article_209d0d52-6215-5656-abd6-283e5b7d2fcc.html

What ideas do you have? Or insights you can share from your experiences?


Q:

I have a handful of "frequent flyers." When it comes to these kiddos, I try to play the long game. I chat with them in the hall and cafeteria, and make sure I get on a first-name basis with the parent(s). I see it as banking karma for when it comes time for tough conversations.

I spent my career in middle schools prior to this position, and I can say I was completely unprepared for the sheer quantity of birthday cupcakes and treats I get on a daily basis. Kids drop by my office all the time to give me a birthday treat. I have a few birthday presents (free book, bookmark, and pencil) that I hand out. I also ask about their birthday plans, gifts, meal, etc., to try and make them feel special on their special day.

A:

You probably had it worse as you could see how bad it was. I was listening to a show called what goes up might come down. Look it up, it's an after dinner speech by an ex ATC man.


Q:

No, I really don't. Not any good ones. I remember a research project I did in undergrad where I was looking at indigenous peoples in central/south america and their political involvement. Indigenous communities were essentially kept out of the political arena, until suddenly in the 90s and 2000s, they exploded onto the scene.

A couple things that showed how this happened included NGOs who got involved, catholic and mormon churches offering services, and the internet which allowed for greater communication. All these things essentially helped these communities learn about available resources and increased the chances of them using the resources when they needed help.

But the big issue is with drug users, they don't really have a community. A community with shared goals and ideas can actually get engaged and make some change, especially once they can utilize the available resources. So creating some kind of drug user community might be one major key.

I think that's why marijuana legalization is actually successful. There's a community effort behind it. But it's much harder to organize a community behind meth and heroin, since it's so ostracized by the vast majority. This is to such an extent, that any appearance of people trying to develop a community around this, they would be immediately targeted.

Maybe this is something that will just take time. As more people get to know the drugs and people who use them, they'll be more accepting and allow for community development. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Those two drugs are so deadly, and too many people have lost loved ones, that it seems almost unlikely. Maybe research should be funded to figure out safer drugs that provide the same effects. That way, people are more accepting, but again that's not something that'll happen for a long while. Maybe a chemist-turned-drug-dealer, with cancer and nothing to lose, could figure something out.

I suppose in the meantime, we could try to figure out resources that target and allow for community development around these drug users. But it would be extremely hard considering that law enforcement and the general community are just so opposed to it.

A:

I am in my 35th year of teaching at the elementary level and have had both wonderful and horrible principals, but have yet to have a principal ask this simple question of me, “What could I do to help you be a better teacher this year?” I am asking you, “What could I do, if I was one of your teachers, to help you be a better principal this year?”


Q:

I was so glad to hear there was no fatalities in this crash, mostly due to the pilots expert crash landing. This is one of my favourite "Air Crash Investigations", did you see the episode?

The complexity of sequence of events that made the engines fail and the length the investigation teams went to try to reproduce the problem was good work all round.

edit: english

A:

Interesting. I had not thought about this issue through a social organizing lens, although that makes sense. You sparked some thoughts.

Part of the problem with drug use, or any underground culture, is that there is a community, but it's not necessarily one that reinforces societally desired behaviors. Leave that world behind, and find yourself alone or stigmatized. Stay, and face legal and health consequences. And for some people, that community is all you've ever known. You don't know there is another way to live, cope, etc.

In some ways, I think the current (relative) sympathy for opioid users stems, in part, from the fact painkillers are legal. I see some parallels with marijuana like you mentioned. (Research tidbit: More than 80 percent of today's heroin users became addicted from painkillers, although generally from misuse.) Second sidenote: The effects of pot use during pregnancy are better studied and, to way oversimplify things, are worse on fetal development than crack cocaine or heroin. Alcohol and nicotine are the best studied--easier to study legal substances-- and everyone I talked to said they're terrible, stunting brain or lung development.

Peer recovery groups have been around a long time and, when run right, can provide a kind of community for drug users and those in active recovery. Easier said then done, and they can be problematic in their own ways. One of the women I talked to was denied any recognition of her sobriety because she was prescribed buprenorphine and, in their eyes, "not clean." Montana is following states like Wyoming in expanding and professionalizing these groups, to a degree, allowing Medicaid to pay for peer recovery specialists who might get a little more training than an average NA volunteer.

A few of the women we talked to were lucky enough to get into one of the two licensed residential treatment programs in the state that take women with kids. They talked about how the community of peers kept them accountable but also have them a safe space to open up about challenges. It's tough to get the right balance of structure in those programs. Too much and it feels like prison and people shut down or hide how they're actually doing out of fear. Not enough and addict thinking takes over, finding room for lies and justifications to get back to their habit.

One last one: Look at the history of NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Essentially, people with mental illness and their families were sick of the status quo and the stigmas so they fought for policy change, offered education and myth busting broadly, and organized support groups for both people with diagnoses and for family or friends trying to figure it out. They've been successful at pushing cultural changes at personal and national levels. I don't know that there's a similar group related to drug use beyond AA and NA. (There probably are, and I just don't know it.) Thinking out loud, I wonder if NAMI might extend its umbrella since the majority of drug users have cooccurring mental health challenges.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Q:

That is such a fantastic question! Since I first started as an administrator, I send out an anonymous surey at the end of the year asking teachers what I've done well and where I should focus my efforts for the next year. Responses are generally positive, but they have really helped me hone my craft as well as identify areas that teachers fell I need to improve.

To answer your question: I truly believe that a good principal needs to be able to have his (or her) finger on the pulse of the building. Teachers can help do this by providing feedback and keeping communication clear. Share the good and the bad... Don't be afraid to share success stories about your students, or tales of woe and challenge. I appreciate these anecdotal bits, especially when I talk to parents. Also, I am always trying to predict the future needs of the building. I recognize that teacher have a unique vantage point. That's a huge asset for a principal.

A:

I didn't. Lots of people mentioned to me that they saw it but I kinda knew the ending.


Q:

Is this problem over-represented in the native community?

A:

Do you ever get parents mad at you for doing your job?


Q:

What freaks me out about a crash landing is being trapped in a burning aircraft by passengers gathering their luggage. What was your reaction to other passenger's instincts to gather luggage rather than self survival?

A:

It's tough to know. Because hospitals do not universally test the umbilical cord for drug use, we don't really have good data that would allow for an ethnic comparison. We do know the challenges are not limited to Native communities, urban or on reservations. About two-thirds of all child removals by the state involve parental drug use and the majority of those cases involve white families. And we know that Native women can face unique risks for drug use and extra barriers to care. For instance, historical trauma and the multigenerational poverty seen in some Native families can mean some people are more likely to experiences the kinds of terrible things that trigger many drug users to numb their emotions. Limited access to health care also makes it difficult to recover. Some of that is the result of federal policies and Congressional funding decisions that creates a different norm of care for some Native families. It is known that some Native women were sterilized without their consent by federal doctors decades ago, so there is particular mistrust of the health system for some families. Some of the Native women we talked to blamed the Indian Health Service for prescribing painkillers too easily and doing so instead of surgeries they couldn't offer because funding was too short, although that's difficult to track or prove. (A little unrelated, but a guy I interviewed last year needed knee surgery but it wasn't life threatening so he was prescribed painkillers for years until there was the money available to pay for it, a result of Congressional funding decisions. He had worked in construction his whole life and couldn't afford to pay the surgery out of pocket. He had to stop because of the damage to his knees and only years after that was able to get surgery.)

Medicaid expansion and special tribal provisions of the ACA have started to alleviate some of those issues by giving Native families more options for where to access care and how to pay for it. Tribes have increasingly taken on a greater role in delivering health services. For instance, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes here operates one of the state's few medication-assisted treatment programs, something that is rare in the state as a whole. In Montana, reservations also face the same challenges as other rural communities: isolation from services and job opportunities, hospitals have difficulty recruiting specialists, long drives to basic services, etc.

More here: http://missoulian.com/pregnant-women-on-montana-reservations-find-few-options-for-drug/article_c5f4f34a-bc18-5bed-aceb-b3b7b71a81d0.html


Q:

Sometimes. I'm actually pretty lucky to work in a good school with generally supportive parents. I occasionally get a parent who will call me the day after I've spoken with them about a school issue. This usually means they talked to their kid, who fabricated an alternate truth that they swallowed hook line and sinker. The whole thing gets nothing accomplished but takes up a lot of my time.

A:

My friend and I shared a look of "Seriously?!" and then used their delay to get the hell off the plane.

I didn't even grab my jumper. January on a runway at Heathrow in a t-shirt is not a warm experience. On the plus side Russia and China was colder so I was somewhat acclimatised.


Q:

What is the best approach to drug addiction treatment with women who are pregnant? What do other states do that you would like to see Montana do?

A:

How long have you been involved in your current profession?


Q:

How were you reunited with all of your luggage? Did the airline gather it all up and put it on the carousel like normal? Was there much damage to passengers luggage?

A:

For opioids, the American Society of Addiction Medicine recommends medication-assisted treatment. The strategy combines therapy with a prescription for buprenorphine, which satisfies cravings and prevents withdrawals. In effect, it helps people manage the ups and downs of cravings much like insulin helps diabetics, letting them live normally and profess with therapy with much less risk of relapse. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend this for pregnant women especially because withdrawals can be dangerous for a fetus. It's best, doctors say, to create a stable uterine environment with buprenorphine.

More about it here: http://missoulian.com/doctors-know-how-to-treat-opioid-crisis-but-not-enough/article_bafbdd13-d00b-5c1b-9f6a-80d9dda96d4b.html

There are other things hospitals and states can do to decrease the severity of infant withdrawals -- such as skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby -- which we detail in the series.

Here's the story of one hospital: http://missoulian.com/kalispell-hospital-shifts-to-care-for-mothers-with-addictions-alongside/article_209d0d52-6215-5656-abd6-283e5b7d2fcc.html


Q:

I was a middle school English teacher for 11 years prior to getting certified for building and district level administration. I was an assistant principal for about 3 years before getting my current position. I've been principal for a year now. Seems a lot longer than that!

A:

Mine was flatter but intact.

It took a few days before they could extract it from the wreckage and send it back in a taxi.


Q:

thank you for doing this AMA. Why would you say there's been such a rise in opioid use in America, especially rural America?

And what do you feel is the best way to prevent it?

A:

Have you eliminated gym and recess? Do you allow the kids to play tag?


Q:

You gotta be fucking kidding me. I lose my luggage in a regular domestic flight and the dude who fucking crashes gets his in a few days.

A:

That’s a tough one and I don’t think there’s a silver-bullet answer. Some folks understand the bigger issue better I do: overprescribing, opioid development and marketing, economics, the rise of pain management, limited rural access to health care, etc. I researched such a narrow slice of how the crisis manifests, but I’ll gather some links to some of the more interesting explanations I’ve read and share those in a bit. Here, I’ll share some of the more interesting things I learned about medical history and rural America that I’ve not often seen mentioned elsewhere.

I hope others who find this thread will share their favorite reads and their own insights. tldr note at the bottom.

This is not America’s first opioid crisis. Under pressure in the late 1800s and early 1900s from other countries to control rampant drug use in America, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act to regulate patent medicines (which often contained things like cocaine and opium without labeling) and then the Harrison Narcotic Act, which was intended to control the production/movement of opiates but was used to regulate how doctors prescribed. The mythology of the era today conjures images of a waif, white man lazing in a New York opium den. In reality, the vast majority of opium users were white women who used patent medicines or, as was particularly common in the south, were prescribed opiates for “female complaints” and “neurasthenia,” which Dr. Stephen Kandall described as “a widespread but vague nervous malady attributed to women’s weaker, more sensitive natures” in his excellent book, “Substance and Shadow.” In short order, many women were prescribed more and more to feed the addictions the doctors had created and their continued decline was attributed to weak nerves rather than addiction. With the passage of the Harrison Act, doctors could no longer prescribe opiates to people who were dependent on them, suddenly creating a mass of illegal drug users that never existed before. (There is strong evidence that a push for the Harrison Act stemmed from anti-immigrant sentiments and a shift in who was using what kinds of opiates. Some cities used anti-drug laws as a way to exclude people of color from the workforce, especially factories where operators feared drug-crazed mistakes in the headlong rush to stay ahead in the Industrial Revolution.) More than being interesting, I think it speaks to the broader reasons why America handles addiction so differently from most developed countries and why the stories of drug users are so different here.

All of this resulted in a bifurcated system. Doctors continued to manage health care. Addicts were sent to prison or a limited number of special recovery centers to reform their morality because their condition was not considered a health issue. It wasn’t until the 1960s that medication-assisted treatment, methadone and brain research started to shift the understanding of addiction back toward a recognition of it as a disease that should be managed as a health issue. The 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is one of the first major policy steps toward recognizing that, creating a mechanism for doctors, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to prescribe buprenorphine as part of a drug treatment plan integrated with broader medical care. The shift underway parallels similar realizations that HIV/AIDs or mental health issues might be best treated in the medical system rather than isolated from the rest of wellness care.

As for rural America: We’ve always had limited access to healthcare, especially any kind of specialized care. It's pretty normal to travel hours to see a specialist. That's tougher when you're a mom who can't find or afford childcare or don't have the money for the trip. When it comes to drug treatment, the places that have adopted medication-assisted treatment historically were urban centers far from rural America and the rural West in particular. Part of that is because methadone was so tightly regulated and had to be dosed in a certain way, almost always in person, because of the overdose and abuse risks. Buprenorphine is safer and more difficult to abuse, so federal regulators allow it to be prescribed under careful monitoring. That makes it easier for people in rural places to receive that kind of care because you can visit your doctor once a week or once a month instead of daily. Montana, unfortunately, still has the lowest availability of nearly any state, so many people have to drive hours to get to the closest doctor. And they might have a months-long wait list. Also, many recovery groups, like Narcotics Anonymous, ignore the science and argue that MAT is not “true recovery,” so people who do get help are afraid to talk about their prescription or do not feel welcome in the support groups that might otherwise be helpful to their recovery. Peer recovery groups like this are a cheap way to offer drug treatment in areas that lack medical providers, so you see them all over the West and in rural America.

Beyond the usual debates about Medicaid reimbursement rates, physician training, etc., I heard several people repeat one theory about the rural West: We have a can-do attitude, that you can accomplish anything with hard work, determination and faith, Nature be damned. As a result, it is tough for some people to accept that drug use is or can be largely out of a person’s control – so the only reason people use drugs must be because they want to. It shapes the way doctors, lawyers, policymakers, family members, etc. all treat people who use drugs and our willingness to help them.

In case it's insightful, this details the stories of four Montana women about how and why they started using: http://missoulian.com/pregnant-women-who-use-drugs-say-montana-does-little-to/article_16a4f32d-c3f4-5ba1-a4d3-441767f56b4f.html

tldr; Other folks can better answer this question, but two thoughts: America has long considered addiction a moral issue, not a health one, so it hasn't been integrated into medical care until recently. Rural America always has had limited access to medical care, especially specialists, and drug treatment policies are complicated by the great Western narrative of self-reliance and self-determination.


Q:

We haven't eliminated any kind of physical activity. New York State mandates a minimum number of minutes of physical education and we stay well above that. Our kids have 50 minute phys ed classes every other day. We don't have a built-in schoolwide time for recess, but I encourage teachers to plan it for their classrooms. We have a nice playground on the campus and the teachers take advantage of it, especially during the spring and fall. Some teachers even go out in the winter (with advance notice to students so they can bring in weather-appropriate gear).

As far as tag goes, it's a staple on the playground, and as long as kids don't get to rough teachers let it fly. Sometimes I'll go out and play with the kids too, but I'm more of a throw-the-football-around kind of guy, rather than playing tag. =)

A:

To be fair I actually got my friends luggage first but her clothes don't fit me so I swapped back.


Q:

Why were you compelled to write about this topic, and especially at such great length? Do you have a personal connection with the issue?

A:

Not the OP but i can help answer this. I’m currently in school to be an educator, and there are two sets of standards that students need to meet. The teachers themselves get to come up with the curriculum (assuming the school doesn’t come up with it for them) as long as they model it off of the state/national standards. They take standardized tests every year that their instruction culminates from. There are state standards and there are national standards. Technically, in most states the departments of education like to parade around the fact that they have their teachers and former teachers in the state help make the standards, but the elected and appointed officials often twist it to their points. This is even more prevalent at the national level, although the content area coalitions often lobby/argue against policy makers making the standards. Hope this gave you an understanding.


Q:

Wait, you swapped the luggage or the clothes!?

A:

This kind of work is what I enjoy most about my job. I am lucky to get to spend time, in this case months, asking people questions about interesting or important topics and then synthesizing the information for other people to use to make decisions or understand their world a little better. I especially like to write about policy issues and how culture/politics influences the way our world works. In short, I'm a nerd who loves the excuse to learn everyday. This was unique in that I worked with a professor at the University of Montana to lead a group of student journalists to help me report out the story.

I am not personally close to anyone who used drugs before giving birth. I do have family with a history of alcoholism and some close friends who use drugs, including heroine. One died at 27 after being sober for a year just because of how hard his life was before that, homeless or couch surfing since he was 12 years old. So I've been on both sides of the emotional spectrum on this issue: Angry and frustrated by abuse from addicts and their destructive behaviors, and also sad to see smart, wonderful people struggle so mightily to overcome an invisible foe and finding so few people willing to help them do so.


Q:

Yeah, pretty much what Chambers said. =)

I try to think of it like a road map. The standards tell you where you want students to end up at the end of the year, but the curriculum is the route teachers choose to get to the destination. I offer input with respect to curriculum, but I don't have a need to control what or how something gets taught. It's more important for me that teachers work together to create a shared curriculum. I have 5 or 6 classes per grade and my expectation is that students receive a similar experience regardless of classroom. If I have a family with triplets and I put each in a different classroom, I feel it's imperative that they all receive a balanced educational experience.

A:

Both.


Q:

So what would you say to those people who argue that addiction is a choice and an addict pregnant woman should just choose to stop doing drugs for the sake of their baby?

A:

How was the dildo blinded-out? (for science, of course) Did it have extra batteries and a super-fast mode? Or more a strobe lights and music thingy?


Q:

How much did you get in compensation?

A:

For many people, science clearly shows it's not simple choice to stop using like we might stop buying black socks instead of white. Drug use can literally rewire the brain and depending on the person might never go back to normal. Medication-assisted treatment is similar to insulin for diabetics. It's a way to manage a longterm health condition and no amount of will can change that biology.

I'd ask them to look at the hard facts showing which types of policies and programs actually help people recover and save the state money. Regardless of what you think addiction is, there is evidence of what works to help people recover, stay out of prison and save taxpayers money. I'd also ask them to listen to the personal stories of these women and try to consider life from their shoes. For most, drug use was not a decision to "have fun," but a coping tool they found to manage with traumas. They were timid to share their experiences because of the stigmas they faced, but ultimately hoped people would take a moment to listen. http://missoulian.com/pregnant-women-who-use-drugs-say-montana-does-little-to/article_16a4f32d-c3f4-5ba1-a4d3-441767f56b4f.html


Q:

I guess I'm not surprised that the most popular thread in the AMA is about a dildo. HA!

To be honest, I didn't ask to see it, but the teacher told me it was pretty fancy. Use your imagination, I guess.

A:

I got;

A 2 week holiday anywhere in the world for myself and 3 friends with business class flights.

5 years of gold level membership in the executive club.

Most importantly I got to go down the evacuation slide.


Q:

Will the Timbers win a championship under Gio?

A:

Hello and thank you for the AMA.

I am a 3rd grade teacher at a private school and I will soon be starting a job search for a new position. As a principal, I assume that you have hiring responsibilities and I was wondering if you could share any attributes you especially like to see in a job candidate. Any red flags I should make sure to avoid? Thanks for your time!


Q:

It's nice to see you have your priorities straight. ;)

A:

Hey there! Now that's a question I don't think I can answer any better than the next person posting a dumb take, but I sure as hell hope so. Here soon, I'll be closer to Portland and able to go to more games.

What do you think?


Q:

First, thank you for all you do. Teachers - especially at the elementary level - have an incredibly difficult job!

I do all the hiring for my building. The job market is definitely in my favor, so I can afford to be picky. For example, I hired a probationary teacher over the summer and that one position had about 350 applicants. I usually look at the resume first to see what kind of experience the candidate has. I also look for some kind of spark - something that will set the person apart from everyone else. I want someone who can bring something unique to the school. I also focus on the cover letter. I view the cover letter as a subtle test to see if the person is articulate and literate. Don't waste time re-writing content from your resume. Instead, expand on some of your qualifications and experiences.

If you're fortunate to get an interview, answer questions honestly - nothing ruins an interview faster than catching a candidate talking out their ass. Also avoid speaking in generalities or theoretical best practices. You don't know how many times I hear candidates tell me they have a passion for teaching, or they love watching students success. These things should be a given. Instead, leverage your experience when answering questions.

Best of luck to you in your job search!

A:

What's worse is the plane was listing to the right so the slide wasn't as steep as it should be. I didn't think asking to go back and try the other side was a great idea though.


Q:

So like James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser? 😜 Joking.

A:

What are some things the superintendent or the district do that really help you? What are some things they need to stop or ease back?


Q:

There there. There'll be other crashes, sweetie.

A:

I get that so much. And am totally cool with it. I have Scottish roots and am a closeted nerd who plays board games and reads sci-fi or fantasy for fun. (I must confess I haven't read or watched any Outlander.)

I was sort of named after my dad. When my parents scrapped the name "Dimond," they settled on a silly saying: Jay and me made Jayme. So clever.


Q:

My district is pretty small. The entire administrative body consists of 8 people, superintendent included, so I have a really good relationship with him. He's a straight shooter, and I appreciate that. What you see is what you get. He is really into the idea of shared decision making, so he rarely ever issues a directive without gathering our input first.

If I had to complain about something, it would be the lack of equity that happens between buildings. In most districts, the high school is the golden child. Understandably, districts are known for their HS programs, graduation rates, etc, so it's naturally the building to get the most attention (and money).

A:

Fingers crossed.


Q:

I once got In-school suspension in elementary school. There was this switch in the boys locker room that everyone tried to jump high enough to switch on. Little did we know it was a nono as it was a heater that was faulty. I told the truth and said "I tried to reach it, but I couldn't jump high enough." I'm not sure why I was punished me for merely attempting to do said act.

Do you ever get cases like this?

A:

So where did you go??


Q:

I have ever suspended a student in grades 3-5. If I need to give a consequence it's almost always either a lunch detention (where the students eats alone in the main office or my office) or a phone call/conference with the parents.

I wonder what surrounding circumstances in your situation caused the principal to act the way he/she did. Sometimes it's a teacher who is looking for blood; sometimes it's a response from a angry parent; sometimes the principal is just having a really bad day. I try to stay consistent with consequences - I have my own internal barometer of what level of behavior requires certain consequences. I also try to be progressive with consequences. If that was the only time you were in trouble, I definitely would not have suspended you!

One more thing on the topic of consequences: I always try to phrase the conversation as a matter of cause and effect. That way the student recognizes that the consequence is because of the behavior, not because I don't "like" him.

A:

Trans-Siberian railway from England to China.


Q:

Sometimes kids are just assholes, but I wouldn't consider that bullying

So you consider students treating others like garbage and making their life miserable to the point where they don't want to go to school a non-issue?

A:

How was it? Would you recommend it?


Q:

Didn't mean to trigger someone. Let me explain further...

What you describe is considered a material incident (that's the official language from DASA), and would therefore be considered bullying. Here's a typical example and non-example:

Let's say a kid is constantly commenting on another kid's weight. Over time (days, weeks, months - it doesn't matter), this name calling and taunting causes the victim to avoid eating lunch in the cafeteria. This would be a clear example of bullying. The behavior impacts the victim and changes his/her own behavior.

Here's another scenario: Kids are in Phys Ed. One kid calls the other a fat ass. The victim tells the aggressor to shut up, and then the game continues. The behavior is inappropriate, yes. But it's not bullying because it didn't have cause a material impact on the victim.

Hope this helps clear up my previous response.

A:

10/10 would crash again.


Q:

for better or for worse, had any kids that stands out so much that you remember them?

A:

not flying again eh?


Q:

I've been able to stay in touch with a number of former students after they graduate (thanks, Facebook!). I've always gravitated to the kids who face an uphill battle. I root for the underdogs. For example, there is a boy who I had as a student when I was teaching 8th grade. Nice kid, but edgy. His father died of a drug overdose and his home life was kind of a mess. I didn't pity him, but I tried to empathize. I kept tabs on him when he moved on to high school and he ended up requesting me on Facebook. He joined the Navy last year and seems to be doing well!

As far as bad kids go, I occasionally hear of former students who have ended up in prison or do something stupid to complicate their lives. It don't get a vindictive or told-you-so feeling, but it's always a little sad to realize that we recognized the path they were on when they were younger and no one could do anything to change it.

A:

That was the way out. The flight home from that was the crash. Two weeks of train travel without an issue. One lousy 11 hour plane ride...


Q:

I'm a currently in highschool right know and I know that you don't represent every principle ever but in general do you ever intentionally or unintentionally dish out biased punishments and do kids with larger misconduct records get larger punishment for doing the same thing then kids with less offenses?

A:

I think the question was where did you go on free vacation anywhere in the world


Q:

I kind of mentioned this in another response, but the answer is sorta yes and sorta no. As a practice, I try to be consistent with consequences. I phrase conversations as a cause/effect scenario... "if a student gets caught throwing food, then that student will need to eat at a different table," etc.

Consequences are progressive in nature, so yes, a student with a long history of behavior issues may get a steeper consequence based on the cumulative past offenses. It may not be equal, but I feel it's fair. Repeat offenders are rare though with me. I usually work out a behavior plan with the teacher or parents long before it turns into repeatedly slamming the kid with consequences.

A:

Yeah I got lost in the trail of replies. The compensation holidays were to Antigua and then India.


Q:

Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?

A:

Came here to ask about the slide.


Q:

Funny story - A few years ago, a student came to the office to let me know the coat hook fell off from the inside of his locker. Without skipping a beat, I told him "Screws fall out all the time. The world's an imperfect place." I was so proud of myself for working an obscure Breakfast Club quote into an actual conversation, but the kid didn't get the reference.

A:

Sadly not as fun as I would have expected :(


Q:

It might be kind of late for the IMA, but how do principals remember all students names? In my freshman year of high school, my principal said my name while walking by him in the hallway. What mindmap method do principals use so they remember lots of names?

A:

Did they not let you have another go?


Q:

I work really hard to remember everyone's name. Fortunately, my school is small (about 350 students). Plus, it's actually the district where I grew up so I know a lot of families just from living in the area.

When I'm in the halls or a classroom, I'm constantly going through names in my head. It keeps it fresh and helps commit it to longterm memory. Admittedly, I sometimes cheat a little bit. For example, if I know I'll be heading into a teacher's classroom, I'll pull the roster up on my laptop and take a quick peak at photos.

A:

Something about it being too dangerous. Health and Safety gone mad I tell you.


Q:

I heard that the curriculum changes between schools which are found in poor areas compared to schools in rich areas. Is this true?

A:

Did you try to put on the oxygen masks? or did you just bs right out of there?


Q:

Yes and no. All schools in the state are expected to shape curriculum to adhere to the state standards. Every school also administers the same standardized state assessments. More affluent schools have the resources to provide teachers with professional development or release time to develop curriculum, or just purchase a boxed program to use with students.

It's not that economically disadvantaged schools (and their teachers) don't care about students or that the teachers aren't as good. It's just that money makes everything easier.

A:

I almost did, the impact dropped them but something in my mind kicked in and reminded me that it wasn't going to be much use on the ground.


Q:

But you can't assist others until your own mask is on!

A:

I like to think I led by example and made my way swiftly to the door.


Q:

Anybody act stupid while evacuating, like trying to retreive thier overhrad baggage or was it all for the door

A:

Far far too many.


Q:

Were people panicked at all, or just sorta confused and shaken up?

A:

A mix of everything. I think confused and shaken up is the most common expression I saw that day.


Q:

did it crash when it was supposed to be landing at the airport, or during the normal flight?

A:

Right at the end. Another hundred meters or so and we would have made it to the runway.


Q:

Did this cause a fear of flying for you, or someone close to you?

Did you have a concern for your life?

Did the other passengers reactions make it harder to stay calm?

A:

No I still fly now whenever I can and look forward to it.

Not at all. I was oblivious to the whole thing so by the time I knew it could have been worse it was over so nothing to be scared about.

The other passengers stopping to get their bags before leaving just gave me a clear path to the exit so I didn't spend a long time stuck inside.

Edit:

My sister refuses to be on the same plane as me now. I like to think I've got a proven track record and everyone else is just untested.


Q:

I guess you figured "I've been in one plane crash, statistically, what're the chances it'll happen again?"

edit: yes, I know thats not actually how statistics work.

A:

There was a guy on the flight who claimed it was his 4th or 5th plane crash and had also been in a helicopter one.

I treat it as there's nothing I can do about it so why worry. Plus each flight includes an entry in the prize draw for more free flights.


Q:

Plot twist: that guy was the pilot.

A:

Nah the pilot was a guy known in the industry as Perfect Pete.....


Q:

Wow thanks for the answer! One more question if I may:

What did the process after the crash look like? You got off the plane. What happened then until you got home?

A:

We walked across the grass to a guy who was gathering up passengers without getting close himself. From there we were bussed to the terminal and had to chat with the police as they were immediately investigating it.

While I was chatting with them ("Are you okay?", "Yup", "Seriously?!") the border force were determining if we had the right to enter the country. I was lucky as I had my passport in my pocket. Those who didn't (like my friend) were asked questions to determine if they were actually resident in the UK or had permission to enter.

After that we were moved to the 1st class lounge to be held there till we were ready to go. Didn't stay long as they had cleared the alcohol away and turned all the TVs off.

After my friend and I met back up we got out and met up with her parents who had come to collect us and while walking back to their car a journalist for the BBC pounced on us in the car park for an interview.


Q:

What an eventful day. Shame the booze went(probably for the better now that I think of it).

Thanks for the answers!

A:

Well it gave me plenty to talk about on the date I had arranged for 2 days later. Certainly impressed her enough that she stuck around long enough for me to marry her.


Q:

Ahhh sounds like one if the 3 friends for the first class trip anywhere

A:

Business class. They reserve 1st class compensation for when they run out of tea on a British Airways flight.

And yes she loved the holidays. Sadly it gave her a taste for expansive hotels.


Q:

I've never understood it, I've always thought it would be a good deal to lose my luggage. In a crash. It's just a bag full of sudoku and twizzlers. But when I go to file the claim, suddenly my $500 designer bag was full of cash, new laptop, cell phone, and lots of expensive jewelry.

A:

I could easily have claimed for a new laptop and there would have been no questions asked.

Curse my honesty.


Q:

Did you get your bag back eventually? I would be scared of getting off without my phone / passport / wallet / medication at least. I guess all the other stuff I could replace easily.

A:

Passport was in my pocket.

Wallet was in my bag so I had to cancel all the cards in it.

Phone was an old Nokia brick so I left it at home.


Q:

As I recall from the news reports it had been a totally normal flight right up until the last few seconds.
1. When did you realize that something had gone wrong? 2. Describe the impact and the first few seconds following. Were people more stunned or was there a sense of panic?

A:

I figured it was a rough landing. I just wasn't sure how rough.

There was some sense of concern. I think if you could see out a window you would have had a much better idea what was happening.

There were some people crying once we got off the plane and there were the people who stopped to get their hand luggage and a few people shouting at the crew.

The cabin crew was fantastic they got us all off quickly and safely.


Q:

Wow. Just read the article. It seems like a the problem wasn't apparent until the very end of the flight. Did the crew have time to tell the passengers anything? Did you know the plane was going in for a hard landing before it happened?

Another question I had for any pilots or anyone with knowledge about aircraft: how would water get into the fuel lines? Isn't water a contaminant in a fuel system?

A:

We didn't even get a call to brace. I remember looking out the window (across 3 seats because I was in the middle block) thinking we were coming down a little steep. I also heard a motor adjusting something which could have been either the flaps or landing gear as the pilot was doing his best to get maximum glide time.

The sad truth is I thought we'd come down a bit hard and then gone off the side of the runway. It wasn't until we got the call to evacuate and I went down the slide to be treated to the view of our undercarriage in the distance and half an engine leaking fluid that I realised just how bad it was.

I was sitting 7 or so rows back from the wing exit and I was the second person down the slide.

In the distance there was a man in a high vis jacket waving for us to head that way so off I set. I was also motivated by the smoker who on getting out of the plane and standing next to the engine decided that then was the time to light up.


Q:

How was he not immediately suffering from a fractured skull?

A:

I'm not a tall man so my head doesn't reach the seat in front.

Now I'm sure the space between the seats has shrunk. Next time it happens I'll test it and let you know.


Q:

Would you credit your survival to the fact that you had your tray table up and your seat back in the full of right position?

A:

More that the person in front did. If that had been reclined I could easily have smashed my head into the back of it.


Q:

Would you credit the crash being caused by your cell phone not being in airplane mode?

A:

10 long years ago by phone was a Nokia brick that would have cost me a fortune to use overseas. That was sitting safely at home.

What's more likely was the terrible fruit machine game I was playing on the in flight entertainment that kept paying out so much I had already overflowed from the credit display and I was trying to see if I could wrap an integer value.


Q:

That was sitting safely at home.

Let's be real, it doesn't matter where a Nokia phone is sitting, it's always safe.

A:

No kidding I found it recently, battery still holds a charge.


Q:

What was the process for you like from landing to getting back home? More importantly did you get a lottery ticket on your way back?

A:

I actually wish I had. The guy in the bank suggested it, I was in there cancelling my cards as they were still in the plane.


Q:

How do people react when you tell them about this? Is it a lot of sympathy, or shock, or disbelief? Seems like such an interesting conversation piece.

A:

Depends on the person. Work colleagues who travel a lot are jealous of the gold card, now sadly expired. Most people start out concerned then get jealous over the holidays.


Q:

What did having the gold card get you?

A:

Use of the first class lounge and check in desk no matter what ticket class I bought. This along with the fast lane in security was what I used the most.

Priority upgrades though I can't say I ever got one.

Priority boarding. Handy when the flight is busy and you want to be sure you can stow your hand luggage but otherwise why would I want to see on a plane longer?


Q:

How was China?

A:

Freezing cold. I went to Harbin for an ice and snow festival, failed to order dumplings in a dumpling restaurant, tobogganed off the great wall and ate huge amounts of duck in Beijing.


Q:

Sounds chill.

A:

All terrible puns aside it was at times below -25C. At one point I thought the hotel bathroom floor had underfloor heating actually my feet were just so cold the tiles felt warm.


Q:

Before urbanization and all that harbin used to get a lot colder in the winter. My dad said when he was a kid it would once in a while hit -40. If you're peeing outside you would have to hit you pee with a stick just so it doesn't freeze while you're going at it. I spent a few years of my childhood in harbin. Really interesting place with a lot of Russian architecture. Too damn cold though.

A:

It was so cold that I didn't spend much time outside. I think it made it to -30C but my thermometer failed at -25. Really once it's that cold you stop caring.

I went to a dumpling restaurant to get warm food and not speaking Chinese they brought me a hand translated menu that they had laminated. Unfortunately it was in Russian so I guessed what to tick on it and got a selection of cold cuts.


Q:

Did you and the other affected persons got compensation from the air company?

A:

I managed to get 2 holidays out of them. I was travelling with a friend and I took her, her boyfriend and my significant other on my compensation holiday and she then did the same for me.

I also got a new camera and replacement mp3 player as mine were tragically "destroyed".


Q:

Do you have an opinion of the 10 passengers that decided to file the lawsuit a year later for $1 million each? Were you ever contacted about it?

A:

I was asked to be a witness for Boeing though it never went that far that they needed me.

I was perfectly happy with the compensation I received and while sure a big pile of money would have been nice I genuinely couldn't claim that it had such an effect on me that I would require that much money.


Q:

Do you use this story to get bumped to first class?

A:

I wish. With me frequent flyer card I'm sure it appears whenever I check in. I once got bumped to business on a flight to Texas which was great I was sitting there watching The Revenant and realised I had a massive grin on my face while Leo was being eaten by a bear. Must have been a little off putting for anyone walking past.


Q:

whats your favourite kind of soup?

A:

Tom Yum with mushroom.


Q:

Firstly this is going to sound weird but this is one of my “favourite” crashes. I for one reason or another enjoy reading up on plane crashes and I’ve always enjoyed the story of this one. Anyway my question is, what was your first thought after impact? Did you initially sense something was wrong or was there a sort of “holy shit we just crashed” moment?

A:

"That was a rough landing, did we go off the side of the runway?"

As it happens it's my favourite crash as well.


Q:

What was your reaction to looking at the plane when you got out?

A:

Well bugger me.


Q:

Very glad you made it through that traumatic experience. Did it go in slow-mo for you crashing? How fast did it feel? When you were falling, what were your thoughts when all of this was going on when you were going down? Are you more aware and safe how when you travel to fly? And lastly, did you see anyone overly panic or pass out through being scared or panic? Thanks.

A:

I always read the safety card and check where my exit is. And I do pay attention to the cabin crew when they do their safety briefing in case they sneak something new in I should know about.

Spoiler alert: They haven't yet.


Q:

When the plane was landing i assume you were sitting right? So does it hurt and how big is the impact to the insides of the aeroplane?

A:

For this one I have to assume it was about as gentle as it can be and still be a crash landing. I was sitting and wearing my seat belt. The most pain was from my hand being flung forwards into the seat in front.


Q:

Where did you go on your compensation holiday?

A:

I took my friends to Antigua. We learned to S.C.U.B.A. dive and drank a vast quantity to rum.

My friend took us on a tour of India.


Q:

How long were you kept in the airport afterwards? Did you need to be interviewed by anyone and how soon did the media try to get at you?

A:

It was a few hours to get processed past the police and immigration.

After that we got jumped on by the BBC as we walked through the carpark telling my friends parents about it.

I also got the local papers and the radio calling me from the next day. I'd love to know for sure where they got my contact details from.


Q:

Did you get your carry-on and hold luggage back?

A:

Yes it was all put in a taxi and sent back a few days later. They mixed my friends and my bags up so I did wonder where the lace underwear and bras had come from for a few minutes before my brain caught up.


Q:

What was the first thing your family said when you came back?

A:

I called in at my parents house on my way home and my dad greeted me with "Saw you on TV"

My sister had to be sent home from work because she was panicking having seen the news. It was a bit pathetic on her part because she didn't actually know I was on that flight she just assumed I was.

My cat just looked at me expecting food.


Q:

What was your first distinction that made you realise something was wrong?

A:

The grumbling noise of soil against the fuselage.


Q:

Did you rush to the slide to get away from the crash, or to go before the people who had peed their pants?

A:

Definitely to get to go first.