My heart’s crippled. You cut me open and I keep bleeding.

This is a warning…this post is the blackness that resides in my soul.  I am being as honest as I know how to be.  No one has heard all of this…so be prepared…and if you are brave enough… read on.  I need to be honest about where I am so I can move forward.

When the words don’t come when I have things to say, it festers inside me like an infection.  I need it to GET OUT OF ME.  Or else I won’t be able to move on and heal from this.  And what’s happening right now, if I don’t get it out so that I can set it aside and move past it, I won’t be able to find my path.  So these are my words.

I have cried exactly 3 times in the past 6 weeks (2 times because of my job and 1 time for my Grandma) but last week I broke down in public.  I am not a crier.  I was mortified.  It was at that moment I realized that I needed to force myself to move forward for my family.

I’ve had too much time to sit around and think about it.  6 weeks ago I resigned from my job.  I was just a little mad and a little sorry for myself.  I have tried to be positive about it.  I have tried to look on the bright side. It was very important to me to act in a way that I thought was right and where bystanders wouldn’t get hurt.  I tried to take the high road.  I tried to be the bigger person.  I was Zen.  I decided to take it as an opportunity.

I still have the same reasons and believe in them.  They are just a little less clear now.

Today I am VERY MAD and feel VERY SORRY for myself.

And I planned on winning the lottery.  That hasn’t worked out the way I hoped either.  Apparently it’s something about having better odds if you buy tickets?!  Wish someone would have told me.

In the beginning of October I was given the choice between resigning from my teaching position or being terminated.  Last spring I found out some people weren’t looking too fondly on my actions for the past 3 years (which blindsided me).  I was given one year to show improvement or I would lose my job.  I was grateful for this opportunity.  This fall, I was ready to prove to everyone that I deserved my job, that I deserved the very special trust that is placed in teachers not only to teach, but more importantly, to keep the students in my class safe and put their well being first.

I thought I did just that.  Some people didn’t agree.  So I thought about what was best for me, best for my family, best for my co-workers, and most importantly, best for my students.  I walked away.  After countless hours of processing, analyzing, trying to see it from all perspectives, to the best of my deductions there were 2 people that were responsible for my dismissal.  I’m not ready to talk about what exactly happened, and I may never be.  However, the following is the very difficult journey I have taken since I lost my job.  It is how I felt and where I plan to go from here.  It is my perspective and my experiences at this moment.

After I resigned the questions invaded my head.  Did I do the right thing?  Should I have fought?  Should I have made them listen to my perspective?  Should I have made it easy for them by walking away when they asked me to walk away?  They called me names and accused me of hurting the people I work with and care about.  They said I was hurting my students.  They were wrong.

Since being unemployed I have applied for over 100 teaching positions and over 100 other positions.  I finally got exactly one interview for a program where I would be training to become a medical transcriptionist and then offered a full time position after the completion of the course.  I feel honored to have been offered this interview at this hospital because it is where my life was saved.  I would be privileged to work for an amazing organization that makes a real difference for people.

On the other hand…I have worked my entire life to become highly educated and I dedicated myself to learning everything I possibly could so I could, one day, teach.  I have my Bachelor’s Degree and my Master’s Degree in Education and was able to earn high marks in all my classes.  For my Master’s classes I earned a GPA of 4.0.

The interview that I have been offered is a little blow to my ego because the qualifications for this position are a high school diploma and being able to type 45 words per minute.  For me that was 6 years of school and $50,000 in student loans too late.

It’s frustrating to know I’m not qualified to make $10 per hour as a secretary.

I wanted to be a teacher for Rochester since I was 7.  Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a teacher, but I had such single-minded focus on completing my goal, I didn’t see anything else.  I believed in it for so long.  I always knew what I was working towards.  I always knew why I was working so hard.  I’ve always seen myself as a teacher.  Every decision I made was to get me closer to becoming a teacher.  Now I’m not…and I don’t know who I am without it.

It’s rare to find a career that you love and are equally good at and it’s very demoralizing to have that taken away from you.  It destroys me that the choice was made for me.  I can’t imagine myself as doing something besides teaching, it’s how I’ve pictured myself for decades.  It’s hard to think about working anywhere else, because I honestly never thought about doing anything besides teaching.  I don’t even know where to begin looking or what questions to ask to get to where I’m supposed to be.

Let’s rewind for a moment.  Just over 2 years ago I nearly lost my life to necrotizing pancreatitis.  For those of you who have visited my site for awhile or are unfortunate to know me in real life, you know I bring this up constantly.  I always thought as I got more distance from it, the memories would fade.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Not only was it a transforming moment in my life and is a huge part of the person I am today, but more importantly if you had an “I almost died” card in your back pocket, you KNOW you would used it…right?!?!

I believe it was a miracle that I survived.  When I was most critical, the doctors didn’t really understand what was happening inside my body.  I was getting worse and they didn’t know why.  When I recovered and healed in record time, without any lasting effects, they didn’t really understand why that was either.  I had to believe that it was because of my son (who was only 5 weeks old when it occurred) and because God still had a plan for me.  Now I wonder if it was all a big mistake.  I wonder if I wasn’t meant to survive?  If I had passed on, I wouldn’t have gone through bringing shame and embarrassment on myself and my family.

As I was trying to recover (it took my nearly 6 months), I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and faced debilitating depression and anxiety.  The worst I have ever lived through.  I didn’t see how I was going to get through it, and even more scary…I wasn’t sure I wanted to.  I would drive without a seat-belt, hoping that I would crash and put myself and those who depend on me, out of our misery.  I would force the car to go faster and faster.  I wanted to feel alive.  Or longed to (at the very least) feel the desire to be alive.

I’m there again.  In the blackness.

I can’t sleep (I’ve been an insomniac since high school…drives Josh crazy) and since I don’t have a job to wake up for I end up sleeping during the day.  By myself at home, it’s really hard to find the motivation to get out of bed.  If I manage to get myself out of bed and onto the couch, I can’t seem to get further than that.  Days go by where I can’t find the motivation to leave the house, not even to go and pick up the mail at the end of our driveway.

So to get showered, dressed, and presentable for the outside world requires a nearly Herculean effort.  When I actually get out of the house I can’t face going back.  So to avoid going I home, I drive.

Sometimes when it hurts to be in my skin I try and get lost.  When I drive, I think.  I get so angry that this had happened to me.  I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t deserve it.

To think about not working with kids, which I love more than anything, it’s like thinking about living without sunshine and laughter.  I can’t imagine any other job will be as satisfying and rewarding as teaching was for me.  I can’t imagine that I’ll be as talented at it.  It’s hard to imagine that it will feed my soul as much as it did to see kids learn and grow.  It’s so rare in life to find a home at work.  I was lucky enough to do just that.  And it was taken from me.  Now I can’t find my way home.

Can I find another job?  Yes.  But do I want to?  I don’t have a choice and so I will do whatever it takes.

I hear horror stories teachers who falsify their data, attempt to adopt a baby from a parent of a student, won’t go the extra mile for their students. The 2 people who took my job (to the best of my deductions) get to go on with their lives, business as usual.  It’s a tough to think about people who don’t care about kids the way that I do, still having their jobs, and I have nothing.

I was a good teacher.  I was a great teacher.  If your child was in my class, you would have been glad.  Your child would have enjoyed school and learned a lot.  Even more than that…I really cared about my students.  I cared about them as individuals and cared about them as people.  I knew how valuable each child in my class was.

My life has been destroyed and I don’t know where to begin to pick up the pieces.  I know this has affected my family and friends greatly, and I hate that.  For selfish reasons, I wanted to believe the school I taught at would come tumbling down after I left.  The truth of my heart is I want someone to replace me to be a great fit and the best teacher.  Even though it wasn’t my choice, I feel that the kids have suffered enough, and since they were my kids, I will always feel that I let them down.

I hear people talking about their lives…jobs, kids, co-workers, stories, jokes…as they always have.  The world has kept turning.  And that wrecks me because nothing in my life will ever be the same.  I can’t even feel that I have anything worthwhile to give the world or my family anymore.  I not only lost my job but I also said goodbye to my dignity, self-worth, my talent for teaching, the positive gift I was able to give the world, and some of my best friends. Everyday I miss everything I had worked so hard for.

I understand that I allowed them to take these things and many of them weren’t their “fault.”  I know that I should feel I am worthy just because I am.  But when there isn’t a reason for me to get out of bed in the morning…then I feel like there isn’t a reason for me to be a waste of space in this world, a waste of air, a waste of precious resources.

I feel that I have fought all my life for everything I have (I have had a job since I was 8).  I was stupid to think that I had gotten finally reached a place in my life where I could take a breath.  And so I paid the price, and now, I am back to fighting.

Fighting to survive.  Fighting to make it through today.  I have been through worse than this.  I will get through this.

I feel worthless because I can’t even contribute to my family’s income and I know that my son, my husband, and myself are without insurance thanks to me.  It’s very scary.  We make a mere 17% of the money we made only 18 short months ago.

I understand (with great hope) that this is a problem that is short-term.  However, I have given up hope that I’m going to get my own classroom for the remainder of this school year.  And I’m not very optimistic about getting a teaching job for the next school year.  Many districts are looking at cutting their current teaching staff, not adding teachers.

If I truly am meant to be a teacher and can’t find a job here (which I can’t) then doesn’t that mean I should move to where there is a job?  If that’s what’s written on my soul, if it’s the only thing that going to make me happy, then I should be willing to move anywhere to fulfill my purpose, right?

There are amazing schools in this country where I could make a real difference to the kids that need it the most.  Is it worth moving across the country and asking my husband to give up a job he loves?  Is it worth taking my son away from the only home he’s known and all of his family?  Many of these schools ask teachers to be there from 7 to 5:30.  Can I give up that time, being away from my son?  And it’s not like the work ends after those hours.  Teachers are expected to grade, plan, conference, and meet outside of school hours.  It’s a big gamble if I’m not 1,000 percent sure.  It’s a gamble for Finn and Josh too, I have to figure them into the equation.  I can’t ask them to sacrifice for me unless I’m FOR SURE.

That’s a big IF to move across the country for.

How am I supposed to know what to do with my life?  How do I know when I’ve found the right thing?  How do I even start?

So I’m trying to find the road that will lead me to where I need to go.  I haven’t found it yet.  I’m afraid I won’t.  I’m afraid I won’t find it because I’m not open to it.  I’m afraid I’m not asking the right questions.  I’m afraid I won’t find it because I’m sitting on my couch.  I’m afraid it already passed me by.

I’m afraid.

I drive and drive, waiting for some revelation that never happens.  Trying to lose myself so I can find my way.  The thing is, I can’t seem to escape myself, no matter how much I want to, how hard I try, how far I go.  Now I’m back on the couch and have no more answers…just more questions.

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18 Responses to My heart’s crippled. You cut me open and I keep bleeding.

  1. You are an unemployed teacher, as I am an unemployed librarian. You are a teacher, will always be a teacher. As my father explained to a little girl long ago, he was retired, but he remained an engineer! These days people use their qualifications to change careers. Hang in there, you will find a way to use your skills. My heart goes out to you. <3
    elephant’s eye recently posted..November flowers on the first Sunday in AdventMy Profile

  2. Bazza says:

    Hi Kate. How does anyone judge how good a teacher is?
    Coincidentally I took voluntary redundancy from my Business Adviser job six weeks ago because I got five months pay and I guessed that the not-for-profit organisation I worked for were running out of funds and I would be out of a job at Christmas anyway.
    I always get up at 6.30 to 7am seven days a week; it’s too easy to slip into a ‘waking coma’ when one isn’t working – don’t let that happen to you!
    Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
    Bazza recently posted..The Naming of Parts by Henry ReedMy Profile

  3. Khyra's Mom says:

    As I approach the 6th anniversary of my personal Pearl Harbor Day – yes, ‘they’ did it to me on 12/7/04 – I’m still feeling much of the same darkness you are –

    I know much of what you share – for again, I’m without a job – thanks to the stupid economy – and with all the holiday crap everywhere I look, I retreat into the a similar hole –

    I apply for things – some have the courtesy of replies –
    I have had some interviews – obviously, none successful –
    Each one leaves me more and more scared as to what I’m saying/doing wrong –

    Then the tears come –

    I know how therapeutic it can be to share the emotions eating you –

    And yes, it is somehow very wrong others can go on the merry ways whilst we wonder how we’ll survive beyond tomorrow or next week or next month –

    Friends and family convince me it will change – that something will come along –

    I’m trusting and believing – but so scared –

    You aren’t alone – not that it helps much from here – but you aren’t –

    I’ve been one that is a crier – but recently I’ve found myself too numb to do it –

    Not sure what that means –

    We just have to not let ‘them’ win –

    I’ll be thinking of you from here –

  4. Sans says:

    You are a Teacher. You will always be a Teacher.
    This is your profession.

    If one uses ones’ employment as a label to indicate value, or self-worth, then when one, for whatever reason, loses that employment, one enters that dark zone where you are.

    If one cannot find employment in ones’ profession, then any legal source of income is welcome, which will help contribute to maintain health and well-being, gain experience, and fund the search for employment in ones’ profession.

    This is the simple black & white analysis.

    This recession/depression sucks. There are many, many, people hurting as we are all swamped and pummelled by this economic steam press we have zero control over.
    There is little advice or comfort I can provide; only this:

    You are not alone.
    There is an end to the tunnel. It’s a long, hard, determined, true-grit slog to the end, but there is an end.

    The normal approach would be to stay POSITIVE, make a plan, and network as much as possible.
    The plan may involve whatever is deemed necessary, to achieve the outcome.
    You have value, you are a talented, intelligent individual with a vast amount of knowledge to contribute to the continuum. You are on my Blogroll.
    I know this all sounds superficial and trite, but it is my contribution. Hoping for a positive outcome.
    [[[Hugs]]]

  5. Nic says:

    Oh Kate. Why can’t you tell me any of this when we’re together? I won’t think bad things about you for feeling this way. I won’t judge you. I won’t pretend to know how you’re feeling. I won’t be anything but someone who is there to listen and offer you a hug if you need it.

    Of course you’re feeling this way. Of course you’re starting to think, rethink, and rethink again what happened. I just don’t want you to think or question who you are. You’re amazing. This was not deserved. Please remind yourself of that. This was not deserved. If you’d like, call me, I’ll remind you.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are things in life that are out of your control. We all experience unwanted negativity in our lives. You’re a person of ownership and I understand you want to know the problem, fix the problem, and move on. I’m the same way. Unfortunately this is a problem that can’t be fixed. You can only move on and overcome it. I won’t pretend that’s going to be easy (as I’m sure you already know). But I know the true person you are, and you will shine through this experience. This will not define you.

    Please start to reach out to family and friends for strength (if you need it). You don’t have to bear this alone. We’re here!

  6. Tracey says:

    Dear Kate

    I can see you’re in a bad way. And there’s nothing simple that will solve your problem. Please remember this – no matter how alone you feel, you’re not alone. You have a wonderful family, and a series of great cyber friends who care about you and worry about you. Depression is not an easy thing to cope with, and when you’re at the bottom of the pit it’s awfully hard to see the way out. But it will come, I promise. I just can’t tell you when. In the meantime, we’re here for you.

    If you need to talk more, you have my email address.

    Tracey
    Tracey recently posted..Dear young peopleMy Profile

  7. Candice says:

    Wow, we really are going through much of the same thing. Kinda wacky. My only advantage is that I have freedom, whereas you have a family to provide for, so I know your worry is far greater.

    I think you just do whatever it takes to do what you love. So cliche, I know. I have these big travel dreams, but most of the time I’m terrified to leave this comfort zone. Sometimes I pray for something DRASTIC to happen to make me leave, but that’s pretty much a death sentence.

    I can’t imagine what must have happened to cause your resignation, but I also can’t imagine you being a bad teacher. You’re an unbelievably loving mother and devoted husband, and I get the feeling you transfer that dedication to everything you do. It just wasn’t the right place for you, please don’t give up!
    Candice recently posted..23 Business Guides to Live Location IndependentlyMy Profile

  8. Kimberly says:

    Oh, this breaks my heart. I’m so sorry that this has been such a rough time. I think as with anything else you will get through it it just doesn’t seem like it at the time. I’m not sure what happened so I may be way off base here, so aologize for speculating, but if you resigned can this effect your hiring in another district? I know right now districts are rarely hiring anyone due to budget crises. When the money situation turns around again and they need teachers, shouldn’t your record be free of anything damaging because you resigned. I have a friend who had a personality conflict with an admin and therefore wasn’t going to be asked back. She was given the option of resigning, with a letter of recommendation, or being let go. She chose to resign and was later hired in another district. Be sure you look into that. Hang in there and take care of yourself. Right now that’s what’s most important.
    Kimberly recently posted..A Productive WeekMy Profile

  9. JLO says:

    First of all, take a deep breath. Make sure you leave on good terms so you can get hired again. That’s the most important. You will be a teacher again. There are lots of ways to go…private, charter, etc. Don’t move your family accross the country…it sounds like you need family and friends near you. It is an unfortunate time to be a teacher…budget cuts, lay offs, and decreased pay…are you SURE this is the job you want? 😉
    Hang in there!!!!
    JLO recently posted..ThanksgivingMy Profile

  10. Kate says:

    Oh, Kate. First, you bring something to the world no one else can. And you certainly did survive for a reason. Second, teaching is a calling and it isn’t limited to the classroom. You will always be a teacher. I hope you can be open to a variety of paths that may be ahead. (although good teachers are so hard to find, surely someone is hiring) I have a family member who has been stuck for twenty years thinking there is only one way to be what he wants to be. Stuck is a terrible place to be.
    I am sorry. Truly sorry. Keep going. Know the darkness always yields to light.
    Kate recently posted..Theres no place like home maybeMy Profile

  11. I was downsized a few months ago. I still haven’t completely come to terms with it but I’m trying hard to make it end up a good thing.

    I wish the same for you.

    xox
    Robin from Israel recently posted..Happy ThanksgivingMy Profile

  12. Mary Jo says:

    Kate-
    What a brave action to share such intimate feelings and thoughts. I admire your courage!

    I’m in your corner. So glad to read that others are writing and expressing their support as well – you truly are not alone – and this situation will NOT last forever. Change happens – sometimes good change and sometimes difficult change. But change happens – and you’re due for some of the good kind! I will be thinking of you at 11:30 today. Remember to breathe! :)!!!

    I love you more than most infinity.

    Love, mom

  13. You poor thing. What a terrible ordeal to go through (that goes for the illness AND the job situation).
    Warning: Unsolicited Advice coming up!
    As I was reading this post, I kept thinking of two things that could, potentially, help with the feelings you’re experiencing.
    The first is called EFT. It works with your nervous system to re-program parts of your thinking (the unhealthy, depressed, wondering if you should live or not when, I’m sorry but I can feel that you KNOW you have important things to contribute to this world before you go anywhere missy, thoughts) and replace them with more balanced ones. It’s easy, quick, and free to learn. Here are a couple sites for you to glance at if you have the time (really, it’s QUICK to learn. Like 20 mins)
    http://www.eftuniverse.com/
    http://www.eftzone.com/learn-eft/

    The second is a documentary about health and how it’s related to what we eat, called The Beautiful Truth. Perhaps you’ve already heard of it. It’s free to stream on Netflix, if you have an account. Here’s a link for the trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZmV8b1wr10
    (note – they talk about cancer a lot, but the movie is about much more than cancer!)

    Anyway, hope this helped :)
    Blessings to you!
    Charis

  14. You are going through something really bad. Can you perhaps find someone really good to talk to? I know about depression, and it’s not something to drag out too long.

    When all else fails, remember this too will pass.

    (Sorry for the crapness of my comment. I’m trying but too tired to be helpful.)
    Mwa (Lost in Translation) recently posted..Chatty post on late nights- sick children and osteopathy for babiesMy Profile

  15. Hi Kate!
    I wish I had some great words of wisdom or something, I will pray for you, for peace in your heart & soul! Hugs :)
    The Social Frog recently posted..Ohhhh Christmas Tree!My Profile

  16. Linda says:

    I know you’re waiting for a revelation that never happens. But when I think back to the part of your story where you recovered from a terrible illness and God kept you alive for a reason, I wonder… Maybe the same God who saved you actually DOES have a “revelation”. I was wondering if you’ve asked him… with humility, on your knees, simply asked him.

    I’m only saying that because I’ve been desperate, too. And when someone made that same suggestion… with sincerity, love, and compassion for me… my situation stayed the same, and I changed forever.

    I like to wear sweats, sit on the couch, and isolate, too. I wish we could isolate together like girlfriends, but this is the best I’ve got. Hugs to you…
    Linda recently posted..If Niles could pee on my laptop- he wouldMy Profile

  17. Barbara says:

    I’m just seeing this – I hope a little bit of light has shone through by now. It was tough on me when I first left my job to stay home with my three kids years ago and I had days when I was depressed – and I didn’t even care for my job! What helped was a friend who called almost every day, keeping me in touch with other people, and then I met other parents. I say keep looking for a teaching job (we need good teachers!) and I believe that door will open for you, but in the meantime, keep reaching out to other people, and let them reach out to you.
    Barbara recently posted..Boosam and other pieces of my life- circa 71-73My Profile

  18. Pingback: Happiness is a road, not a destination. | Recommended Daily Dose

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