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 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.