Other possible titles for this post include:
"Gee, I'm glad you noticed my hard work!"
and "Complete Identity Crisis"
I have followed every direction and embraced every change. No more classroom recess breaks? No problem. Running records and notes during guided reading? Okay, I can get on board with that. Fountas & Pinnell test all of my kiddos at the beginning of the year? Happy to. Additional minutes to the literacy block? Okay. Zero down time for fun? No big deal, I'll make our lessons "fun." Serve on the PBIS team? Sure. Run intervention groups of the lowest kids in the grade? With a smile. Help with the science fair? Love to. Jump? Just tell me how high. You get the idea. I've done it all with a smile on my face and with only minimal venting to close friends at work. And I've basically felt that all year I've been working as hard as I possibly can, not only with little recognition, but with the constant feeling that it is NEVER enough. Yeah, it's been rough.
Well, after three years at my school, I found out last Friday that in exchange for the insane effort I've put in this year, I'm losing my job for next year. Awesome. See, our enrollment is going down due to some boundary changes, and multiple classroom teaching positions are being eliminated, so last week myself and two other teachers who have also taught in our building for three years were told that, "it's not about performance and you didn't do anything wrong, but we're not renewing your contract." As a nontenured teacher, this kind of thing happens. Buuut did I mention that we have 3 or 4 teachers in the building in their first year in the district? You might think that they would be the ones to be cut first...but unfortunately for me, that's not the case. See, it happens that the three of us that were let go were the only three nontenured teachers hired by our old principal. I can't shake the feeling that Mr. New Principal decided to keep "his people." And I can't tell you how unfair this feels.
I'm more than a little bit Type A. I like routine, order, control, and PLANS. I'm not really into surprises, and I HATE when things feel unfair. It can be hard for me to adjust when something happens that isn't part of my plans, or that there was nothing I could do to prevent. Like this. And there really wasn't anything I could have done--I did absolutely everything I possibly could this year to be the best teacher I could be, and even so, performance aside, here I am. I'll say it again--this just doesn't feel fair.
But I guess life's not fair, right?
Card from Mrs. Mentor Teacher: Do you think they made it especially for me? I do.
In addition to feeling angry about the unfairness of it all, I've been feeling kind of...lost. I've been thinking about why this is so hard, and I think it's because of this: Teaching is a deeply personal endeavor. Losing a teaching job, at least to me, is not like losing another job. "Teacher" is more than my job title--it is so much a part of who I am. And even though I understand that this decision was not based on performance, it still feels like a part of me, an important part of me, was told that I wasn't good enough. It was hard at first to even feel like "myself."
^Breathe In, Breathe Out, and Trust the Process. Repeat.
I am trying very hard to see this as an opportunity for a positive change in my life. Here's another truth: As much as I love teaching and the kids I work with and many of my coworkers, this really has been a rough year. Maybe a change will be a good thing. As Mrs. Mentor Teacher in her unending wisdom said, this could be the best thing that ever happened to me. I am still looking for a job elsewhere in the district, but I am also exploring the idea of a bigger change and applying to jobs out of state too. After all, one of the items on my 30before30 list is to live in a new state--maybe this is the perfect opportunity. (I vacillate between excitement and terror when I think of starting over somewhere completely new...I went to college two hours away from home and even though I'm "on my own" now, I still have dinner with my parents at least once a week.) But whatever happens, I know I will get through it.
Anyways, sorry for the long post--if you actually made it this far, thanks for reading. :)