February 24, 2012

Life's Not Fair: My Personal Pity Party

Other possible titles for this post include:
"Gee, I'm glad you noticed my hard work!"
and "Complete Identity Crisis"

Current Mantra
Sorry I've disappeared for awhile...The truth is, I'm in the midst of something of an identity crisis.  Let me explain:  I haven't made it a secret on the blog that this has been a challenging year for me at school.  I love my class and love teaching, but due to a number of factors, the pressure at my school this year has been...well...overwhelming.  See, my school had some big changes happen this year.  We got a new principal, new assistant principal, a whole bunch of new teachers and support staff, and a ton of new expectations and policies.  The goal was to get our low-performing school straightened out and in shape.  It was a change that needed to happen, and so many good structural things came out of it.  But has been a LOT of change to digest, and the atmosphere has been a bit...intense.

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.

After spending last weekend and half of this week crying or wallowing away on my couch (Did I mention I was sick with an awful cold when I got this news?  It was super.), I am attempting to get my act and attitude together.  I'm committing TODAY to ending the wallowing and complaining about the unfairness of it all.  You heard me: The moaning and groaning stops here.  This is the truth:  I can't change things by being grumpy or angry or sad.  I can only change the way I decide to see the situation, and where I go from here.    

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. :)   


  1. I'm so sorry to hear this news! I can't believe they are allowed to do this. What does your union say? I know it says right in our contract that the least senior teachers are the first to be cut in your tenure area. How long does it take to get tenure? It's normally 3 years here, but if you previously received tenure from another district it is only 2 years.

    Thoughts and prayers for you!


  2. Hang in there! I lost my first two teaching jobs due to similar circumstances (three years for the first job and then 1 year for the second). I was devastated both times, but then I found a job teaching middle school. I never would have dreamed I wanted to teach at this level, but I love it and feel it's my true calling. I would not have discovered this if I had not lost my elementary jobs! Everything happens for a reason--I'm confident something bigger and better is out there for you!

  3. hang in there! and I hope things start looking up.... it's no fun, I've been in your shoes.

  4. I am sooooo sorry to hear the bad news. Chin up. You are such an amazing teacher. Things will work out and come together. Any school district would be lucky to have you.

  5. Ohhhh. I am so sorry. What a stressful time. Sounds like this might not be a principal that you would want to work for anyway. Just from reading your blog and seeing your pics, it is clear that you are a dynamic teacher who will not have a problem getting a job.....especially with all of the endeavors you took on this year. Good things will happen, I'm sure!

  6. I'm so sorry this happened, but it could be for the best. Now, I know it's in no way similar, but at the end of last school year, my third year, my principal moved me from 1st grade, where I'd been for 3 1/2 years, including student teaching in first grade and then subbing at the same school, to kindergarten. I was upset, thought it was so unfair, and cried and cried and cried. I always thought I would go running back to 1st grade at the first chance. Now I absolutely LOVE it, and don't look back. It'll get better! Sorry so long, I'm your newest follower!

    The Daily Alphabet

  7. I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you :( You are a wonderful teacher and will have no problem finding a new job (((((HUGS))))) to you.

    Teaching in Room 6

  8. Sorry to hear that, my awesome penpal.
    A few years ago, I heard this slogan - it may have even been yours, I don't remember: "Failure isn't an option, it's an opportunity." Go move somewhere else if you have to - it might be awesome.

    And I'll move somewhere ridiculously far overseas... if you'll come with me.

    Love from Elmo!

  9. I am sorry to hear your news. It is hard working your tail off and putting in so much effort and then have this be the end result. You will pull through it and if you ever need something to cheer you up, just look at that AWESOME orange photo. Have you ever thought of teaching internationally? I know this is more scary than moving states, but if you ever want some advice or ideas you can contact me. Two years ago I was teaching in California, and now I am in Tanzania. It is really great and the bonus is that you get to see the world and travel. Just a thought. Keep your head up!

    Miss Rorey's Room

  10. Uggg! I'm so sorry this has happened to you. Some principals are just total scumbags! I'm glad you are to the point of being positive and moving on. Good for you. You are going to be much better off at a new school.

  11. Awwww, I'm sorry this happened. You are in my prayers for a dream job! :)


    Stapler’s Strategies for Sizzlin' Second Graders!

  12. It's happening everywhere, happened on our campus last year too. I am in my third grade level in three years and I'm frustrated too. My hope for you is an even better school comes up for you. You are right, teaching is not a job, it's our life's work. You will find a way :)

  13. I understand! I lost my job last year for the same reason and I was so crushed. But everything WILL work out!!

  14. Sorry to hear about your bad news. I'm not a teacher, but I know from my own experience that things have a way of working out. It is just hard to see the big picture when you are in the mist of it all. God has a way of leading us to where he wants us to be, even if at the time we dont want to go there. I always seem to look back and say OH that is what you were wanting me to learn. I get it now, but you could of made it a little easier, but than I wouldnt appreciate it as much. Hang in there. I know something great is going to become of you losing your job. Have you in my prayer.

  15. Amy! You are definitely in my thoughts! I have no doubt that another great opportunity will present itself...teaching or otherwise. I have gotten so many wonderful classroom ideas from you, and it's obvious that you're an awesome teacher. I am definitely feeling the stress this year as well, but you remind me that I should be lucky for what I have. It can definitely be hard to remember that when I leave every day stressed to the max and often crying.

    Hang in there though. I'm sorry to hear your news, but I do hope this brings amazing new things for you.

  16. Oh Amy, I am so sorry that this has happened.
    Although I have never met you, I have always thought of you as a TERRIFIC teacher--it's just obvious by the way you talk about your students and your teaching.
    I hate when politics take over what we are trying to do for kids (as if the job wasn't already hard enough!)
    I am sending you good thoughts and hopes that something absolutely wonderful comes your way.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  17. I'm so sorry. You have such a geat attitude. Um going to pray 4 u. I know that any school would be blessed to gave you. Please keep us updated in what u do. Its so awful that things like that can happen. Its horrible that its all about who u know us still a part of who keeps their job even at schools. :)

  18. Aww, I'm sorry :( What a load of crap!! If you have a union, I would be contacting them ASAP because this seems SOOOO wrong to me. You are awesome and I hope yo know that. I've got 3 years of experience on you and you better believe YOU have taught ME a thing or two. *hugs* Hang in there. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) happens for a reason and something awesome will come from this. Chin up!

  19. Oh, you poor thing. It certainly sounds very unfair and upsetting. I'm hoping this time of sadness will lead to some wonderful things for you - because you deserve wonderful things, sweetie.

  20. This is Mrs. Mentor Teacher:) I'm pretty sure you know how I feel...
    You are an outstanding teacher, and it is (it's not over) a true pleasure to work with you. I appreciate that you understand the importance of experience.
    I promise you, you will look back on this and say, she was right, this was the best thing that ever happened to me. Great things are yet to come!
    For all of you out there who don't know Miss Teacher, she's a dedicated and outstanding teacher!
    What is happening is complete nonsense, but Miss Teacher will get through this.
    Love ya...

  21. Hugs.

    That really bites. I hope you find another job soon.

    Sometimes when one door closes it is because another opens. Although it is so hard to see it at the time!

  22. Well that just doesn't sit well with me at all...I'm not sure that would fly over so well here in Ny...getting rid of 3, 3 year teachers with good performance records??? On what account? Who's recommendations... the first year principal????

    can you fight it? Budget cuts, enrollments changes, these situations all lead to cuts unfortunately...but how can you cut techers who consistently perform and work hard and keep others who are new...when there are positions to be kept? this is exaactly WHY tenure, and job security are so important in education...

    how strong is your union? even non-tenured...neither are the other ones...is there progress record TAHT much greater than you or the other 3? Is his record that outstanding that in 1 year he decides upon who is good and who isn't?

    I hate that you are going through this...as an educator myself, as well as my husband...I know how hard we work, inside and outside of the classroom...what a shame...and shame on your administration for not giving you a better reason or room for growth...

  23. Earlier this year, several employees at my company were let go due to a slow down in our business. It was incredibly frightening as a first-year employee to see that happen with my coworkers. So I cannot imagine what you must be going through. I'm not a teacher, but it is very obvious through your writing that you are a great teacher who cares a lot about her students. Stay positive and I hope that this situation will turn into a great opportunity for you!

  24. I hate to hear this. From what I've heard from other teacher friends a new principal is often the best or worst thing to happen to a school or a staff. Hopefully this will give you an opportunity to start over somewhere new and fresh and maybe in a different city or state!

  25. I am so sorry for this unwanted change! The thing that always gets me through is knowing when one door closes another one ALWAYS opens. :o) Something good is coming your way. You are SO in my prayers girl!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...