Monday, August 20, 2012


So, I'm starting a new job this week.  Thursday, to be precise:  my birthday.  Oh, the irony.

I'm not particularly happy about this, for a lot of reasons I am sure that I will share with you over a few more posts, but I feel guilty about it because the people I've already met (or who've reached out to me via Facebook) are -- to a person -- nothing but fantastic.  It's not their fault I'm not happy about this turn of events.  But I'm trying -- oh, sooo hard trying -- to find the positive.

I'm going back to teaching.  (Not happy.)

All of my teaching things are in a box in Georgia, because I had no intentions of EVER teaching again, and most especially did not expect to apply for, and get, a teaching job before we ever made it back down to Georgia to pick up the rest of our stuff.  So, I'm kind-of screwed, because we can't (and I won't) re-buy all that stuff.  And to be clear -- I purged 99% of my teaching stuff (or donated it to Tuscaloosa City Schools after the tornado), so what I still have is stuff that is stuff I really valued for that abysmal "what if" ... that happened to come true. (In other words, if I were EVER to teach again, these are the bare minimum things I would HAVE to have.  And I don't have 'em.)

Here's how it unfolded.  After much harassment by nearly everyone I know in the universe, I applied for a posted teaching job.

I had to jump through all sorts of impossible hoops, some of which I vented about on Facebook because I was so frustrated by the whole process, and in the end, I just ended up submitting a grossly incomplete application.

I think I submitted the last doc on Wednesday, and it pretty much said, "I can't get this, I don't have it with me, I have no idea when or how I will be able to get it.  So sorry, but too bad."

I got a phone call for an interview Thursday afternoon.

I interviewed Friday morning, and before I got home from the interview, my phone rang and I had the job.

I had prayed so hard they'd go with someone else and I wouldn't have to make the decision about what to do.  Because ... 

1.  The pay is only slightly more than 50% of what I was making in Alabama.  Yes, you read that right. 
2.  I could make that much tutoring, and have in the past.  (But tutoring didn't come with health insurance.)
3.  I haven't made this little since -- oh wait, never.  I have never had a professional job and made this little.  It is a huge step in the wrong direction, and now when I say "most recent salary" on job applications, it's awful.  I have lost my negotiation rights for "being worth" at least $x, because clearly -- I am not.
4.  I am taking this as a personal failure.  I am not even worth what I was worth at a chump entry-level job sixteen years ago.
5.  I don't get to stay home with WHM and that makes me sick to my stomach.
6.  I found out that my summer was being cut short with all of a week's notice to get my shit together.
7.  I don't get to take CAM to school or pick her up, and our school calendars match to the day, so while this makes things easier in some sense, I feel like I am essentially missing her kindergarten experience.  I don't get to see her face that moment she leaves her room and all the excitement, or sadness, or anything in-between.  EVERYTHING I hear about her day will be told for at least the second time that day.  I get the old news.  I don't get the spontaneous joy.  I don't get to drop her off or pick her up or meet the other moms or anything.  I am sick over this and crying even as I type this.  I am distraught.  DISTRAUGHT.  I have worked so hard in my life and at the one time that I desperately want to stay home, I don't get to.  I hate that passionately and I am angry with the universe for putting us in this situation.  Plain. Old. Angry.
8.  I don't get to go back to Georgia. I have no idea how or when Mick will get down there, or how on earth he will possibly be able to pack the rest of the house by himself.  This has woken me up in the middle of the night twice already and Saturday night kept me up all night, sick to my stomach.
9.  Now, I don't get to shop for a job that (a) pays the bills or (b) uses my law degree, until June.  I am locked in, another year closer to retiring as a teacher ... and for this, despite how much I love teaching kids one-on-one, I feel like an epic failure.  I went to law school and it will now be at least FOUR years before I get to practice.  No one will hire me.  Let's be real.  "Submit a recent writing sample" -- um, does an email to a parent count?  Memo?  How do you spell that?  I won't say I wasted my time in Tuscaloosa, but I'm kinda feeling like it ... at least in the whole "going to law school" sense.
10.  My room has chalkboards.  CHALKboards!  (Not to worry. Mick is already finagling how to get me white boards, pronto.)

Now, let's talk about all that is good with this. Because there is an awful lot of good, and I am not just saying that. 

1.  It is a job, which means health benefits.  That is huge.
2.  The schedule is pretty cush.  Three Geometry classes and one honors Algebra 2, and two study halls.  Seriously, that's a nice schedule.
3.  I get my own room, and it's not at all awful.  (It does need a carpet, though.  Craigslist area rugs, here I come!)
4.  The school is small enough to be nice; not as small as my school in Tuscaloosa, but I think a very nice size for a high school.
5.  The principal is super cool.
6.  (Business) casual dress.  (I interviewed in capris and sandals because that's all I could find -- don't worry, I told them I was in that situation before-hand -- and when I apologized again for my attire, they said I was dressed just fine for a school day!)
7.  No duties for teachers.  The principal thinks we should be teaching.  How awesome is that?!
8.  Did I mention how nice the people have all been to me?  I think about how upset I have been over this situation, and I think to myself how I don't deserve these amazing people.  They are, every last one of them, welcoming and nice and friendly and helpful, and refreshingly genuine, and I think they don't know the half about how sick I am over this.
9.  I have a wall of windows!
10.  I don't have to turn in lesson plans or any of the other paperwork-for-the-sake-of-paperwork nonsense I had to do in Alabama.
11.  I don't have to supply my own copy paper and there are no limits on how many copies I can make.  Heck, I don't even need to enter a code.  I just use the machine.
12.  Most of my classes are 14-15 kids, with one class (the honors class) at 25.  I mean, if I have to teach and all, that's awesome.  In fact, that's about half as many kids per class, give or take, as I had at every other school where I've taught.
13. Mick's cousin is a parapro there, so I have a built-in super-cool support, friend, and ally.
14.  The school is in the next town over, with an easy commute.
15.  Two words:  snow days.  
16.  They pay for grad school!  So, all those jobs I couldn't get because they required a stupid inane leadership degree?  I can get one.  And you can bet your tuckus I will ... 

I really do, in my heart, love teaching.  It's just that didn't think I would still be teaching at this point in my life, and last week at this point I had no idea I'd be going back to teaching within the week.  I am so unprepared for the major life change that this is.  Moving cross-country, giving up my home, giving up my tutoring, and now giving up my stay-at-home-mom status is an emotionally overwhelming thing.  There hasn't been a day I've not sobbed at one point.

So.  I am trying my hardest to focus on all that is good (and what is good is really good, I do know that, and look, I had all those pluses and only 10 negatives... ) about the particular situation I am in.  And seriously, if I wanted to teach and the salary was taken out, this seems like it would be close to perfect.  I've just really struggled with those two false "if"s.

In any event, I start Thursday, and I am sure that I will have lots of fodder to bounce around here.  (And I am sure some of that will be downright hilarious, because, let's face it -- teaching has plenty of hilarious stuff on an almost-daily basis.)  

Can I ask a favor?  Can y'all check in with me periodically and make sure I keep finding the positive?  Because as you know by now, sometimes I need a nudge to the happy side.




  1. I shall write you an email... Get excited.

    1. I have now read your email about 6 times. I have gradually been able to read it without crying. Thank you so much. I don't deserve to have such a good friend!!!

  2. I don't know if this is going to annoy you or help you, but some of the best experiences I ever had in life came on the heels of my sobbing into my pillow about the scary and horrible journey ahead. The new & the unknown can be so overwhelming (particularly when you don't have your stuff, your wardrobe, or your good spirits). Yet I have this weird feeling that you and a group of your new co-workers will take home the big $500 Powerball in some teacher-pool you organize. Just a thought on how life seems to work. Good luck & hang in there!! I don't know how you're doing this all right now, but I bow before your greatness!