So just to fill you in on where this post is coming from… Last week I got offered my dream job and then on Tuesday this week I found out that there was a grievance with the job posting, and Wednesday morning I got confirmation that the job had to be reposted and it was no longer my job. Needless to say after all of the excitement, celebrating, planning, prepping… I was devestated! This post is very hard for me to write as it brings me quickly back into that place of hurt and tears but I know it needs to be said and I have chosen to share my experiences in hopes of connecting with others who have been through similar circumstances.
As I have mentioned many times before, I have an amazing circle of support around me when I go through tough times. I have an incredibly supportive partner, a great group of friends, a very loving family, and I’ve met some amazing colleagues in this teaching field. However, this post isn’t going to be about my support network though, it’s going to be about the internal strength I have found in myself. Now this isn’t to say that these wonderful people didn’t help me through this week, because believe me there is no way I could have got through this week without them and I honestly can’t thank them all enough for everything they have offered me in terms of love, strength, and support this week, as well as much needed distraction.
To go from such a high, when I thought I had my dream job, to such a low, when it was no longer mine… There really are few words that I could use to express the hurt I felt. I was sad because I had already grown attached to the kids in my class and I had so many long term visions for the year. I was angry because I didn’t understand why or how this could be happening. I was frustrated because there was nothing anyone could do about it. I was annoyed because I had already spent so much time and money prepping for the school year. And I was crushed because I felt as though someone had yanked my dreams away from me.
Throughout this time I had a mantra that I repeated to myself whenever it was needed, “I am strong. I am a teacher. I can do this.” I learned a lot about myself this week (I really can’t believe all this happened in only a week!). I’ve learned that I have so much strength to carry on and be the best person and teacher I can be.
When I found out Wednesday morning I cried (sobbed really), and I ran to get support from others, and I tried to find a way to change the situation… And then I gathered myself together and took a deep breath. I walked into the classroom and I taught as though nothing had changed. I was patient, I encouraged questions, I offered extra help wherever I could. I watched the light spark in the students eyes as they figured out the pattern in their math. I showed my strength and I showed my love.
On my breaks that day I was desperately trying to find alternative solutions. I went home for lunch and sobbed to my boyfriend. I called people in my support network to get as much help as I could. But at the end of the breaks I returned to the classroom and I taught. We went outside for PE and did some fitness made fun. I joined in with them, in need of the exercise and the connection with my students. I broke up a fight between two friends and listened to their sides of the story, knowing their problems felt as big to them as mine did to me. I showed my strength and I showed my love.
In a language arts lesson we talked about perspective through a short story of a boy and his mother. We discussed taking ownership and making the right choices. I was enthralled by their answers and shared with them how much I respected their points of view. I showed my strength and I showed my love.
Near the end of the day it came time to tell the students that I would not be their teacher as they had expected. The admin handed out the letter to parents and explained the complicated situation as best as they could and then left me with my students. They asked if I wanted to leave and I cried. They gave me hugs and told me they were sad to see me go. I told them that they were going to have a great year no matter who their teacher ended up being. I showed my strength and I showed my love.
The following day I was sent back to my short term contract at a different school. I had to tell the students why I had left, why I was back, and what this meant for them long term. I had such mixed feelings being back – I loved both classes, I was hurt about having to leave and yet happy about having a place to return to. I let the students know that my week had been very hard and also that I was really happy to be back. I showed my strength and I showed my love.
This week I cried myself to sleep more times then I did not. I went from ecstatic to devastated to somewhere in between. I built relationships with new students and staff and then returned to the ones I had already started to form. Many times I wanted to go home but I stayed. So often I wanted to cry but chose to laugh instead or wanted to be angry but chose to be grateful. And time and time again, in a system that so often does not, I put my students first and did what was best for them. I showed my strength and I showed my love.
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we can’t see it yet. I’m still not sure what the reason is or why these hard lessons needed to be learned. I’m still upset, still sad, still angry. But I am strong and I am a teacher and I can do this.
Whatever your challenges, whatever your hurt please show your strength and your love.