I have eleven different education-related jobs listed on my resume. Eleven jobs in six years. That’s not counting the filler jobs like nannying or that time I worked for the children’s theater, either. Teaching, subbing, tutoring, test prep, program development… I’ve pretty much done it all by now. And I’ve walked away from it all, too. My nomadic life following my husband makes for an interesting work history.
I thought I’d found somewhere I’d finally get to stay. I thought I was done updating my resume for a while.
I was wrong. I have to walk away again.
I found out a week ago, and I’ve been through the gamut of emotions over that last seven days. My principal told me after school last Monday that he’d hired someone else to fill the position next year. I cried right there in his office. I’d braced myself for the news, but it still knocked the breath out of me. I guess you can’t ever be completely prepared for something like that.
He told me I’ve done an amazing job as a long-term sub. He said I’ve done everything the school has asked of me. It didn’t help to hear that. It just made me more confused. If that’s true, why did he choose someone else? What need does she fill that I don’t? His answers were cryptic at best. I still don’t really know why he didn’t pick me.
That was Monday. My overriding emotion then was disappointment. I cried on the drive home. I cried again into my husband’s shoulder. And then I sat down that night and began updating my resume. I suppose by now resume updates are part of my knee-jerk reaction to leaving a job. Habit. It sucks that I have habits for something like this. Tuesday was awkward as my coworkers gave me sympathetic looks and I tried to push through the day. The anger hit on Wednesday, which morphed into discouragement on Thursday. Friday was better. I don’t think “acceptance” is the right word, but I wasn’t wallowing in emotion, either.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a very “teaching-heavy” week. I listened to presentations and then reviewed for and gave a test. I collected a huge stack of grading that I’ve been attempting to tackle with mixed success. I kept up appearances with my students since they didn’t know yet, and I maintained a good professional rapport with my coworkers. It’s a good staff. I’m going to miss them, too.
The announcement went out to the students today. We decided telling them all at once would be better than feeding the rumor mill by telling one class at a time. So I sat in lunch and listened to my principal explain into the microphone that “Mrs. Roberson will not be joining us next year,” and I held back the tears better than I expected.
I never thought I’d become a “career” woman. My high school dreams generally focused on family and children, and I thought of my career as a means to support myself until then. But I’m a good teacher. I take pride in my work, and I want to do more. Despite everything, I don’t want to be done. If my teenage self could see me now, tenaciously fighting to hold on to my career by my fingertips, I don’t know how that girl would react. I have dreams and ambitions, but I’m also exhausted. Constantly starting over, constantly establishing and proving myself, only to walk away again and again – it’s taking its toll on me. How could it not?
I don’t know what my next step will be. My principal said he might have a lead for me, but he was pretty cryptic about that, too. Fortunately, my husband landed a job that will pay enough to support us both, so I don’t need another job. We’ve talked about it, and we’ve decided that I should hold out for the right job, instead of just taking anything. I’ve had my share of stressful jobs that didn’t fit my niche, and I don’t want to do that again. I can always sub until something else comes along. I can fall into that routine again. I don’t want to, but I can.
I want to be teaching next year. I hate the thought of facing yet another year without my own students and curriculum to teach. It’s who I am. So I’ll try, despite the fatigue. I’ll send out those resumes and see if anything strikes, even if it is late in the teacher-hiring game.
I’ll end on this. Despite everything, the frustrations and fatigue, I can’t shake the feeling that God has a plan in all of this. I just don’t know what it is. I know what I want, but His plans don’t often match mine. Looking back, His plans are always better, so I’d really like to know where this plan is going. I’m not going to lie – I’m still mad, frustrated, and confused at my current situation, but I also know that God is in control.
Does walking on water count as an act of faith if I can’t find the boat?