I got that pang again the other day, the “it’s back to school time and I don’t have a job” sinking feeling in my gut. I’ve felt it too many times, often enough to have a name for it.
I am glad for the past year at home. As I’ve said before, I think I needed it. But every time someone brings up how good it is that I can be a stay-at-home mom, I’m quick to jump in with the “for now.” It’s a gut response, a primal instinct to defend the career I worked so hard to establish, a refusal to let go of dreams that have been pushed to the back burner yet again. I poured so much of myself into becoming a good teacher, and I’ve haven’t really seen that work come to fruition in the ways that I’d hoped yet. Yes, being at home is a blessing. This time with my daughter is as precious as it is irreplaceable. But those dreams haven’t gone away. It’s still hard watching my teacher friends prepare for another school year. A good friend just finished training to teach AP Literature, and while I’ve loved hearing about it, man, I’m jealous!
If I had a normal teaching career, this would be the beginning of my 6th year teaching. As it is, it’s the beginning of my 6th year in the field of education. However, I’m not approaching it by prepping for my own classes, putting together a classroom, or sorting out curriculum. Once again, I’m beginning the new school year as a sub. My résumé from the last five years includes equal parts full-time work and subbing spread out over ten different jobs in six different states. (All that moving was for my husband’s career, not mine). I’ve worked as a high school English teacher in three different schools and subbed in countless others. This year tips the balance. At the end of this year, I’ll have spent more time as a sub than as a full-time teacher.
Seattle may not have been great for my career, but it did have some wonderful hiking!
In terms of my career, the first move was the hardest. I walked away from my first teaching job with just one year of experience under my belt as we headed off to Seattle. Did I mention this was 2009, right when the economy was tanking? No one was looking to hire at all, much less someone who was still fairly new to the profession. The only work I could find was subbing, so that’s what I did. Continue reading
I’m going to brag a little bit here. I was a good student. I mean, really good. In high school I was that annoying kid who blew the curve and cried over a B+ on my report card. I was valedictorian of my high school class, and later I graduated college summa cum laude with a 3.92 GPA. And I will always be proud of those accomplishments.
But I’m about to say something that might get me in trouble with some teachers or parents. I just ask that you hear me out and read all the way to the end of the post. Because I have a point. I really do. And I think it’s a good one. So here goes…
You know what life has taught me?
No one cares about my grades. Seriously. Now that I’m no longer a student, those letters and numbers on my transcripts mean very little. With the exception of landing my first teaching job – where I had no prior experience to draw from – people don’t care about my grades now that I’m a professional adult. When I go into job interviews, they don’t ask me about my GPA. They ask me about my skills and abilities. What will I be able to do for them? What I will I provide? What need will I fill? Will I be a good teacher and a good match for their school environment? Because in the end, that’s what matters – they care about what I can do. Continue reading