Those of you who know me, know that I am generally a positive person. I do a pretty good job of dealing with what life has given me. I have my moments: my pity party moments and the poor me moments. Then I pick myself up and keep moving along.Now that isn’t to say that I haven’t been given some very good things in my life, but I believe that I’ve gotten more than my fair share of pits in this bowl of cherries.
I honestly thought that things were starting to look up. I thought that with my new teaching job I would have one thing that was going the right way in my life. I finally accomplished my goal (being a teacher)! It was cause to celebrate.
But, it doesn’t seem to be working out that way. It seems that my celebrations were premature. I have my job and that is a wonderful thing. However, the political climate in my school district has me anxious.
The consistency in rules and the way things have been done in the past, are no more. I don’t mind change (ok, actually I do but I work hard to adapt), but these changes have come so quickly and there are so many unanswered questions.
There is no Collective Bargaining Agreement between the teachers and the district. The Employee Handbook that is supposed to “guide” us, changes without warning (or input from teachers). The Board of Education is following a political agenda that makes no sense to me and will ultimately destroy the public schools in our district. I do not understand the motivation and the reasoning for this – our schools have been ranked as some of the best in the country. That tells me what we have been doing IS WORKING. And it seems that the Board of Education wants to dismantle the school system. I do not know what to expect from day-to-day and the uncertainty is, to put it delicately, causing me gastrointestinal distress.
Teachers and Administrators, who have worked with my kids and been amazing influences, are leaving our schools. Morale is low. And it sucks. I am heartbroken, not only for myself as an employee, but for my boys as students. Teachers won’t be “going above and beyond” in the same ways as before. I don’t blame them. But I am sad for the students. Many of us will “put on a happy face” and “grin and bear it.” But I know that my heart won’t be in it as it has in the past. Teachers will do their best not to allow the climate to impact students, but there is a lot less motivation to go to work in the morning.
I love teaching. I love working at my school and with my co-workers. I have finally begun to do what I have always wanted to do and it is tainted. It has me wondering if I made the right choices, if I shouldn’t have done something else with my life.
The personal cost of “hanging in there” and “waiting things out” is going to be enormous. Like many other things in my life, I have to get up and deal with this. But the pressure that I thought would disappear because I got a job has changed and increased. The stakes for my family are huge, as we know that at some point Chris will be too sick to work.
So, I will do as I must. But my heart is hurting. I hurt for the students we will lose this year because we do not have the energy (or support) to “catch” them when they fall. I hurt for the loss of my dream – being respected as a teacher and changing the lives of students, while being supported, recognized and appreciated by Administration. I hurt for the loss of those teachers did not want to “wait it out.” I understand and wish them the best, but I am sad because the loss is immeasurable.
I don’t know how I will handle things when we hit the next “bump in the road” because before this year, I always had my dream to hold onto. My dream is more of a nightmare at this point. I always believed that when I got to this point, my passion and love of teaching would carry me through the rough parts. I didn’t imagine that the rough parts would be caused because I was teaching in a district where the Board of Education doesn’t seem to place any value on teachers.
I am going to try to take each day as it comes and do the best I can. I can do no more and no less. I am going to try to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” and the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.” “The sun will come out tomorrow” or the next tomorrow, or after a string of tomorrows. I will dream a new dream (one where I can do what I love and be supported, encouraged and respected). “I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…”
G*d, I hope I can.