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Lessons

June 12, 2009

I go on Monday morning to interview for my old job, and I’m…uh…kind of nervous about it, now that I’ve decided I want it.

You see, three years ago I walked away from my position as a high school English teacher for a variety of reasons, all of them good. (And that’s walked away at the end of the school year, for purposes of clarification–in good standing, with letter of resignation on file.) The kids were in two different schools and between that and Autumn’s tumbling schedule, which was moving into CrazyLand, things were getting stressful. I was getting burned out, hitting that seven-year itch mark and having been advisor for the literary magazine for most of my tenure, but only having one or two staff members that actually knew what they were doing and were willing to show up and do it. I was heavily–too heavily, I recognize now–involved with volunteerism at my church, stretched too thin as Sunday School teacher, Awana director, VBS director, recreation committee leader, newsletter editor…you name it, I did it. I had no time for my family. I had no time for my home. But even more importantly, I think, I had no time for me. I had no time to read. I had no time to write. I had no time to get behind a camera and compose.

So why on earth would I want to go back?

Three years is a long time to get yourself straight. I needed to walk away and find myself again, cliched as it may sound–get centered–relearn the things that made me happy and satisfied and focused me when nothing else would do. I needed to walk away to learn how to walk away, if that makes sense. Because sometimes you just have to know how to say no, and it’s taken me a lifetime to learn that lesson. Now that I’ve learned that skill, I can return to the other thing that makes me happy and satisfied and focused and content…teaching a classroom full of high school hoodlums.

There’s nothing like it.

I’ve felt the restlessness for a while, that siren’s call urging me back toward the rocky shore that is the high school classroom. I’ve resisted the pull, knowing how difficult that direction is. Some things, though, are just irresistible. They’re forces of nature.

I’ve been interested in a part-time position for the last couple of years, but nothing’s been available. There never is, for part-time. When I learned that there was a full-time position though, and did a little checking and discovered that my only impediment, the transportation logisitics of getting my children to their private school by the same time that I’m supposed to be at work, could be easily solved by a nearby bus pick-up, it seemed like serendipity. The stars aligning. An answer to prayer.

But then I learned that I, like everyone else, would have to interview for the position. With resume and teaching license in hand, no less. A part of me pouted. My resume! This is the only place I’ve ever taught! You have all of my evaluations on file. They’re all marked “STERLING EXCELLENT THE VERY BEST ULTRA GOOD TEACHER. YOU WANT TO HIRE HER AGAIN.” Seriously. That’s what they say, in all of those little boxes that are checked off.  

It’s a competitive job market right now, though. I’m a little freaked out by the idea of actually interviewing for my old position, especially considering my last (and first) interview was somewhat of a joke formality. I had just completed my student teaching, a teacher decided to leave two weeks afterwards, and the principal, who happened to be my former high school principal, offered me the job. My interview consisted of a five minute chat where he poo-poohed aside my nervous introduction of the portfolio I had painstakingly crafted in college and welcomed me aboard. It was great. I hear that I’ll have ten questions to field from a panel of assistant principals for this position. Hmm. Interesting. And somewhat intimidating.  I’ll just pray that I don’t sound too moronic.

At any rate, one thing is certain and immutable: whether or not I am “fated” to go back to teaching this fall is out of my hands, and utterly in the hands of the Lord. He’ll open the doors He wants opened, and close those He wants closed. He has a plan, and it’s beautiful. I’ll just wait on that. Jeremiah 29:11.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2009 11:29 am

    I think I would love for you to be MY teenagers’ high school English teacher. I also love to teach. I was offered a position as a sign language teacher at a new high school not far from us a few years back. I was super excited, got my curriculum all developed over the summer, ordered the best books, had my supplemental materials all ready… and then realized it was a completely selfish thing to be doing on my part. I was in no position to be gone from home with little ones still needing me. So, a month before school started, I gave them the news and turned over all I had worked so hard on to my good friend who got to teach in my stead. And you know what? It was one of the best things that ever happened to him because it led to other things which eventually gave him the amazing job he has now. Was I jealous? A little. But, like you said, God is in charge – and it’s a beautiful thing.

    I hope His plan includes an open door for you.

  2. June 15, 2009 8:03 am

    I think that the right teacher in the right place can make all of the difference; from what I know, you would be one of those…

    I wish you the best in getting the position. I remember ‘painstakingly’ creating my portfolio as well – my principal merely glanced at the thing, shrugged, and said, “So, do you want the job?”

    I felt a bit ripped off that I’d put in all that work for nothing, but hey, if a reputation can help you get a job, so be it.

    Fingers crossed…

  3. hintonrae permalink*
    June 15, 2009 5:48 pm

    Thanks, guys. Interview seemed to go well, should know something in a few days. My fingers will probably be a little cramped by then.

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