Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Surviving the June Blues

June Blues? What? Aren't you a teacher? Why, yes I am as a matter of fact. And isn't June supposed to be the month of sweet relief? Two months to bask in the sun and spend lazy afternoons curled up on a chair reading the latest young adult fiction? Traditionally, yes. But for the past four Junes I have stared down the hole of uncertainty, not knowing the status of my employment in the fall, hoping that teachers in my building keep having babies and that someone will retire so that I can take their place. This June has been particularly painful. There were several retirements and I naturally assumed that my time had come for a permanent job. However, districts all over the state continue to make drastic cutbacks and nearly every single retirement was left unfilled. Each opportunity that dangled in front of me like the proverbial carrot was snatched away, and I found myself spending a lot of time in the bathroom stall, quietly weeping. See, you need to understand something about me. I am an extremely passionate person and something that I have always been passionate about is teaching. When I was a child I wanted nothing more than to play school with anyone willing to be my pupil, and despite the various setbacks I have faced along the way I have always be drawn to the classroom. There's something about the cyclical nature of the school year, the newness that every day brings, and the souls I get to shape ever so slightly. It is a powerful thing and I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else for a living. To be fair, I am blessed that every year since we moved back I have had a job in some capacity, and I have even managed to stay in the same building for the past three. However I continue to struggle with the insecurity of it all, especially knowing that my family counts on the financial support of my employment. The worst part is the heartbreak. I want more than anything to have a desk of my own, to stare at pictures of my own children and have my own stack of post-it notes in the drawer. To face June with a sense of relaxation and joy, not worry and unease. To know I will be back in the fall, fresh and full of new ideas for my incoming students. Someday.


Gary Huber said...

Great details, especially about the post-it notes. I felt exactly the same way for three years and it was soul-sucking, except for when I found ways to avoid these thoughts entirely. I moved desks every year and was never stable. I put up many posters in "my room" only to have to take them all down again. I brought home boxes of books and binders in June. Then, I loaded my car back up in late August and brought them right back. You can look at the universe and think it's against you, behind you, or that it just doesn't care. Whatever you choose, the truth is that you have a shot at a fourth year in the same building teaching English. Somewhere there's a desk in the district with your post-it notes waiting for you in a drawer.

Curiosities_Cat said...

I will never forget my very first cooperating teacher. At the end of the semster with her students, she looked right at me and said "You know, you better not give up the theatre. You really would be so much better there.You simply won't make a good teacher." The universe, however, had other plans for me and I still am a teacher, thank you, Joyce. My point is, to tag onto Gary, though it may not seem like it, YOU CHOOSE how to view the universe. Unfortunately, there are so many things BEYOND our control, that in the end it has to come down to old fashioned faith. No Sandi, I know faith don't pay the bills, but it does keep you going in a way simply as important as money. Faith that YOU ARE meant to be a teacher. Faith that when one door closes the universe opens another one for you. Faith that there's a plan. So think of faith then as your Post-It notes: though you may lose a few when the sticky wears off, you always find them in the oddest of places (like stuck to the bottom of your shoe or used as a flag for the newest Lego creation).