In my career as a teacher, I have taught high school, university and college students. The position I was just run out of was a brand label university with a satellite campus just outside Washington, D.C.
Because of my untimely departure, I accepted the first job that came my way out of desperation. Leaving that uni-dimensional, bully of a boss has been priority number one given the level of anxiety I was managing daily. Plus, the small school system located in the middle of Virginia was willing to work around the need for an immediate supervisor’s reference. They were kind, friendly and surprisingly professional being located in the middle of nowhere. The big hitch aside from its rural locale was they wanted me to teach elementary school. I was confused that I was assigned rug rats as they specifically asked me in the interview my preference of grade, and I 100% requested secondary school.
I taught elementary school once for seven weeks as part of my penance for receiving my teaching licensure. It was the longest seven weeks of my life without question. I was assigned the third grade which, to me, was a germ laden popcorn popper of activity complete with squeals, snot, vomit and energy power packs soldered to each kid's shoes. I have been seriously questioning the sanity of accepting that teaching position, but I was moving forward with it as I had no other opportunities knocking at my door, and was faced with a refusal from my boss to provide a reference of recent employment which had already been a huge setback for me in securing a decent job.
I lined-up movers, placed an ad in Craigslist for a renter to take over my lease to avoid a penalty, secured a rental in the new town, and was gearing up to pack and arrive there by Groundhog Day. The next problem I encountered came after verbally accepting the position.
The teaching positions in Central Virginia pay quite a bit less than in the D.C. metropolitan area. I was trying to convince myself to keep moving forward with it as a means to continue an uninterrupted salary, health benefits and work-up a solid reference. I had pretty well sold myself on the idea until the hard copy contract arrived.
I took a good look at the contract which stated in parenthesis next to the annual salary the amount I would be paid as a teacher starting halfway through the year. The number amounted to one-third the annual salary which was initially quoted me, and it needed to last me seven months through the end of the summer. How it worked was I was being paid for 80 days of teaching rather than the full 200 days for the entire school year.
On top of that, no one has responded to the ad I placed to take over the lease to my current apartment. I guess that has something to do with it being the dead of winter. What it boils down to is I would be charged three month’s rent as a lease breaking penalty, plus the rent in my new place at $900 a month including a $600 dollar security fee and a $1,000 moving fee. I was looking at a $6,000 dollar minimum expenditure to manage on a pittance.
Elementary school, high expenditures, pittance pay, middle of nowhere – I turned down the offer and the only sure thing I had. That was my first act of bravery for the day. I felt as though I had just stepped off the edge of a cliff and fallen into a vast, dark, endless pit; and it is in this pit I am calling upon faith and focus in order not to freak out.
Bravery in Action
In a desperate effort to secure a position here in D.C., I interviewed for a teaching position with a D.C. public charter school one week ago. I had set that in motion prior to my leaving the previous job with the boss from hell. I passed the first hurdle and was invited back to offer a teaching demonstration. This time, it would be for the eighth grade.
Today, after walking Kona, my pup, for an additional 45 minutes, goofing around on the internet and intermittently experiencing pangs of intense fear which I tried to erase with food, I finally ceased procrastinating and got down to work on the lesson plan for tomorrow which I am relieved to announce is done and ready to go, but it took every last little drop of motivation I had to gather the strength I needed to prepare a respectable demonstration of my teaching ability.
Although I am still enjoying the much needed respite of no longer being beaten down and up by my work environment. I have removed the covers from my head and am now embarking on a serious job search. I am going out and facing the world with my daily affirmation that I will find a job that contributes as much to my soul as it does to my bank account, and I will once again enjoy my work.