Saturday, November 02, 2013

Why Yes, I am a Crazy Person

You may remember that in January of 2010 I took a semester-long, long term substitute teaching job. At the time we needed childcare for Harper and Michael. Both children attended preschool and daycare at a Jewish community center about ten minutes from our house. It was a phenomenal place and I loved the program, the community, the teachers. It was an easy decision to send Michael there last year when I went to work full-time.

The director of the early childhood program thinks I'm certifiably nuts.

It's easy to see why. When she met me I was headed for a long term subbing job in a junior high library and I was looking for full time work for the next year. But a couple of weeks in we thought we were moving to Michigan. And then we didn't. Which there were perfectly valid reasons for but made us seem pretty flaky to someone who didn't know our family well.

At the end of that year, and through the summer, I applied and interviewed for library jobs. Then I did it again the next summer. Each year we put down a deposit for Michael at the Jewish community center because we knew we wanted him to be there if I was working. But I didn't get a job that year, or the next.

Then, in the spring of 2012 I was offered a teaching job at the school where I'd taught before Harper was born. I was excited to go back there and teach first grade again, despite the fact that it was a classroom job and not a library job. And we signed the contract for Michael to head back to the childcare program we loved so much.

So sometime right around this time last year I ran into the early childhood program director when I was picking up Michael at the end of a work day. She asked me how we were doing and I said something about the fact that we were trying to adjust - to which she replied, "Still?"

And that, right there, sums up our whole year last year. We never adjusted. Superficially things went well. The children did fine, better than fine, in school. I had a mostly wonderful year teaching. I loved the students I taught and I taught them well. I loved the people I worked with. But it wasn't enough. And I decided not to do it again.

In 2007 I finished my master's degree. I spent five years looking for a job. I got a job. Then I realized I didn't want a job after all.

So I told the program director, who knew me during a good portion of my job searching years, that I wasn't going back the next year. I can almost guarantee she thinks I'm nuts. Maybe she's right.

You guys, my resume is a hot mess.

However, we are 1/4 (and then some) of the way into the new school year and I have no doubt in my mind that we have finally made (and made peace with!) the right decision for our family.


Emily said...

This is an excellent summary - thank you for sharing, and I think you explained it perfectly well. Perhaps you needed last year in order to have peace with the decision that you made this year and have NO DOUBT for the first time in five years. That must be a good feeling. Congratulations on that! You are a fantastic mom and you are not crazy (and we ALL have teachers/childcare professionals who must think we're crazy. I'm certain Katy's first grade teacher talks about me in the teacher's lounge. I did, after all, have a breakdown outside her classroom at 8:45 one morning :)

Giselle said...

I think that this just proves there is no "right" answer for any person...with the working vs. not working. Teaching is an extremely taxing job...especially if you are good at it. Motherhood the same. My own brief experience with it makes me in awe of my kids' teachers...and you. I'm glad you are finding some peace and balance...perhaps you will be able to go back when the kids are older and it will be a totally different experience. Or perhaps you can just sit back and wait for the perfect librarian position to come up. Or whatever. Glad your school year is off to a good start!