One Week of Unemployment

My boyfriend pointed out an interesting fact the other day: “You’ve never been an unemployed teacher.”  That comment came upon the heels of a recent interview, that led to a job offer not 24 hours later.  I got a phone call on Monday, had my interview on Wednesday, and got a congratulatory call from the principal on Thursday.  I am calling Human Resources tomorrow.

For those of you who don’t know the climate of the acquisition of teaching jobs in Michigan:  This stuff doesn’t happen.

My boyfriend’s observation is not entirely true, I have this week off.  It’s been a glorious three days of going to bed at 11pm (two hours past my teaching bedtime,) and waking up at 8:30am (two hours and forty five minutes after my teaching alarm rings in the morning.)  I’ve had the luxury of rolling around in bed for fifteen minutes, lazily watching the bare tree limbs in the morning sun (so that’s what morning sunlight looks like!)  I get to start my day with a nice gourd of mate’, my bible, and my journal.  Should I have breakfast, or just skip right to lunch?  Should I watch Downton Abbey or read Game of Thrones?

These are the days I dreamed about when I was student teaching.  If you were a close friend at that time, you would have gotten an earful of frustration and hate toward the profession.  Now, several months later, I can proudly say that I lamented my final days in my long-term substitute position.  I held back tears when my 9th graders threw me a going away party and presented me with a “We’ll miss you Ms. McDonald!” poster that they had all signed.  My grading and organizing lasted until well after all of my colleagues have left the building, but I didn’t mind.  It’s in those calm moments that lingering is the most fulfilling thing that a person could do.

There are a few things that I have learned about myself in my first half year of teaching.  One, that I simply cannot rely on my “gut feeling” about things.  Many people boast that they posses this gift, but I do not.  Actually, it is the things that I’ve had the worst feelings about that end up being the best experiences for me (for example, I almost left SpringHill the first week, and ended up counseling for five years.)

Two, that I don’t give myself enough credit.  For example, on the day after my interview, I had a feeling that I would get the job offer.  I panicked. Could I possibly be able to work with 7th and 8th graders?  Do I know enough to work with gifted students?  Will my Detroit students accept a white-girl-from-the-‘burbs-teacher?  Will I live up to parent expectations for their accelerated kids? It was my dad  that gave me the biggest boost of confidence (via text message:)  “They probably recognize what I do, you are a special person and have the makings of something quite rare these days- a great teacher.”  He is right.  Take a look at my resume, and you’ll see the makings of a person who has oriented her life around academic excellency, service, and diversity. But, I couldn’t see this until someone told me it was so.  I just don’t give myself enough credit.

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So there you have it.  Come next Monday, I will be embarking on a new journey as a middle school teacher.  I had felt for a few years that I would be called to Detroit, perhaps this is why I didn’t seriously look out-of-state.  I will have a big girl job, a big girl paycheck, and perhaps a big-girl perspective on what I am capable of.

I do like a good adventure.

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